In our series of ‘5 minutes with…’ interviews, we meet the people behind the projects:
What does project management mean to you?
The ability to look down the road and ensure the client and team have the resources and enthusiasm to overcome challenges before they manifest into events that destabilise a project. This can be at a micro or macro scale, from planning consents to supply change engagement. For me, looking further ahead to clear obstacles before the team arrive at them is at the core of effective project management.
Which clients do you work with?
Currently I am working with: Maven Capital, AEW, CTI, M&G, and Arbdn.
Why did you choose to work in the commercial property sector?
The built environment impacts everyone’s daily lives and the ability to produce a product, which can (hopefully positively) influence an occupant’s day, while offering the opportunity to provide a lasting legacy, is a powerful prospect.
Design and engineering solutions have always intrigued me, and the opportunity to work with talented designers and have the opportunity to shape and inform solutions, for the betterment of procurement and risk mitigation is rewarding with tangible outcomes.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
Delivering a new build 245-bed student accommodation scheme in a challenging city location, on time and within budget, while supporting the client’s simultaneous disposal resulted in a great result for all involved and a fantastic building for the students start their adults lives in.
How have you put your project skills to their best use on a Workman project?
Taking and establishing a brief with the client team is a critical moment for any project. Developing a deep understanding of the dynamics and objectives will help inform the proposed structure for a project to help mitigate those inevitable challenges further down the road. Establishing an effective brief and project execution plan won’t happen first time and requires patience and drive. But when successfully implemented, it provides the opportunity for the wider team to progress unhindered to achieve the best possible results.
What has been your biggest project management challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
Coburg Street, Portsmouth, is an 11-storey student accommodation scheme, where sadly the main contractor became insolvent, resulting in some considerable challenges to overcome in all elements of the project. From reviewing construction management opportunities to stopping and retendering the scheme, multiple procurement opportunities were rethought. We settled upon engaging the specialist framing contractor direct to maintain progress, while negotiating and implementing a cost-plus arrangement with a new main contractor. The circumstance required extensive engagement with all levels of the project, from old and new specialist sub-contractors to client and funding teams, to unpack and repack the project in its entirety.
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they contribute to your role at Workman?
Swimming, cycling and running have been my mainstays for years, and although I’m progressively getting slower, the opportunity to get out and take part in events and see the countryside enables new friendships to be made, and an opportunity to take a break from the rigours of work life.
What has been your most significant achievement outside work, and what did it teach you that you have applied to project management?
Having a family. My wife has taught me the perils of time and team mismanagement!
What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?
The Singapore Changi Airport looks breath-taking, providing both a transitional space and destination for travellers. With a 130-foot waterfall plummeting through a forest of palm and fig trees (all under a roof!), while accommodating 65M+ travellers annually, the scale of ambition, design and day-to-day operation for a property like that must result in a complex and diverse community of people working together 24/7. Certainly a target destination for the future!