The former Willmott Dixon trainee on the importance of collaboration, the challenges (and excitement!) of working in the current environment and the buzz of handing over the keys to a new home 

Tim Carpenter Durkan

Tim Carpenter was promoted from group new business director to managing director of construction at Durkan in February last year

Why did you choose construction as a career?

I was introduced to the industry by a family friend following a rather lacklustre A-level performance but have never looked back. I started as a trainee site manager with Willmott Dixon and had an amazing and exciting progression through the business. I spent 15 years as managing director of their housing division.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Being involved in the delivery of many thousands of new homes, especially the affordable ones. I have been involved in all manner of construction projects but nothing beats the buzz of handing over the keys to residents of their new home.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date?

Construction is always throwing you curve balls. However, the current market conditions of rampant inflation, material and staff shortages and ineffective procurement practices are a combination of simultaneous challenges we have not seen in a lifetime.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I would welcome improved procurement processes in public sector housing that would allow early contractor involvement and thereby enable the wider uptake of MMC and other forms of improved delivery. The 1990s report entitled Constructing the Team by Sir Michael Latham did so much to promote collaborative project delivery and teamwork. However, we seem to have forgotten all the valuable lessons learnt then.

What is the most helpful advice that you have been given?

Focus on doing the best job you can – and the rewards will follow.


Source: Shutterstock

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72AD and was completed eight years later

Name your favourite building in the world?

The Colosseum in Rome. It never ceases to amaze me how it was built and what happened there!

Which famous building do you most dislike?

Trump Tower in New York – ugly and ostentatious.

Burj Khalifa in downtown in Dubai

Source: Shutterstock

With a total height including its antenna of 829.8m, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. It was completed in 2009 and opened in January 2010

Which famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai. What an engineering triumph. The original World Trade Center in New York would have been good too.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in your profession?

Be positive and inspiring and never worry about asking lots of questions. This is an industry that values hard work and creativity and you can achieve great things by applying these principles.

Andy Hill Hill Group

Most admired: Andy Hill is founder and chief executive of the UK’s third-biggest privately owned developer

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

Andy Hill, the founder and leader of the housebuilder Hill.

What is it like being you (and doing your job)?

I am very lucky to be happy in my work and find new challenges stimulating and exciting. The great thing about construction is that it mostly attracts grounded people and common sense.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Work hard, play hard.

What do you think your best quality is?

I am told it is my enthusiasm!

What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

For myself it would be my occasional defensiveness and in other people it is self-interest.

Name three things that you like

My family, friendships and the great outdoors.

Tell us about a secret skill that we don’t know you have

I am learning to fly gyrocopters.

What is your most prized possession?

The watch I treated myself to, all those years ago, as a reward for becoming a chartered builder.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird.

What is your favourite food?


What would your superpower be?

I would love to have the power to see into the future and bring lessons back to improve the present.