My name is Alistair Stewart and I’ve worked as a building project manager for CLPM Ltd for 6 years. Before CLPM I worked for many years project managing high-end residential construction projects. I’ve also lectured on a variety of building-related subjects at Kingston University.
I live in central London and look after CLPM clients, and their residential or commercial construction projects, across London. I also project manage in Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent.
I’m not really a morning person, but my alarm clock forces me out of bed and I’m up and ready for 6.45am. Then it’s plenty of coffee and a big bowl of wholewheat cereal, berries and banana before I fire up my laptop and check my emails and notes for the coming day.
I’m highly organised, and a bit of a stickler for detail (a throw-back to my stint in the forces) so I plan each day in advance to make sure I’m as efficient as I can be. I probably only travel about 50 miles a day. Whilst I definitely don’t cover as many miles as my regionally-based project manager colleagues, traveling in London can be a bit of a nightmare. For building projects further afield, I drive my 1997 VW golf mark 3 – or within London I generally take the tube or overground train.
I tend to visit a couple of clients a day and fit my admin, emails and phone-calls around my appointments. I use the evenings to plan and log into our systems. This includes Buildertrend, our online construction management system, which we use together with our clients and contractors. I take lots of photos onsite and log these too. All of which helps our clients keep in touch with what’s happening with their building project.
My days are generally spent meeting with clients and their build teams. This could be architects, structural engineers, interior designers, contractors or specialist trades. Much of my work as a construction project manager involves helping our clients to make the best decisions and making sure their plans are implemented. I also deal with a lot of queries from the builders about construction detailing, so no one day is ever the same!
I love my job, and it’s variety. It’s very satisfying. But perhaps one of the less enjoyable aspects of the role of project manager is dealing with our clients’ worried, troublesome or inquisitive neighbours. You certainly need tact and diplomacy. However I find once you have had a chat you can generally resolve any issues. Our clients are usually very grateful that we can help with these kinds of situations too!
I take a break for lunch whenever I can fit it in. I generally grab a sandwich from somewhere nearby and eat it on the hoof.
Whilst I’ve completed plenty of new build of all types, including ones with SIPs or to PassivHaus standards, my favourite construction projects tend to be the historic or older building renovations. There’s plenty to get your teeth into and an opportunity to use my skills as well as being creative when solving some of the problems we come up against.
My tip for clients on getting the most out of your building project manager is to take your time to create a comprehensive plan. Do your homework, research your options, consider the costs and allow time and financial contingencies. Make your decisions quickly and early. Don’t leave decisions until the last moment. Try not to change your mind.
My working day generally finishes early evening, although I do also attend shows some weekends at the NSBRC at Swindon or Grand Designs Live as a project management expert. I try to knock off early at around 530pm to get to the gym a few night a week. On other nights I finish catching up on my emails and aim to complete my admin by around 7pm.
It’s a bit of a busman’s holiday, but I do enjoy DIY. In fact, I’ve always got a project on the go, and have built and added to my home several times over the years. I also enjoy foraging for wild mushrooms, gardening, reading, TV and generally pottering around the house.
Are you planning a major building project in London, Hertfordshire, Kent or Essex? Are looking for a renovation project manager? If so, then why not get in touch? Simply fill out a contact form, email us on info @cl-pm.com or call 01923 896550.