I am a graduate Quantity Surveyor working within the buildings and places team within the Liverpool office. I am involved with projects at various stages from producing feasibility estimates at the project outset all the way through to negotiating final accounts upon project completion, and everything else in between from producing estimates, producing contract documents, chairing monthly progress meetings and carrying out monthly valuations on projects.
One specific project I have been involved with since starting at AECOM has been the Shakespeare North Playhouse Theatre, Prescot, Merseyside. On this project I have been involved in producing detailed estimates, using software such as CostX to help do take-offs. I have been involved in the tendering process whilst ‘letting out’ some of the packages on the project. As this is a council funded project I have been involved in value engineering meetings with the client & architect and the appointed Contractor, to help with the design of the building in order for the project to be designed within the set budget. In addition to carrying out these estimates, I have also been involved in producing the Contract Documents that have been used for the Enabling Contract.
Here at AECOM in Liverpool we have a diverse range of people in our sports and social team. As a member of the S&S committee we try to organise events/days on a regular basis to allow the office to get to know each other outside of the work environment. We have recently just had our summer social event, which was a BBQ lunch which all the office attended and was a great day out for all staff.
Since joining AECOM, no two working days are the same which makes every day something new. My responsibilities on the two projects I work on are completely different, which is refreshing and means I am constantly learning about and strengthening different skills. On one project, I am a contract assistant for the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) works. My duties involve contract administration, being responsible for keeping track of project deliverables and sub-contractor management, and ensuring the latest information about the project is available, updated and complete. As well as these tasks, I am also required to do other tasks along the way (invoice checking, making organigrams etc.), which means I can be very busy at times.
My role on the other project is very different. I act as more of a Client Representative where I liaise with the sub-contractors and project sponsors, help draft and write contractual documents, write evaluation reports, set up site visits, attend various meetings regarding different phases of the project, and security and minuting.
Every day at AECOM I am constantly learning things within my team. They are not selfish with their knowledge or experience and are always willing to assist me with any queries I may have. As an example, during my first week at AECOM I was given a task and I did not know the best way to proceed, as my knowledge of construction project management was academic rather than practical and therefore limited. I felt lost and unsure of what information was needed to complete the task. I told the lead PM with whom I was working that I was really struggling to understand the work they had given me, that I was trying my best, but my knowledge was limited. The lead PM was understanding and set up a private meeting to go over the task in detail with me, outlining where to find the correct information and explained some of the processes and procedures of the project and where this task fitted into the project time line. I found this one-to-one knowledge session – keeping in mind just how busy they were – so helpful and it really made me feel like I could go to my team with any queries and that I would be met with a helping hand and no judgement. Having worked out of several AECOM offices, I have found this to be ‘the rule’ at AECOM and not an ‘exception’.
AECOM really do uphold their “freedom to grow” policy. They are understanding towards an individual’s circumstances and accommodate what is needed at the time. At least this is my experience, first-hand and observed. There have been times where I needed to work from home / leave work early and my requests received no opposition.
I am naturally a shy person, so on my first day at AECOM I was wondering how I would make friends within my team / the surrounding teams. There are always horror stories about ‘office politics and unhealthy working environments’, but my worries were washed away when a colleague who was a similar age introduced herself and other young members of the office to me. Everyone immediately made me feel welcomed and all took the time to personally introduce themselves to me and chat with me. The warmth and positivity with which I was welcomed by my team and other members of the office was great. They brought me in as another member of a unit. Now, we have regular outings on Fridays after work and I have lunch with colleagues regularly during the week. I absolutely enjoy going to work every day.
Being part of AECOM, you get greater exposure due to working on big projects and a wide range of projects, but also being surrounded by people from all over who have immense experience and some of the best skills and knowledge in the industry.
I am currently working on Lower Thames Crossing (LTC), a Highways England project, which is going to be an alternative to the Dartford crossing. LTC is currently the biggest ground investigation (GI) project in the UK since the M25, and once built is going to be the longest tunnel in the UK. At over 50ft (15m) wide it will also become the 3rd largest bored tunnel in the world.
I currently work on two of the delivering packages as a contract and commercial assistant which consists of many things. I enjoy my role at AECOM, being part of a team and organisation that has some of the greatest experiences and exposure in the UK and in the world. AECOM is currently the Principal Consultant in the project, which means it is in our hands to manage delivery of the project. I joined the team in early contractor involvement stage, which is the baseline testing and GI works required to be conducted before the actual main works of GI before the build.
The Project Management side of my role involves supporting the team in managing deliverables and the day to day delivery of the project, engaging with the client, the employer’s agent, subcontractors and the public. This side of the role includes achieving delivery, monitoring KPIs and managing risk to the business and to the client. Some of the tasks include risk register and risk reduction meetings and tracker to reduce the risk element in the works and forecasting what potentially could happen. KPIs, performance and delivery comprises of supporting the team in managing budgets, deliverables that need to be produced and the programme.
The commercial and contract element to my role consists of monitoring and approving payments to subcontractors and suppliers, against the correct cost centre within the project. However before this is done we need to produce contracts which are presented to the client, confirming task orders i.e. how we pay the client and subcontractors. This involves making adjustments and editing the clauses and programme information in the NEC contract. In doing so I have gained experience with working on an NEC3 PSC and an ECC contract. As a PM and also being involved in the commercial side I have learnt what all parties are obligated to deliver, in what timeframes certain elements are required to be paid, delivered or issued to a specific party, and also managing and reducing risk throughout the project cycle.
I recently took part in a CSR day which included a day trip to Hayling Island as part of a collaboration between a few teams within the Basingstoke office. This was not only an insight into how our environment and shoreline is being polluted, it also assured me that the company I work for has a positive impact on our environment, as there are various initiatives that have been highlighted to me since joining. This was a rewarding and an eventful day because we made a difference, and although we got absolutely soaked, the meal and drink afterwards made it even more worthwhile!
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