There are a variety of planning jobs within construction and each brings forth with it specific needs and qualifications in order to gain access to the roles.

Fortunately for candidates, there are usually very clear-cut stepping-stones in order to be considered for more advanced planning roles.

Planning assistant jobs.

The assistant level role is likely where most candidates begin their careers as planners. They are able to take leadership roles on site and be able to discuss aspects of projects with other departments, which ensures that the project itself is delivered in as efficient of a manner as possible while still adhering to the site's commitment to quality, health and safety, and environmental protection wherever possible.

Similarly, planning assistants will have their own workload to deal with. They must be able to plan and prioritise what it is they are doing, prepare statements, and manage subcontractors and the financial issues that arise with the hiring of labour forces. In order to gain access to the role, it is not unusual for assistants to have some sort of relevant experience within the type of planning organization they intend to for work. Many council projects will usually specify the exact experience that is needed: like road works or structural planning.

Senior planner.

From here, the usual promotion course is through the senior planning role. The senior planner takes on much of what he did during his assistant days, but also becomes responsible for the management of the planning team. This can add a considerable amount of work to an already packed work schedule, so it is important for prospective senior planners to thoroughly assess the workload in order to determine whether or not it is going to be a suitable role for their needs and working preferences. Sometimes, senior planners may find that it is just too much for them to handle.

Quantity surveyor.

Once senior planning level has been achieved, then the ladder of progression largely becomes independent to the candidates themselves. There is no specific course from here, but becoming a quantity surveyor usually proves itself to be the next step. In this role, financial administration becomes a primary focus where they will be required to oversee and plan a building project to ensure it meets financial targets. In general, the quantity surveyor ensures clients get “the best value for money” they can.

While a building must meet all legal and quality standards set forth by the client and governments, they must do so at a cost that is reasonable and does not overrun expected budgets by substantial amounts.However, it is here where education plays a vital role in career progression. Candidates will need to hold professional accreditation by the Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors in order to be considered for the role.

This may take the form of a postgraduate degree in engineering or similar, high level qualification that leads to accreditation. Surveying technicians are sometimes considered suitable for the role in the event of national shortages, but education will always play a prominent role in becoming a quantity surveyor.

Operations manager.

Those who prefer working on the more “people” side of things may choose to become operations managers. Like the quantity surveyor, candidates must hold postgraduate level education with the Masters in Civil Engineering being considered one of the most desirable qualifications.

Operations managers will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the workforce. They will set up the regional budget in conjunction with quantity surveyors, but be more responsible for the setting of labour targets as opposed to material targets. For this reason, they must have great working relationships with existing clients and workforces in order to promote services and positions and ensure profitability targets are met.

Commercial development experience is preferred when it comes to being an operations manager. Site investigation is critical to the understanding of the role since they will be involved in client meetings in order to discuss particular site issues. This is second to recruitment, which will make up most of the operation manager's role. Providing for the professional development of workers is sometimes important as well; as the workforce will be required to adhere to strict academic control regulations when it comes to licensing and any required qualifications to safely and legally hold roles within a site.