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Senior Team Spotlight – Robert McQueen, Project Director, Soben Consulting UK & Europe

17th March 2022

Robert McQueen is Project Director for Soben Consultancy, UK & Europe. Here Robert shares an insight a day in his new role, what first attracted him to working in the construction industry, and his predictions and aspirations for the sector and Soben as a business.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are extremely varied as we look to establish and shape the future of the Consultancy offering in UK & Europe. My days are split between time in the East Kilbride office, visits to site, visiting our team who are in various locations, and time working from home. My typical day starts at 6am, with a shout of ‘Daddy’ from my 2-year-old Arran as my alarm clock. My 4-year-old Louis follows us up not long after. I’ll usually get them sorted with breakfast and entertained with Encanto and get myself showered and ready for the day. I usually set-off at 7.30am, arriving to the office just before 8am.

My first task is to look ahead at the day, looking at my calendar and emails. The working day can take any shape from there but is usually a mix of Teams calls with clients, design teams, our consultancy team, and the Senior Leadership Team. I usually leave the office at 5.30pm and get home around 5.50pm. From there it’s usually cooking dinner and we always try to eat together as a family as much as we can. From there it’s a little bit of play and time to get the boys in the bath then off to bed. That then gives me a chance to open my laptop and do a bit of planning for the next day, squeeze in a bit of exercise then relaxing in front of Netflix before bed at 10pm and get ready to do it all again.

What first attracted you to the construction industry?

My dad was an electrician by trade and worked on BMS systems so I spent a lot of time as a child in plantrooms with him. I really enjoyed it mainly because we got to travel to some interesting places like RAF bases and I always had an interest from there. When my dreams of being a professional football player started to diminish, I knew I had to look at an alternative career plan. I went to the University of Strathclyde to study Architecture but lasted only a year as I felt I didn’t have enough artistic skills to continue. I then stumbled across Quantity Surveying as an option and I was really attracted to the opportunity to study the course part-time gaining real-time job experience whilst I studied.

What are your predictions for the construction industry over the next 12-18 months?

We have gone through an extremely difficult and tumultuous period but that does not show signs of changing any time soon. We are seeing increased tender prices with material prices continuing to grow, material shortages still continue and labour shortages likely to be the next big challenge we all face. In amongst all the uncertainty, the market continues to be busy and I see that trend continuing over the short-term. We are seeing real growth in Industrial, Technology, Manufacturing, Energy and Hospitality sectors.

The big focus on sustainability will remain as clients look to new build and existing estates to reach the energy targets set. We are looking at how we respond with PassivHaus, NetZero and Embodied Carbon being our central focus.

What are your goals for Soben in that time?

We have really ambitious growth plans and targets. I would really like that growth to be as organic as possible through development with our existing clients recognising our excellent service and the commitment to our partnership with them. We have some really strong experience in some exciting growth sectors and I am keen we capitalise on that and bring in some new key clients who fit our profile and who we are proud to work alongside.

Beyond that I really want to help develop the talented team we have and make sure that Soben is a place that people love their work, feel supported, challenged and together. That will be really important as the team begins to grow across a broad geography.

 

What career advice would you give your younger self?

To be more patient. I was always pushing for more responsibility, and wanting things to happen immediately. Ultimately a career  takes time to naturally grow and it is fine to sometimes slow down, enjoy the journey and appreciate you still have a lot to learn. If you keep doing the small things right everyday, eventually it will all pay-off.

To find out more about Soben Consultancy UK & Europe get in touch with Robert at [email protected]

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