Initially I was attracted to Coulson Building Group for my year’s work placement due to the historic & vibrant city of Cambridge in which Coulson are based. It was during my interview where I found out more information about my placement at what it involved. One of the main things that stood out to me was that I would be splitting my time between pre-construction, surveying and site based management. This really appealed to me in order to gain a stronger all round knowledge of how a construction company works.
Initially I started off spending the first month or so in pre-construction department, where I spent time studying drawings and taking off items for the senior estimators. I occasionally visited sites with the contracts manager becoming more familiar with different sites. I gradually moved onto site where I spent the rest of my placement assisting a site manager.
The first site was the refurbishment of Cambridge Central Library. It was an interesting site as it was located in the heart of Cambridge above an indoor shopping centre. It had its challenges due to access and the different construction processes involved.
Next I was given a small job of my own to manage in one of the Cambridge university campuses. It was the refurbishment of a mezzanine level computer suite. I enjoyed being given the responsibility of managing my own site and knowing I had the support of my contracts manager on the phone or to visit site when required.
I finished off my placement assisting a site manager & senior surveyor on a large job refurbishing 49 self contained flats. This was the largest job I have worked on and I found the different processes and management of larger subcontractors more challenging. Here I was involved in on site surveying and checking subcontractors work and valuations as well as helping the site manager deliver.
The most memorable moment of my work placement was completing and handing over the 49 refurbished flats. It was quite a challenge at times, but was quite enjoyable seeing it through to the end, handing over on time and with a happy client.
To be successful in this placement you must be keen to learn and not be afraid to make decisions. Being new to the company you soon learn that to be successful you must be hard working and committed. However Coulsons isn’t always about work. The structure and set up of the company means that you see a large amount of staff on a daily basis and therefore it is sociable and can be fun at times. I would definitely recommend it to others due to the vast amount of learning opportunities available during the placement. The placement allows students to put in practice the theory previously learnt in university and also learn the practical aspects and challenges associated within the industry.
Jack rejoined Coulson after completing his degree and is currently employed in site management.
University: Leeds Metropolitan
Placement Year: 2009/10
Status: Now current employee