A Brief History of My Employment [Updated] - 1978 to 2012

A photo of the author's busy wooden working desk showing a chair with jacket over the back, files, drawing rolls and telephone
The busy office desk of a Heating Engineer in the late seventies

I received a formal office based apprenticeship with a medium sized heating company where I learnt all required skills from estimation to commissioning and final accounting of industrial and commercial mechanical services projects.

As a Mechanical Services Engineer my duties included specification interpretation, basic design, draughting, sub-contract negotiation, site meeting attendance, quantity surveying including budget control, commissioning and documentation preparation.

I single-handedly supervised contracts varying between ten thousand to three-and-a-half million pounds in value.

Within this period I sought further experience and set out to find additional challenge. I worked outside the industry in sales and marketing for a while but no clear opportunities developed so I took an offer to rejoin the construction industry again, then moving to a leading player in the market.

Shortly after this the Managing Director of a heating and plumbing company, who wanted to start a mechanical services division, approached me. My experience within the commercial building services market was called upon to create a department from inception.

I was given a free hand and within the three years of running the department as a General Manager I autonomously ran more than forty contracts won from valuing over two-hundred tenders, turning over half a million pounds and making a small profit after start up costs.

With the company I honed new skills including labour recruitment, supervision, training and termination, department budgeting, finding and developing client relationships and accountancy.

I initiated quarterly and yearly departmental financial and progress reports and was instrumental in helping the company grow from a small poorly administered outfit to a vibrant professional concern by encouraging staff meetings, standardising and tidying presentation techniques and developing CDM and Investors in People formats.

Despite my development of new contacts such as the local University and the national Gas Company it became clear that my hopes and expectations from the department exceeded the financial risk that one of the directors was prepared to take.

I chose to join a better-funded organisation to improve my personal reward and commenced work with another southern based, mechanical services company overseeing several contemporaneous projects as a Contracts Manager. This included sole commercial and engineering responsibility for projects.

The author sits at his working desk, on the phone with a laptop opened in front of him.  A large photocopier is seen in the background under the window.
The job had similarities but the technology had developed

In 1999 I decided to develop the professional side of my skills and seek new contacts in a more commercial environment within a more stimulating and progressive field.

I choose to work through a London based company and became self employed to maximise my potential. This enabled me to respond better to a modernising market.

Most of my work at this time was carried out for a respected London based group of companies, as a Senior Contracts Consultant. They provided continual work for me from March 1999.

My duties had been varied and I encouraged my client to offer me a wide range of assignments. The projects were within the contractual and commercial sector often with high profile clients, usually within a team.

I had been engaged in prestigious multi-million pound contracts, dealing with issues such as valuing multi-million pound variation accounts, researching contractual documentation, asset surveying, setting company bonus schemes and working with legal departments on claims and adjudication cases.

As an illustration of this, at the beginning of 2003 I was appointed as a specialist planner, working with Primavera [P3] software, for an eminent E&M company within the rail industry, providing me with over a year’s specific experience working with specialist planning software both on new programming and time slice analysis as part of sub-contract claims.

During 2004 I worked as a Quantity Surveyor involved in track replacement on the London Underground network and in 2005 I commenced working within the commercial department of a Motorway and Trunk Road Maintenance team as part of a £85m/annum project. My role was to value the £9m trunk and motorway works and resolve a £5m line painting final account.

In 2007 I worked on another rail project, requiring understanding of standard signalling methodology plus the new cutting edge European Interoperability ERTMS radio signalling system set to become standard across the future UK and European networks.

Between 2008 and 2010 I worked as a Principle Quantity Surveyor on Ministry of Defence [MoD] housing refurbishment projects in the South West including having responsibility of a £9m project where I played a key role in defending a £1.8m adjudication claim.

In 2009 I decided to set up a Limited Company, IMPRECE Limited, to offer further options to my clients and increase opportunities for expansion.

Then later in 2010 I valued a 500 item variation account on a £2.7m mansion conversion in West London.

I then returned to a PAYE position in 2012 with a southern Mechanical Services company as a Senior Quantity Surveyor. My role being the commercial supervision of all contract projects across the business providing specialist surveying advice, working on the most technical and challenging projects, producing applications, preparing adjudication material, negotiating final accounts and debt recovery.

A Summary of My Skills and Experience

  • More than 25 years project planning, engineering and commercial management within the construction and associated industries

  • Commercial skills [Quantity Surveying] including contractual correspondence, variations and claims - Experience in Disruption and Loss and Expense with knowledge of adjudication and arbitration

  • Procurement, planning, resourcing and supervision [including using proprietary software – Asta Primavera P3, Powerproject, TeamPlan and MS Project]

  • Specialist Building Services, construction, rail and road industry experience

  • High speed and competency of spreadsheet calculations and word processing with good knowledge of various desktop publications and database applications

  • High level of computer literacy in Windows and Apple Macintosh including internet understanding, website creation using source codes [this whole site is hand coded in HTML, all self taught], basic networking and problem solving

  • Design, calculations, coordination and drawing [manual and CAD]

  • Client liaison, arranging meetings

  • Public speaking and event organisation

  • Sub-contractor selection, negotiation and supervision

  • Ability to decipher and interpret legal and contractual documentation

  • Technical documentation writing [Operating and Maintenance, CDM, Health and Safety]

  • Estimation and financial skills within the tendering environment

  • Recruitment, employment, setting and administering bonus schemes plus training

  • Management skills including budget control, staff relations and report writing

  • Experience in seamless adaption to variable company processes utilising rapid understanding of new software

  • Security cleared [MoD WWW rated]

  • Incident reporting and fire awareness trained

  • Experience in setting up a Limited Company from inception including branding and marketing

Selective Work Assignments

A selection of the major roles that I carried out and the projects that I worked on.

  • 1978/1982 - Technician Heating Engineer [Apprenticeship]

  • 1982/1984 - Various temporary works, then Warehousing and Sales

  • 1984/1993 - Mechanical Services Engineer

  • 1993 – Part time Consultancy Engineering

  • 1993/1994 - Project Engineer

  • 1994/1997 - General Manager [Mechanical Services Department]

  • 1997/1999 - [Mechanical and Electrical] Contracts Manager

  • 1999/2011 - Self Employed Contracting [see below]

  • 2011/2012 - Senior Quantity Surveyor

Self Employed Contracting

List of the major contracts I worked on as a self-employed Contracts Consultant.

  • 1999 - Quantity Surveyor, Assistant Claims Consultant and commercial support roles on projects including the Canary Wharf Nat West Tower and the London Underground Jubilee Line Extension claim calculations

  • 2000/1 - Asset Registration in Retail and Banking

  • 2001 - Administration of Bonus Scheme on two major Tower Construction Contracts in Canary Wharf

  • 2002 - Setting Up Bonus Scheme for a main Mechanical Services Company

  • 2002 - Adjudication Research for a Sub-Contractor Claim within a large London Property Development Site

  • 2003 - Planner as part of the London Kings Cross Underground redevelopment producing base-line programmes for Camden Depot, including work breakdown structuring, logic linking and costed resourcing

  • 2003 - Extension of Time Analysis, work breakdown structuring, logic linking of activities and printing of Gantt charts following Building Services Construction at St George's Hospital, Tooting

  • 2004/5 - Quantity Surveyor for Metronet Rail Infrastructure responsible for valuation and submission of Metronet overground rail replacement possession works

  • 2005 - Claim preparation following Building Services Construction at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington

  • 2005/6 - Highways Maintenance Quantity Surveyor responsible for £9m part of RCS's £85m Area 3 Term Maintenance motorway and trunk road depot maintenance works and minor schemes, including calculations for a £5m line painting final account

  • 2007 - Rail Quantity Surveyor for rail signalling projects including ERTMS

  • 2007 - Sewage treatment plant Quantity Surveyor providing cost reports and variation negotiation with Thames Water for plant upgrades

  • 2008/10 - Principle Quantity Surveyor on £9m Ministry of Defence housing renovation project in the South West including all calculations for defence of a £1.8m adjudication claim

  • 2010/11 - Quantity Surveyor for £2.7m account with over 500 variations during a refurbishment contact on a Holland Park mansion in West London for an extremely high net worth client

Related Links

Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.321 30 Jun 2021
First Published: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.00 in Mar 2005
Reimagined to 2005/6 in Version 5.080 9 Mar 2018
Self-employed data added in Version 5.082 15 Mar 2018
Updated to 2010 in Versions 5.151 13 Jul 2018 then 5.177 21 Aug 2018
Updated to 2012 in Version 5.188 5 Sep 2018
The first image is of the author's working desk taken around 1979 and was added in Version 5.080 9 Mar 2018
The other image is of the author working during the early noughties and was added in Version 5.080 9 Mar 2018
2021 website updates [see website page for full details]: Version 5.321 30 Jun 2021