Charlotte - Changing the Landscape

Charlotte Patel

Senior Quantity Surveyor – Severn Trent Water

BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying

People tried to tell Charlotte to study a typically female-dominated subject at university, but she wanted to break the norm. Studying in Birmingham allowed Charlotte valuable work experience when she began her Quantity Surveying degree and she has since gone on to a Senior position working on HS2, just a few years after graduating.

“When I began looking into university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, I wanted something new that I’d never experienced before. At school, people told me to go for Nursing, Midwifery or Teaching and whilst those are great professions, I had no real interest in them. People were just pushing me towards them because they’re seen as typically female-dominated subjects. This irritated me and I began to search for something new that piqued my interest.

I was inspired by the construction and change going on in my city and decided to study Quantity Surveying. I also knew that I wanted to stay close to home for my studies, as Birmingham is such a great city with everything a student needs. It's exciting to be at the centre of some exciting developments, such as HS2 and the renovations that were completed for the 2022 Commonwealth.

As a commuter student, I thought I would spend more time at home, but I loved being on campus. BCU has exceptional facilities and study spaces. The big, open spaces motivated me and weirdly, I loved spending late nights in the library. I also thought I’d struggle to make friends living at home, but I have made friends for life on my course. Those late-night study sessions were filled with laughter and helped me build a close bond with my classmates.

During my degree, I worked part-time at LMJV as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor on the enabling works for HS2 just over the road from the BCU campus. It was great to make the most of BCU’s connections in the city and the convenience of the location. I was excited to have made a start in the industry and thrilled to be offered the full-time graduate position.

I’ve now been promoted to Senior Quantity Surveyor. In my current role, I am responsible for the commercial management of the whole HS2 portfolio for Severn Trent Water. Plus, I manage two other Senior Quantity Surveyors and one Quantity Surveyor.

Getting out on the construction site during my degree was an invaluable experience that gave me the expertise to progress quickly. Choosing Quantity Surveying was a leap into the unknown but now I’m glad I took that chance. Breaking the norm and doing something that people never expected me to do is the best thing I’ve ever done.”