A Day in the Life of a… Managing Director GVE founder and Managing Director, Steve Goodwin
1. How did you start your career in the construction industry?
At the age of 20 I was working for the Ministry of Defence on a US air force base. My mother was working for Tarmac Construction at the time, building the M40, and a member of their construction team offered me a role as a site accountant. This role took me to Swindon, Devon & Cornwall, and Kent mainly administering site costs for large road projects.
A few years later a Project QS offered me the chance to enrol on a QS training programme, which I duly accepted. I took a substantial salary cut at the time and undertook five years of professional QS training.
2. Describe a typical working day for you.
If not on a critical client assignment, where I would be devoting 100% of my efforts, a typical day would be split into three roles:
1. Director of a business and manager of people
In this role I am a quasi-HR administrator, a quasi-accountant, a quasi-purchaser etc
2. Active quantity surveyor, dispute resolver/avoider, and expert advisor
I would typically have three or four client work assignments at any one time. This can involve
a-assessing and advising on contract terms and conditions (pre-contract)
b-producing training notes and implementing training sessions
c-advising on client submissions (claims, notices, CEs, Variations, Eot, Etc)
d-drafting/managing adjudication submissions, liaison with solicitors, and acting as a quantum expert
3. Advisor to my surveying team, offering solutions and assisting with their own client requirements
As a yearly average, about 80% of my work is client-based and 20% is running and managing GVE. This, I suspect, is more client work than many consultancy managing directors but I do genuinely enjoy my client-facing work.
3. What is the most memorable construction project you have been involved in and why?
Probably my first Project QS role at Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. For the first time a project’s finances, and to some extent its success or failure, was my responsibility (with other senior managers on the project). That was equally a huge challenge and a task I found stimulating and rewarding.
4. What is your vision for your industry in the future?
I sincerely hope the whole construction industry takes the lead in green initiatives. The people, the animals, and the plants on this great planet of ours deserve a prosperous and healthy future. I am already seeing a change in the methods of delivering major infrastructure works – despite the protests, as valuable as they are to seek balance, I know the HS2 team take pride in the delivery of that project in an environmentally stable and sustainable manner. We will no doubt see much of the same at the second Thames Crossing and Stonehenge Tunnel projects.
5. What advice would you give an aspiring quantity surveyor?
I have four main pieces of advice for any aspiring quantity surveyor:
· For the first five years keep your head down, work hard, accept any-and-all advice and guidance, self-study and try to always be the go-to person in your team
· Accept all tasks, no matter how mundane they may sound, and do them with a high degree of ‘gusto’
· Set up your own personal folder of all construction-related matters, including technical, contractual, and legal – continuously develop this file with as many perspectives as possible
· Always ask your seniors to give you tasks that stretch your current abilities ‘to the max’. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and get things wrong – but do learn from them!
Once established in your role make yourself known, go to events, write articles, join groups – become the best surveyor you can be!