Louise Glendinning turns any preconceived notions of who and what makes a building surveyor on its head. At 5’3” with a build that can fit through a small roof light and an enthusiasm for her work that inspires and excites GLM’s clients, she embodies the evolving face of the property profession and the contributions women are now making in the field.
It was two decades ago that women represented only 3% of RICS membership. Today, they make up 13% of global chartered surveyors and 27% of students are female according to the RICS.* Indeed, it’s an exciting time for women in the industry as Louise Brooke-Smith was recently appointed Global President of the RICS making her the first woman to be appointed to the role. So what made GLM’s Louise choose the profession?
“I always loved problem solving and historic buildings, so it made sense for me,” she says. As a graduate building surveyor, she provides a high level of support to the building surveying team. From a small townhouse conversion for a private client to a major hotel refurbishment for an international hotel and tourism developer, she can take on any project, at any size, on any budget.
The projects that excite her the most involve heritage constrained buildings. “GLM deals with a great deal of adaptive reuse cases where we creatively and sensitively adapt historical properties to new uses,” she says. “It’s my favourite part of the job – bringing a property back to life with a brilliant team of people in ingenious ways.”
In addition to technical skills – and her ability to scale tall buildings and traverse rooftops – Louise brings equally important intangible talents to the job. “Good client relationships are essential,” she says, “so excellent communication skills are a must. Luckily, I love meeting interesting new people working on interesting projects. You need to be self-motivated but also have the ability to work as a team. I’ve learned so much working as a team with other building surveyors and architects at GLM. Having a great team dynamic is essential to how we work.”
After practising as a graduate for a few years, it’s now time to focus on becoming a chartered building surveyor. Next year, Louise will take her Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) to become a member of the RICS. The APC requires a minimum of two years training, demonstrating certain competencies, and then attending an hour-long interview which includes a presentation. “It’s certainly daunting,” she says, “but I have fantastic mentors here at GLM, which has a 100% pass record for their graduate trainees. After watching my colleagues go through their APC while working at here, I know I’m in good hands.”