Lucy Fisher

Senior Building Surveyor, Billingham

Sector: Surveying  

Lucy Fisher graduated in the middle of a financial crisis back in 2008, with no hands-on experience in a competitive job market. But armed with her building surveyor degree, and having filled in “hundreds” of job applications, she got offered a graduate role – proving perseverance really does pay off. 

Where do you call home? 

Teesside! I was brought up in Billingham, then moved to Ingleby Barwick, now I live in Yarm. 

Tell us about your role?  

I’m a senior building surveyor at Rider Levett Bucknall.  

How did you get to where you are today? 

I sort of “fell into” building surveying after my interest in architecture and design at college seemed a bit too flowery. I wanted something more technical and after watching way too many episodes of Homes Under the Hammer and Property Ladder on TV, I decided property was how I was going to make my millions. A bit of research led me to a building surveyor degree at Northumbria University and I’ve never looked back! 

A couple of years after leaving university I took my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) to become a fully-fledged charted building surveyor and since then, I’ve been promoted to senior building surveyor. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

I started my degree in 2007 and in 2008 there was a huge financial crash that caused so many people to lose their jobs. As a result, I wasn’t able to get a placement year at university and graduated for a very practical job, with very minimal hands-on experience, in a very competitive job market. 

I must have filled in hundreds of job applications, spent hours on the phone cold calling companies and writing letters to people I’d never met in companies I’d never heard of all over the country. Finally, I got offered a graduate role as a building surveyor and it was fantastic. It just goes to show that perseverance does really pay off. 

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

Seeing a project through from inception to completion is really satisfying, especially when you’ve designed and managed it yourself. One of my first projects out of university was to design a shop front on Hartlepool’s York Road. I prepared drawings, submitted planning, and building control, tendered and managed the project on site. 

Once it was complete, I was able to stand there and see my design in real life 3D – an Edwardian style shop that matched the style of the building. This was the first time I’d ever seen a design that I created on paper transform into real life. It was amazing and made all of the hard work worth it! Since then, I’ve completed many more projects but this one is stand out because it was the first. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

Be confident and make your voice heard. Once I became a mum, I developed this new-found confidence I’d never had before. I’d had a baby and as a result, anything else that life threw at me would be easy in comparison! 

I wish it hadn’t taken me that long for the penny to drop. I wish I was able to push my younger, introverted self out of my comfort zone before then, to develop myself both personally and professionally. 

A lot of the time I was happy for my ideas to be voiced by others. Don’t let this happen to you – you’ve got amazing ideas and a valid opinion so don’t be scared to voice it! 

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Create a network, talk to people, get involved. Even when you want to go home and put your pyjamas on and watch TV, sometimes an hour or so interacting with classmates, teachers, or people in the industry you want to get into can make a huge difference to the path you’re going to walk and the opportunities you get exposed to. Don’t underestimate visibility, don’t be afraid to put your hand up. 

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Do it now! 

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