What's your job about?
I am a Cadet currently working at the Eastland Sage Hotel in Ringwood. The project consists of 120 guestrooms across four levels with a communal level dedicated to front of house and back of house areas. I have been extremely fortunate to work on a small project as it has allowed me to gain a great deal of exposure across a number of different modules. With the job nearing completion, my role predominantly consists of assessing subcontractor payments, assessing subcontractor variations, processing invoices, assisting with Head Contract Progress Claims and running site inductions. Earlier in the project, I was tasked with vetting subcontractor quotes and letting packages as well as writing scope of works for a number of different trade packages. My role has not been strictly limited to contract administration as I have also assisted the design manger with document control, sample approvals and general design coordination which allowed me to work with consultants on a regular basis. I also played a role in coordinating the balustrade design with both the client, architect and subcontractor to achieve a safe, compliant and fit for purpose design. In addition to design coordination, I have also assisted with reviewing subcontractor OH&S plans and subcontractor SWMS.
My most enjoyable role has been assisting the façade coordinator with the on-site coordination of the curtain wall panels which saw me involved in the logistics of getting the panels to site and ensuring the correct panels arrived in the correct sequence. This required close coordination with both the logistics company we engaged on the project as well as the façade installer on site. I was also fortunate to assist with some basic monitoring and tracking of the curtain wall program which saw me report to the façade coordinator, project manager and site manager on a regular basis. This role also allowed me to work hand in hand with the subcontractors on site and enabled me to gain an appreciation for the work involved to successfully coordinate a specific trade on site.
As the project nears completion, I will be looking forward to assisting with subcontractor closeouts as well as assisting with defect rectification and supervision.
What's your background?
I grew up in in the northern suburbs of Melbourne before relocating to Melbourne’s east when I commenced High School at St. Kevin’s College. I have always been an avid football and basketball player and was regularly involved in team sports on my weekends from a young age. Upon completion of Year 12, I wasn’t certain of what career path I wanted to take and opted to commence a commerce degree at Monash University as I felt it would provide a solid foundation that I could later forge a career out of. Whilst I enjoyed my time at Monash University, I quickly realised that commerce, and specifically marketing and economics, wasn’t for me and so I began assessing new career paths in my final year of study. At the time, I was fortunate to be working on site for a commercial balustrade subcontractor during my final year of study at Monash University which provided me with a unique insight into the commercial construction industry. Whilst my exposure to the management side of construction was limited during my time on the tools, it definitely sparked my interest in the industry. Being fortunate to work on large scale commercial projects such as Swanston Square and Caulfield Village also gave me an appreciation for the work that construction professionals do on a daily basis and was a key reason for me opting to commence my masters in Construction Management and apply for the cadetship at Probuild.
Since commencing the cadetship at Probuild, I have learnt a great deal about the industry, particularly from the contractor’s perspective whilst also gaining an appreciation for the work that goes on behind the scenes to make a project run like a well-oiled machine.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. I believe Probuild do a fantastic job of employing individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds which is evident on any given project as everyone has a different story from how they got to where they are. However, I am also a realist and acknowledge that having a construction, architecture or engineering background will facilitate a smooth transition into what is a very demanding industry. That’s not to say that an individual from a tertiary background that isn’t construction related should not apply as a common skill for all construction professionals is the ability to manage people and resources. This skill is something that can be taught in a wide variety of degrees and professions.
Through the graduate program, Probuild do a fantastic job of ensuring all new starts receive exposure to a wide variety of roles whilst also providing on going support and supervision through the modules outlined in the graduate program. Because of this cadets and graduates who are considered “green” can quickly get up to speed and learn the ropes by not only completing the modules, but by also learning from some of the best professionals in the industry.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Above all else, I love dealing with the guys out on site. I have been very fortunate to come from a background where I am extremely comfortable out on site and because of this I have so far enjoyed my time out on site the most. The team oriented nature of the industry also requires management to work closely with the trades on site, and the feeling of working together to achieve a common goal far outweighs the high demands placed on construction professionals. The tangibility of the work we do on a day to day basis also provides continual motivation throughout as you will often see evidence of your hard work on a regular basis.
What are the limitations of your job?
Working in Construction is a very demanding job with long hours, weekend work and early starts the norm for all construction professionals. All the above-mentioned limitations are common for all new starts and are something you quickly get accustom to.
If early starts and weekend work are not for you, then your initial transition may be difficult at first but, as mentioned earlier, is something you quickly learn to adapt to. One key deterrent and limitation for working in the industry is also the fast paced nature of the work. You can mentally prepare yourself for how quickly things come together but it’s not until you’re in the thick of it that you either learn to sink or swim.
Fortunately, Probuild do an amazing job of providing ongoing support and assistance through their graduate program to ensure graduates and cadets are provided with adequate opportunities to learn and develop.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Get involved in the industry as early as you can. Getting work experience is a great way to determine what it is you actually like and may even give you a clear understanding of which role in construction you are best suited to, whether that be Estimating, Contract Administration, Coordination, Supervision or Design Management.
- Always seek to expand your social network. The industry is a very small one so if you’re able to get your foot in the door by being proactive and seeking out individuals currently in the industry you will be better for it. Even by picking their brains and seeking out advice from experienced individuals who have gone through the same process you will be going through is extremely advantageous.
- Travel as much as you can whilst at uni. As mentioned earlier, construction can be a very demanding industry which requires a large portion of your time. I never had the experience of going on exchange or travelling for an extended period of time and it is something that, if I had my time again, I would definitely do.