Could you talk us through your journey from school to university?
University was a rough ride. I was a poor academic in all honesty, exams and I just didn’t work at all. For A-Levels I studied Business Studies, Physics and Geography. I think I studied General Studies and Philosophy and Ethics at AS just to get my UCAS points up.
The plan way back when was to study Foundation Engineering due to my lack of a maths A-level, with a view to going into Civil Engineering. I didn’t get my first choice place however I got into Bradford University. That 5 hour train ride made me investigate the clearing route, eventually applying to and getting into Brighton University and studying Foundation Engineering.
Civil Engineering level maths became an issue. Wanting to stay in the Construction Industry, and liking the idea of still being in some sort of control, Project Management seemed the best bet.
Could you run us through your day to day duties at work?
Day to day my role varies. I’m currently involved with 3 separate projects, so no two days are the same;
a. Comparing current costs/budgeted costs/forecast costs
b. Reviewing works against the programme; is the project on task, and if not why?
c. Advising on the selection and appointment of the design consultants and contractors, making sure they have been procured in the correct manner relative to the project in hand
d. Managing the client and other stakeholders
e. Producing reports on each project at pre-arranged intervals, reporting on actionable items in the previous reporting period
f. Advising on disputes if/when they arise
g. Contribute to risk management, value management and design review.
Why did you choose to specialise in project management?
I started studying Civil Engineering but acknowledged my weakness of mathematics. Project Management for Construction gave me the chance to still be involved in construction, but at a level I knew I could attain and be successful at. Only 2 years into my career I’ve been able to attend the opening of a project I assisted on delivering, so I think in hindsight I made the correct decision.
What was the most exciting project or deal that you’ve been a part of during your career?
I’m currently helping deliver works at St Albans Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral. I’m also involved with moving the Royal Academy of Dance to a new home. All three projects are pretty exciting.
What skills do you think a person should possess to be successful in this profession?
Projects aren’t generally turned over in a month, so being able to keep the same energy throughout the project life cycle is key. Being able to communicate and lead effectively, especially under pressure is definitely a required skill. It’s quite cliché, but being able to ‘think on your feet’, when problems arise, is also a good skill to possess. I’ve always been someone who is easy to talk to, regardless of the situation; so if a design team member finds it comfortable to talk to me about an issue, I’ve carried out my role effectively.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Juggling large amounts of information flowing from 3 separate projects is something I’ve had to learn on the job. Learning to tell the difference between what information is actionable and what is an ongoing situation.
What part of your role do you enjoy the most?
The best part of the job is delivering a project as per the scope of works for the client.
Could you name a common misconception about your role or industry and put it to rest?
The biggest misconception is that I spend my lunch in a pub and afternoons rearranging project programmes. That is hardly the case!
To find out more about Andre’s role, he is open to connections: