My name is Hayley and I’m a Hertfordshire Quantity Surveyors Assistant with CLPM. I’ve been with CLPM for 11 months now, as part of my student placement year. Later this Autumn I’ll be returning to continue my studies in Mechanical Engineering at Bath University.
My radio goes off at 6:35 to the Chris Evan’s Breakfast show, but I don’t normally get out of bed until 7:30. I rent a room from a lady in a house across the road to the office, so I can afford to have a lie in and not worry about traffic. I walk to work – it takes less than 5 minutes. The longest part of my commute is waiting for a safe moment to cross the road!
I don’t particularly like mornings but I don’t like to waste them in bed either. I have quite a strict morning routine so that I can get things done before my brain kicks in – usually with the help of some upbeat music. On weekdays I have a small bowl of cereal – half sensible fibre flakes, half chocolaty kid’s cereal to make the fibre flakes palatable! If I know I have a big day ahead I might also have a sneaky crumpet or two with Marmite.
Depending on how much I have to get on with, I arrive at the CLPM head office in Rickmansworth between 8:00 and 8:30am. I spend the first half hour of my day going through my emails. I will then write out a prioritised to-do list with a time allocation against each task so I can ensure I stay on track. If it’s looking like there’s too much to do I would have a quick update meeting with my line manager, Quantity Surveyor Jo Jennings, so that she can help reallocate work as needed.
Most of my work is done from my desk, which means I get to enjoy the great location of our offices at Scotsbridge House. The offices are set in 10 acres of grounds and therefore I can enjoy the great wildlife living along the stream outside my window. However, about 3 or 4 times a month I have to make site visits, so you may see me hurtling down the M25 motorway in my old red Nissan Micra. It’s commonly known that red cars have at least 10 times more horsepower than any other colour, and (touch wood!) it’s never failed it’s MOT.
There are a few sites that I visit on a monthly basis to carry out valuations, help agree any variations and touch base with the rest of the CLPM Project Management team. The photos and daily logs that the PMs put on BuilderTrend help to keep me in the loop for the rest of the time, but I do find actually being present on site really helps with understanding. The rest of the building projects are visited on an as-needed basis which is usually towards the end of the project when the Final Account is being tied up.
There isn’t really a ‘typical’ day in my job, as I deal with a wide variety of construction projects in various stages of completion. I do find that the biggest challenge I have to cope with is inconsistent or non-existent information. Communication in projects is key, so it is important that there is comprehensive design information, clear instructions and everyone is kept in the loop. Often when an architects drawing is late, or a builder returns an incomplete quote, they might not realise how big the implications of this might be, but I am at the front end of trying to collate and define the information we have in order to move the project forward for our clients.
I have a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a fruit bar and a dark chocolate Kit-Kat for lunch. Maybe twice a week I’ll be able to walk round the office grounds for some air, or to the local high street for more milk for the office teas, but generally I eat at my desk. I never know when a client or Project Manager might need something urgently, or when our Managing Director, James Bryden will be free to go through a piece of work, so being available at lunch is helpful.
I’m sure I don’t drink enough water, so I’ve been trying really hard to drink more during the day. To this end I bought some fruity tea to make the water more exciting and got hooked. I now have a cupboard full of 9 different types of tea so there’s something to drink whatever my mood. The office team are also a big fan of Popmaster, so we try and always have the radio on at 10:30 to see if we will be ‘One Year Out!’
I’ve really enjoyed my placement year with CLPM. If you have a question, everyone will chip in and help until it’s answered. The CLPM Quantity Surveying team and Project Managers are not only hard working, but approachable and generous with their time and knowledge. There’s often a lot to do, and not much time to take it easy, but there’s a real sense of camaraderie which helps motivate me to do the best I can.
I finish any time between 15:00 (when trying to avoid Friday traffic) and 19:00 depending on workload, but most days I like to wrap things up after 17:30. After work I am very aware that I’ve been sitting at a desk a lot, so I like to watch The One Show whilst on my rowing machine. I’m a keen baker, which seems to go down well with the rest of the team, and I also have a number of craft projects that I’m working on. I write to my grandparents and friends often, and I Skype with my boyfriend every evening for about an hour or so. The last thing I like to do before bed is flick through the latest cooking magazine for inspiration, or catch up on a good book. I am currently reading ‘The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden’ which is a real page-turner.
I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with my life. Any suggestions are gladly welcomed! I’m in a committed relationship with someone who wants to be a pilot and hopefully an astronaut, so I need to have a flexible career that can fit around travelling with him and having a family. I’m tempted by the idea of setting up my own business but need to do some more research before taking that leap!
If you’re looking for a Hertfordshire Quantity Surveyor for your building project then we’d love to hear from you. The CLPM Quantity Surveying team give cost advice and support for construction projects across London and the South East. Call 01923 896550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.