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Kanti Patel

Age: 43, project manager, Fondedile Foundations, UK

Route to the job
I joined Sir Robert McAlpine in August 1980, as a site engineer, having completed a Diploma in Building from Richmond upon Thames College. I continued my education part-time and was awarded a Higher National Certificate in Building in 1984. Later that year I transferred to McAlpine's associate company Fondedile Foundations as a site engineer. Over the last twenty years, I have gained extensive experience in both pile and anchor construction and testing and I'm currently a project agent/manager.

Typical day
Whether I am at head office or on site, a typical day commences by establishing key activities for that day, then prioritising and executing them. Key activities can be very diverse and include planning meetings, preparing construction drawings, piling schedules, programmes, progress reports, method statements, giving induction training and toolbox talks, testing piles or anchors, carrying out site safety audits, ordering materials, monitoring works/structures and research and development. The list goes on. But by prioritising the daily activities I am able to delegate work to site supervisors or site engineers to keep the works on programme.

Highs and lows
Highs involve resolving specialist problems which benefit the company and the client. I also get satisfaction from establishing and maintaining good effective working relationships with all parties including clients, professional bodies and our subcontractors. Lows occur when the industrial climate declines. This has a knock on effect to my output, which interferes with my natural working balance and potential efficiency.

Ambitions
Early retirement with a thoroughly satisfying career successfully completed.

Advice
If you chose to join this specialist sector within the construction industry, you will require multidisciplinary skills and you will be surprised at their number and range.