Perfect Circle’s regional lead for the central Midlands has worked around the globe as both a contractor and a consultant. He plays touch rugby for England and explains why better never stops

Matt Hall - Perfect Circle

Matt Hall, Perfect Circle’s regional lead for the central Midlands

What has been your biggest career challenge?

I would say that moving from the UK to New Zealand, then to Australia, then back to the UK was one of the biggest challenges I have had to face so far, along with working on both the contractor and consultant side of projects throughout my career. 

However, both of these challenges have helped me to broaden my experience when it comes to dealing with difficult circumstances – and for that I am grateful. 

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

Choosing one thing is not easy because I feel like the industry needs to evolve in many ways, one of them being that it needs to start looking to the future and moving away from traditional methods of delivery.

Evolution of how we enter contractual agreements with clients, how work is costed, risk ownership and share, how stakeholders are engaged and how buildings are delivered is required so that we can continue to adapt and progress as an industry.

The construction industry needs to be more versatile and, if covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that, when forced, we can embrace change quickly. We need to remember how adaptable we have been and build on that momentum.

Why did you choose construction as a career?

It is in my genes. My father ran his own small construction business, my older brother is an architect and my younger brother is a builder and bespoke joiner. So I don’t feel like I really chose the construction industry, more like the industry chose me.  

What are you most proud of working on?

I have worked on so many amazing projects but the one that stands out the most to me is The Sir Edmund Hilary Alpine Centre and Planetarium at Mount Cook, New Zealand. This stunning homage to Sir Edmund Hilary sits alongside a moving 360-degree digital dome planetarium and was built in a remote location at the feet of Mount Cook during winter. Being part of the construction process that took place throughout a harsh New Zealand winter in the mountains was incredible and it is something I will never forget.

Most helpful advice you were given?

When I was a snowboarding instructor in the USA the company I worked for always emphasised the importance of the last 5% – so your final interaction with a customer or your final actions on a project. Customers always remember that last 5% so I think it is really important to plan the completion, finish strong and leave the customer with a positive feeling to make sure they walk away with a smile.  


Matt’s favourite building in the world

What is your favourite building in the world?

The Sydney Opera House. For me, it is a symbol of positive, sunny memories and Australian culture. It was also a catastrophic failure in terms of budget and programme, which helps to remind me that perseverance can help to achieve amazing outcomes.  

What do you think your best quality is?

The ability to sit back, listen, observe, digest and consider all the relevant information before acting upon it. I like to carefully assess and understand all angles so I can be measured in my response. 

This works alongside my positive can-do attitude, where I always see my glass as half full – although some might say this is not such a good quality as I should be more impulsive and decisive.  

What trait do you most dislike in yourself?

Self-judgment and the expectations I place on myself. I am not content with complacency and I do not accept personal failure well.

And in other people?

Pessimism. You should never write something off - there is always opportunity to turn a situation around. Just take stock and plan a route through the challenge

What advice would you give to a starter in your profession?

This links to my pet hate of pessimism. I would tell them to never stand at the bottom of a hill, drop your head, sigh and say “I’m never going to make it”. Instead, look a metre ahead and tell yourself you can get there. And, once you do get there, look ahead another two metres. It is achievable. Smile, embrace the challenge and climb that mountain.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

I would have to say my dad. Having worked in construction from a young age, his work ethic and can-do attitude has seen him deliver projects quietly and relentlessly. His drive and passion to succeed means that he is constantly rewarded with repeat business and happy clients.  

What famous building do you wish you worked on?

The Lloyds Building in London. I studied this when I was at university and love the fact that it really pushed boundaries at the time it was built (1986) by using construction methods and building materials that were considered unusual during that period.

The eastern facade of Balfron Tower seen from the A12 in 2012

Erno Goldfinger’s Balfron Tower: the kind of Brutalist architecture that Matt most dislikes

Which famous building do you dislike?

Anything that is of the Brutalist architecture era, like Balfron Tower. To me, it is not aesthetically pleasing at all. 

Do you have a life philosophy?

While I have been playing touch rugby, I have learnt some mottos that the team live by, which include “better never stops” and “next job”. These two straplines mean a lot to me as they remind me that mistakes happen, and the key is to learn from them and use what you have learnt to become a better person.

Name three things you like

Staying fit and healthy, keeping busy both in and outside of work, traveling and exploring. 

What is a secret skill we don’t know you have?

I used to be a snowboard instructor in the US and New Zealand and now I play touch rugby for England. One of my biggest achievements was being captain of the England men’s 40s squad at the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2019. 

What is your most prized possession?

I don’t really have a prized possession, but if I was to be stranded somewhere, I would definitely want to take my trainers with me. I pack trainers wherever I visit because no matter how stressful my day has been, I can always put my trainers on and go for a run, which makes me feel like all is right with the world.  

Early bird or night owl?

Both. I love to get up and start the day with a run, but I also like to be the last man standing.

What is your favourite food?

A decent steak. I really enjoy a well-cooked, medium-rare steak that melts in the mouth. I do love chocolate too, so my ideal meal would be a nice steak followed by a warm chocolate brownie.

What would your superpower be?

Superhuman endurance, so the power to just keep going in everything I do, relentless in work and leisure. That way I could run further, work harder and longer than ever before and never stop. Better never stops.