Katie Puckett went to Building’s Birmingham bash last week and survived to tell the tale.
Birmingham’s young construction professionals were out en masse last Thursday at the latest of Building’s Phase One networking parties. More than 100 crammed into trendy venue The Custard Factory to meet their peers, enjoy a drink or two and hear from a few local heroes.
First up was QS legend David Bucknall, on exuberant form and overjoyed to see so many of his successors in one place. He had some advice for the crowd too. “There’s a huge emphasis on becoming technically excellent and that is pretty important. But the main thing the industry is looking for now is not to be the same old, same old.”
At the other end of his career, 29-year-old Neil Edginton told the curious audience how he’d come to set up BuildAbility, the contractor that’s building the £75m Cube development in the city. Did he always want to set up his own firm, someone asked. “I always wanted to do something different. I had no ambition at all to set up a contractor but I’m really pleased we’ve done it.”
Someone else wanted to know how to command respect when you are so young. “I don’t know, I’ll let you know when I’ve commanded it …”
"We get to meet people in the construction industry every day but only contractors. Meeting other disciplines
is interesting. And there's a free bar …"
Paul Swarbrick, architect
"I love Birmingham, there’s a lot happening at the moment, loads of new development – it’s moved on from the place it used to be in the mid-nineties"
Sam Clark , surveyor
"It’s meeting people in a different setting. Usually we’re on site, but here you’re having a few drinks"
Steve Ayling, architectural technician
"It's a good opportunity to meet people who do other jobs. Faithful + Gould do quantity surveying and project management, but here we’re meeting engineers and architects"
Victoria Sirett, project manager
"This is the first event like this we've been to. I've got a law degree, and I've experienced this sort of thing in other industries, but this is the only thing like it in construction."
Alex Housden, QS
Phase One was sponsored by EC Harris, Thomas Vale, Shepherd Construction, Nottingham Trent University, BuildAbility, Ryder and Mace.