You probably don’t associate Sri Lanka with skyscrapers but there are some very tall buildings there. As I was growing up, I became fascinated by the construction of the many high buildings also springing up around me. My father was a Land Surveyor and I knew that I really wanted to become a part of this industry wherever my future was going to be.  

After A levels I took an undergraduate degree in Quantity Surveying at the British College of Applied Studies, Sri Lanka; a four-year degree programme accredited by the University of Wolverhampton. 

As well as having my father’s example to follow, I was drawn to the QS field because I saw it as a combination of 3 different jobs rolled into one; accountant - who manages the cost of construction projects; lawyer – who provides advice on contract issues and procurement strategies; and engineer - because you need good knowledge of the construction process from start to finish!

I must have chosen the right degree or been born to it because I was awarded Best Performing Quantity Surveying Student (Sri Lanka) for the year 2012-13 and I obtained the best overall mark for my dissertation.

After my degree, I moved to Brunei Darussalam and Joined DARA Construction where I’m working now. My father was working in Brunei during that time, and while visiting him I had a thought about trying to find a job there. I learned about the company after searching through websites and newspaper advertisements and was lucky to be offered a role with them.

Brunei is a Muslim state and the majority speaks the Malay language. It is an oil-rich country and most of its revenue comes from that source. Brunei is often known as the Abode of Peace for its peaceful atmosphere and culture. 

Brunei is smaller, far quieter and less busy than the UK and it took quite some time for me to adapt. It has similarities to Sri Lanka - the climate is identical – but I found it difficult at the beginning to incorporate with the local system of working and its environment: public transportation is limited so I had to get a driving license and drive to work; and I didn’t know people who could support or help me in my job. 

All that changed once I settled into Dara’s construction environment, where I was fortunate enough to meet people from different sectors and share quality time with both local and foreign colleagues. 

In my next blog I’ll describe the role of QS – ever heard of it being compared to cookery?!