27 Jan Journey So Far: Sam Graham (Assistant Quantity Surveyor)
Sam knew he wanted to join the construction industry from a young age but was unsure of the exact path he wanted to take. He comes from a family of skilled tradespeople and his first experience of working in the industry was assisting a family friend who was a painter and decorator.
Fast forward a few years, Sam started a Civil Engineering degree at Liverpool John Moores University but soon realised it wasn’t right for him. Knowing he wanted to stay in the construction industry he explored different possibilities before discovering Quantity Surveying was the way forward!
Sam finished his degree in Quantity Surveying in the middle of the pandemic, which was not ideal! However, determined to begin employment he found labouring work with a local property developer, working on-site alongside a joiner and a plumber. The perfect way to gain some valuable site experience.
Still keen to pursue a career in Quantity Surveying Sam joined the team at Ward Williams Associates (WWA) in 2021. We spoke to Sam about his ‘Journey So Far’ and what his plans are for the future.
What does your typical day at WWA involve?
“My typical day consists of working alongside the Quantity Surveying team to produce cost plans, estimates and bank reports. I spend a lot of the time using software such as CAD and CostX to assist with measuring and producing cost plans for the various projects that we work on.
Lately, we have been working on a variety of projects at the tender stage so I have been assisting with the tender process. This has included compiling tender documents, dealing with Contractor queries, comparison of tender returns and assisting in compiling reports for the client, including recommendations for appointing a Contractor.”
What skills/lessons have you learnt since joining WWA?
“Since joining WWA I have overcome several challenges and also learnt many valuable lessons. I feel more confident in my ability including speaking to clients and attending meetings.
I am learning more about parts of the industry that I never knew existed until I started at WWA. I feel very lucky to be able to absorb knowledge from an experienced team who are always there if I need any questions answered. Time management plays a big role in working on multiple projects and I have learnt very quickly that planning ahead is an important part of the job.”
What do you think is the best part of your role?
“What I’ve found best about my role at WWA is that no two projects are the same. We work on numerous types of buildings from residential and healthcare to commercial and industrial. Each project brings different challenges. I enjoy working as part of the team and using our combined experience and initiative to help solve challenges and progress with projects.”
What is your proudest achievement so far?
“The proudest achievement so far at WWA is my promotion to Assistant Quantity Surveyor. It’s great to feel appreciated and to know that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off!”
Is working in construction what you thought it would be?
“I have really enjoyed the last 10 months working with WWA and it has shown me how many little cogs there are in the industry and if one part stops working or slows down it can have a huge effect on everything around it.
For example, the Suez canal blockage in March 2021 had a major impact on material supply in the construction industry. I never realised that something like this would have such a ripple effect, giving us issues with lead-in times and more expensive tender returns. It just shows that the industry is continuously facing challenges and will always have to change and innovate to overcome them.”
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start a career in construction?
“The industry as a whole is huge so my advice to anybody thinking of a career in construction is to get some experience first and understand what route you want to take and what part of the industry you want to work in.”
What are your plans for continuing your career in construction?
“It’s been hard to plan my career especially with the global challenges at the moment but I am currently really enjoying working for WWA and helping the Manchester office expand and grow across the North West. I look forward to new challenges and to work on even more exciting projects in the future.”