James (Jim) Tucker is Director, Industry Consultancy for Soben EMEA. Here, James gives an insight into a typical, or not so typical, day in his role, and shares his predictions for the construction industry over the next 12-18 months.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It may be a cliché, but here really isn’t a typical day. I’m an early riser so you will often find me logged in anywhere from 6:30am scanning e-mails to understand the needs, wants and any potential issues for the day ahead. These could be anything from a speculative work enquiry to a pre or post contract problem on a current project, or even just being an ear for someone who needs to talk.
I tend to be as organised as I can, so I try to plan my week to best manage my time however, as with all best laid plans, unexpected calls and e-mails often arrive and its being able to respond and manage these that makes for an interesting day.
Queries and requests from the team are at the top of my list. Their wellbeing is my main consideration.
What first attracted you to the construction industry?
My father was an architect and in his spare time he undertook DIY jobs around the house. The technical aspect always fascinated me, and it all started from there. The great thing about construction is the feeling of achievement for a job well done, especially in the infrastructure sector where you can work on some truly inspirational projects that often seek to improve our environment and way of life.
I am also fully committed to our building heritage. I live in a Grade II listed cottage which keeps my wife and I busy most weekends ensuring that future generations can also appreciate and enjoy what we are fortunate enough to appreciate today.
What are your predictions for the construction industry over the next 12-18 months?
We are indeed in unchartered territory, or rather we were. Confidence seems to be returning and projects that were shelved are now being procured / constructed. I see the construction industry at the forefront of our recovery, with infrastructure leading the way. Indeed, early data shows that civil engineering has enjoyed its steepest pace of growth since 2014.
Notwithstanding day-to-day requirements (i.e. water, electricity and gas), the transport sector (i.e. rail, highways etc.) is also offering a strong order book along with tech industries (data centres), and renewable energy, which is uplifting news for the construction industry as a whole.
However, it is also fair to say that some industries have been hit harder than others, for example the air sector, but I am sure that they will also respond positively to the roll out of the vaccinations and the re-opening of our borders.
The economy continues to rebound, and construction is leading the way.
What are your goals for Soben in that time?
I am passionate about infrastructure, especially utilities. My goals are to not only lay the foundations for an infrastructure team, but to also start out on the path that realises this goal.
What have been your defining career moments?
Notwithstanding the impressive and inspiring projects that I have had the pleasure to work on in the utility, air, and rail sectors, I suppose my move from contracting to consulting sticks in my mind the most.
This was the catalyst in working towards and achieving my professional qualification/s which in turn allowed access to the teams at the RICS and CIOB where I forged new friendships and professional contacts. The pinnacle being appointed as a Trustee of the CIOB.
If you were not in construction, what path would your career have taken?
I have had and retain an attraction for all things military and militia so I suppose a career in the Army would have beckoned.