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Julian Mansfield

Age: 38, senior estimating engineer, Cementation Foundations Skanska, UK

Route to the job
I left school at 16 and joined Ercol Furniture where I did a four-year apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker. After a year as a qualified cabinetmaker I became an estimator, pricing hospital furniture. After a couple of years I moved to Westpile and became a piling estimator. But for a short period with Bachy Soletanche I stayed with Westpile until 2001, when I joined Cementation Foundations as a senior estimating engineer.

Typical day
A typical day involves dealing with clients on the phone or face to face at meetings. Estimating is all about developing and pricing piling schemes, which includes some design work, project planning, following up new and submitted tenders and visiting sites.

Highs and lows
Highs are winning work for the company, developing good relationships with clients and generally meeting lots of different people. Lows are the unachievable deadlines expected by some people and the old adversarial and confrontational way of working that persists in some sectors of the construction industry.

Ambitions
To be successful in what I do.

Advice
It can be a very challenging but also very rewarding. Stick with it.