A week on placement at Ayrshire College

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Karen Foster is an HNC Quantity Surveying student who recently spent some time with the College on work experience.

Karen has written this post for us, which discusses her time on placement.

Karen Foster placement.jpg

As an HNC Quantity Surveying student here at Ayrshire College, I spent last week on a work placement with Janice Steel, Capital Projects Manager, within the Infrastructure and Skills Department here at the College.

What was interesting and unbeknown to me as a student is the scale of work that the College does to keep the facilities and buildings in good condition.

Janice explained that the College each year has a programme of proposed capital works which are prioritised in order of curriculum, industry and student need whilst taking into account: importance of time, quality and cost. We hear a lot about time/quality/cost within our course, so this helped to bring alive what we learn in class.

In order for the list of capital works to be completed, all works need to have an estimated cost and programmed time allowance. I was lucky to be on placement during this month as this is a crucial stage for the College. They need to finalise these costs and take them to the Vice Principal of Infrastructure, who will then take them forward for approval.

Janice highlighted the importance of the time factor within the education sector, as the majority of works are done within holiday periods; with the summer programme being the busiest.


What a busy week I’ve had! This is what I worked on during my week:

  • Window replacement probable costs and prepared a package for pricing
  • Gutters and downpipes package for pricing
  • Internal doors probable costs
  • Completed a CAD drawing for the summer works for Building Control approval
  • Completed the decoration and suspended ceiling sections for the Bill of Quantities for the proposed summer works
  • Learned to use Bluebeam Revu to get quantities for the Bill of Quantity


  • Learned to make my own bill paper and formulate cells within Excel – what a revelation!

Overall I had a great week because I learned the client side of quantity surveying, working within existing buildings. I enjoyed surveying the existing elements to be replaced and producing a priced bill of quantities. I’ve also enjoyed using what I’ve learned in the classroom in retail contracts to see how they all come together in the daily roles of a quantity surveyor.

This week has given me great experience to take forward. I have an interview for a Trainee Quantity Surveyor role next week, so fingers crossed I can highlight my knowledge gained by having this vital experience.


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