This is the first in a series of Q&A interviews delving deeper into the talented teams that make up Pexhurst. Here Andy Ash, Kevin O’Malley and Avi Daswani of the estimating team talk about the tools they use day-to-day, team collaboration and the challenges presented as a result of COVID-19.
What technology do you use to pull together your research and client quotes?
Andy: There are so many options for tools, technology and platforms to help us do our jobs, everything from Microsoft Word to Excel and Project. But for me personally, the best tool is the knowledge I’ve gained through my many years in the industry.
Kevin: I completely agree, while I do use the web for research I find that the best way to gather knowledge is by using the good old method of picking up the phone and learning from experts first-hand.
Avi: Technology wise,I use tools like AutoCAD and SketchUp for measuring purposes. With these I can do everything on the computer, avoid printing drawings in larger formats and ultimately ensure more accurate measures.
How do you assess risk?
Andy: Risks come in different forms, most health and safety and logistical issues are guided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Any health and safety risks, for example working at height, are considered in the costs.
Kevin: We also look at the commercial and supply chain risks by factoring in programming, resources and financial implications.
Avi: And now with the onset of COVID-19, a key consideration is how social distancing can be maintained and how site operatives can safely access the site.
Which other teams do you work with closely?
Andy: We work with many teams, it’s a very collaborative effort!
Avi: It definitely is - we work together with our in-house buying team, contracts managers, subcontractors, consultants and even the clients directly.
Kevin: Yes, and to provide a bit more insight - the buying team pulls together materials and plant quotes for the tenders, while the contracts team provide us with some information on the subcontractors performance who may have carried out specialist work for us in the past.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you work?
Andy: We definitely came up against some difficulties at the beginning of lockdown, but within a few weeks the supply chain was back up and running and it was business as usual. The main issue for me was completing site visits as site tenants were reluctant to allow us access. Also, managing subcontractors on site while making sure to adhere to social distancing guidelines proved challenging.
Kevin: As was getting everything carried out in one visit. But from a personal point of view, I found working from home and doing online meetings freed up a lot of time which I would normally spend travelling.
Avi: Agreed. I also found that working from a smaller space was not the easiest but still manageable! And because we were fortunate to have had the tools and technology already in place to be able to work from anywhere in the world, it didn’t feel too disruptive.
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