They may not be GI Joes, but QSs have a huge role to play in driving forward green-issues, regenerating cities and reshaping the skyline, says a young cost manager at Turner & Townsend

I recently had a reunion with a couple of friends who I haven’t seen in a while because I had been away travelling and one of my friend’s is in the marines and had been in Afghanistan (lucky him!).

It didn’t take long for my friends to come out with the same line as they always do “how many bricks have you counted this week then Nige?”

No matter how many times I try to convince them to the contrary, they still hold the view that this is what my job is about. I have also stopped telling women I meet, in the first instance, that I am a QS. Instead, I have created a list of alternative jobs (dolphin trainer is my personal favourite).

My point is that my friends have jobs (marine and policeman) that have a tangible and recognisable impact on society, which always makes me wish my job had such an impact.

But maybe it does. We have the sustainability issue – the construction industry has one of the largest draws on natural materials and energy consumption. We are well-placed to advise and drive forward sustainable construction methods and technologies to help future generations.

With the increase, in urban regeneration projects we are also heavily involved in the reshaping and reinvigoration of previously derelict areas of the country, creating jobs and helping improve the economy.

We also get involved in high-profile national projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5, 2012 Olympics and the reshaping of London’s skyline with the recent approval of a number of new tall buildings within the city. All projects that will be landmarks in the future.

So, while I’m no GI Joe, Starsky or Hutch, neither am I sitting in a field, chained to a tree, wearing recycled clothes and singing "we are the world, we are the children". We are well-placed to have a positive impact on society.

Maybe that’s the message we should be selling to university graduates, rather than the traditional view of QSs whose interests are limited to the price of steel or how many bricks there are in a square meter of brickwork.