What's your job about?
I estimate and control cost in the Buildings + Places team at AECOM, a premier infrastructure consulting firm. For me, a regular workday includes many different tasks. It could involve receiving a set of drawings, measuring the amount of materials required and applying rates to the quantities to produce an estimate. I then pass this on to another colleague to calculate the contingency and risk. The most exciting part of any day is visiting a construction site. Here, I ensure the works claimed by the contractor are in line with what I can see has progressed on the construction site. Each day involves communicating with colleagues, clients, and contractors, trying to make a positive change, and making (mostly) delicious coffees with our fancy coffee machine!
What's your background?
After finishing school, I moved to the UK and found myself coming home to New Zealand after one year. I decided to move to Wellington, where I really started to find myself. I met lots of new people and was moving amongst different circles. Making a group of successful friends helped shape the direction I headed in. I wanted to find a sense of purpose and be proud of my work. I finished my studies aged 27 and my confidence led me to find a graduate job at the completion of my course. Every ‘no’ is one step closer to a ‘yes’, so don’t let the rejections bring you down. Keep pushing forward and show your worth.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
A Diploma can get your foot in the door, but various different backgrounds can contribute to becoming a successful quantity surveyor. Many quantity surveyors start out ‘on the tools’, giving them an understanding of the methods of construction. But, if you are a good communicator, enjoy working with people and can negotiate, this will give you a strong starting point. Excellent attention to detail and an aptitude with numbers is also beneficial to anyone starting out.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
One of the projects I am currently working on is the Kāinga Ora Retrofit Programme. I manage the costs for the remedial works of properties from the start to finish of the upgrade process. It is heart-warming to work on a project where the outcome is a healthy, drier, and warmer home for its tenants. It gives me a great sense of purpose knowing there will be long-lasting benefits for the tenants, including cheaper power bills and improved health and wellbeing.
What are the limitations of your job?
My job doesn’t have many limitations; it’s not physically demanding and I don’t regularly need to work on weekends. The biggest limitation of the role would be time. When working on multiple projects, time-management and communication skills are incredibly important to ensure you are balancing your workload and meeting deadlines. The complexity of plans can also seem daunting at times. AECOM is a global company with many different teams and areas of expertise. There’s always someone I can ask for help when I need it or if something doesn’t make sense.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Study something that interests you and something you are passionate about! Speak up and ask questions. Get out there and meet people. Attending networking events and putting yourself out there shows you are willing to go that extra step.