How did you become a Site Manager?
At school I studied A Level geography, business and maths and decided to pursue civil engineering, attending college one day a week over two years to complete my HNC whilst working at the same time.
Being on site gave me the experience of doing an engineering role but also being part of the building atmosphere. From then I got a job at a groundworks company as an engineer where I was sub-contracted to work on a Speller Metcalfe job in Bristol. The contracts manager approached me and said he was impressed with the way I was running the team and my eye for detail and asked if I would be interested in pursuing a career in site management as there was an opening for a trainee.
I took him up and within my first year the company had put me through my SMSTS training, as well as courses in environmental awareness, manual handling, asbestos awareness, first aid and temporary works coordination, so by the time I had qualified as an assistant site manager I had all these qualifications under my belt.
Coming from an engineering background, which is very structured and precise, has been really useful in site management as you are continually managing quality aspects and needing to focus on the small details.
What does your job involve?
The key part is organising your trades in line with the programme, making sure they attend daily and that they are all lined up to come in at the right time. Working on residential schemes there are three key snag stages that you have to be particularly aware / prepared for in terms of monitoring quality; pre-plaster snagging, pre-painting and final handover.
It’s also key to have good communication with the trades on site, being the person they can approach with any issues and working together to find solutions. As the site manager you have to pull those people together, whether it’s the architect, the client or the scaffolder, you always know someone who has the answer if it’s not you!
What’s the best thing about your job?
Scaffold drop stage is a really satisfying part of the job – when you think back to an empty field at the start of a job and then that turns into something you can stand back and realise what your team has accomplished. It’s also nice to get positive feedback from the trades and the surrounding community, when they appreciate the job you’re doing.
What’s has been your favourite project so far?
In terms of achievement Shirehampton was a great project; it was my first job to run as a project lead with half the job as a traditional build and the other half refurbishment, so I learnt a lot and achieved a brilliant end product with the help of my contracts manager and QS. In terms of aesthetics, Cotswold Gardens in Willersey was a development in the Cotswolds, built in traditional stone, which was a real show stopper and was Highly Commended at the LABC Awards in the Best High Volume Housing Development category.
What’s the best thing about working at Speller Metcalfe?
I love the fact that I can pick up the phone to Steve Speller with no feel of hierarchy or intimidation at speaking to the owner of the company. It could be Steve or any of the directors, and you don’t get that in many places.
Tell us something about you we don’t know…
I enjoy playing rugby and watching sports as well as renovating houses. I recently completed a small three bedroom place in the centre of Gloucester that I’ve sold, and I’m now onto my second in Bristol, which I’m living in and doing up at the same time.