For those currently involved in construction at a more entry-level position, considering a construction planning job could be an interesting prospect to move away from the daily grind of site work. While it will not necessarily remove workers from the site, it will place them in a more managerial level role by overseeing key developments on particular projects. However, planners span a wide category of professions. We will take a look at some of the leading roles in construction planning that are currently in demand.
Those who would prefer to take a more administrative approach might want to consider development control. These planners are responsible for the authorisation of buildings and oversee planning applications from a wide range of clients ranging from small, household jobs through to more complex commercial or industrial developments. Candidates will be advised that this is not a career for those who cannot deal with large volume caseloads, since many planning authorities hire development controllers in order to oversee increases in their own building projects around their district.
Education is an asset for this role, with the BA Honours in Urban Planning being cited as the most valuable academic qualification to have. However, there are entry routes through other administrative roles that will allow candidates to gain the relevant experience necessary to progress onto full-fledged development controllers at a later stage. It is well worth considering should candidates wish to move away from site work and into more commercialized office setting.
Project officers are similar to development controllers in the fact that they deal with large caseloads involving planning applications, but project officers more directly oversee a council's own developments around their district areas in order to ensure that they are in line with both legal frameworks and the public's expectations and wants regarding these specific projects. They are assigned to various departments that impact on the general public, like parking provisions or the development of public service buildings.
IT qualifications are often required in order to become a project officer since the position largely revolves around the use of computers. However, there are no set qualifications that need to be in place. Microsoft Office qualifications would be beneficial, since many planning authorities make extensive use of this software package on a day-to-day basis.
Liaison officers work more directly with the public and ensure their voices are being heard with regards to a council's project proposals. They may also be placed on live sites, where they will act as a go-to point for users or tenants of council housing programmes. There are no formal qualifications for this role, but candidates will need a full driver's license on many occasions with access to their own private vehicles in order to carry out the daily tasks as required by this role. It is also advised that candidates should hold a CSCS card along with other regional qualifications, like asbestos awareness paperwork or have worked in a public setting for that particular council in the past.