Hello folks 👋
As you get more experience you will slowly start to pick up more projects.
When I started my career I worked on large, mega-projects so it was very difficult to get allocated a project that I could call my own. Instead I was given a "package" from that project to manage.
When I made my first career move into the commercial management space, within 3 months I was managing 10-15 projects at any given time. Some of these were high value (up to £1m), but many were between £50k-£250k.
I think small projects are the best way for a young QS to develop. You get to manage the project from cradle to grave and you see the entire life cycle of the project.
Don't get me wrong - having the mega-projects on your CV looks great, but the real learning comes when you are the one starting and finishing a project.
The biggest challenge when managing several projects is keeping up to date with the daily, weekly and periodic administration. Remember, as a QS you have responsibilities to discharge, i.e. supporting the named Contract Administrator to respond to early warnings, compensation events, and applications for payments.
Therefore, the below are some hacks I use to keep on top of my projects and ensure I deliver for my team.
Whenever I am given a new project, I make it a habit to keep a personal copy of the following documents:
Scope of Work
Pricing Document (Activity Schedule / Bill of Quants)
Health and Safety Requirements
The above documents should give you everything you need to know about the project to ensure that you can attend meetings confidently and understand what is being spoken about.
The same applies when I am taking over a project from someone else. I tend to save files in an organised filing structure for all projects to ensure I can quickly access important documents as and when I need them.
As soon as I get wind that I am taking over, I will speak to the incumbent manager and review the available documentation. If anything is missing I ask for a copy of the information straight away to avoid hassle later on.
As a Quantity Surveyor you may be responsible for reporting certain pieces of information to client stakeholders. This might the available budget for the project, the actual cost to date and forecasts for the financial year.
It's useful to have this information instantly accessible if any of your stakeholders want to discuss the project. I usually do this by having the information saved in an Excel document. This document is shared between me and my immediate supervisor who can review the position on a period basis.
Reply to emails.
That is all.
Only joking - but I mean it. Don't be one of those idiots that does not reply to emails and goes into hiding. Construction is a time sensitive game. You have to reply to emails, if you don't you could be preventing someone from doing their job!
When you take over a new project, set up a meeting with the incumbent QS and the other stakeholders to review the project. This will make life so much easier because you will have all the pertinent information from all the relevant people related to the project.
Reply to emails.
Also - avoid email tennis. Sometimes it's just better to pick up the phone and speak to a human rather than argue semantics on Outlook. Give it a try.
The above might seem basic, but trust me it's not. I've worked with so many QS's, project managers, engineers, who just cannot do the basics.
Let me know if you have any other hacks so I can improve too!