With great responsibility comes great opportunity
Published: 13 Feb 2018
Every day I get up at 5.30am to get myself organised for work and to make my little boy’s lunch. After waking him up and getting him ready for school I get my PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on for work and we then make our way to his school’s breakfast club. I usually arrive at the office at about 7.45am.
I’d say that about 80% of my job is based on site, but I do always check my e-mails in the office first thing to take note of any important updates. I’m also responsible for submitting the applications required by Scottish Water, so I always check for any updates which I need to mark out on permits and brief the workers on.
As an employee of one of the contractors involved in delivering the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project, my role is to pass on any relevant information about the design and the overall project to the construction team. I ensure they fulfil the project requirements, whether that’s laying tar for a road, utilities diversions or installation of beams on a bridge. I need to know the site very well to provide the most accurate information to the foreman and the team working on the project. As a result, I’m always studying the drawing and schedules for the project.
Since joining the team in 2015 I have been given the opportunity to develop my skills and have already completed a number of industry-recognised training courses including an SVQ Level 3 in Construction Operations, two CAT and Genny courses and the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. I have also completed The Scottish Water Distribution Operations Maintenance Strategy (DOMS) scheme and National Water Hygiene course.
A big part of my job is ‘setting out’. I am responsible for passing on the correct information to the team working on the AWPR/B-T project. This includes providing the position line and level for roads and bridges and to ensure the work reflects the design specification. I usually spend most mornings inspecting these areas and making sure none of my setting out has been affected and that the work completed meets the design requirements.
I usually take a break at about 11am and use that opportunity to have a quick update with colleagues. Once a week we gather for a ‘programme of works’ meeting which is an overall update on who’s doing what. It’s such a huge and complex project and things can change quite rapidly so it’s useful to have regular progress reports.
I tend to have lunch about 2pm in the canteen; depending on how busy I am, I will try to use that time to speak to my colleagues about their day.
My afternoons are very varied and my work is dictated by whatever is ongoing on site. For example, last month the final beam was installed at Stonehaven and we had a massive 750-tonne crane on site to do a lift. That required a lot of co-ordination from everyone in the team to ensure everything went smoothly – which it did. Currently at the Stonehaven site – which is where I am based – there is a lot of bridge-building activity. So I am spending an increasing amount of time supervising the construction of the wing walls (the wall of the bridge) along with various other members of the structural team.
Health and safety is understandably a huge consideration across the site and I have completed the Site Management Safety Training Scheme so I am aware of all the potential risks and can advise colleagues and workers on best practice. I also deliver the Induction Programme, which is heavily focused on health and safety, to new employees.
It is so important that people working on site are familiar with their surroundings and are aware of the risks. We also stress that it is so important for workers not to walk by anything they think isn’t quite right on site – we make sure everyone is made aware of any potential dangers.
Before I head home for the day I check on the progress of ongoing jobs and make sure they are within the design requirement, for example to ensure levels of culverts are correct and whether street lighting has been successfully installed.
I then pick up my son at about 5.30pm and we head home. We spend most of our evenings reading and enjoying dinner together before having an early night in preparation for the next day.
8 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY JOB
1. I have a challenging but rewarding role.
2. The job continues to keep me engaged.
3. The environment is always changing, no two days are the same in construction.
4. The progress of seeing something being built gives me a sense of achievement.
5. Creating an improvement for the community – a community that I am also part of.
6. I love learning new things and seeing how they work.
7. It’s great to be part of such a diverse team of people who all fulfil very different roles on site and play an important part in completing this extraordinary project.
8. Seeing it through from the challenges right through to completion.