Transitioning from a career in Civil Engineering contracting to Project Management consultancy

Andreas Panourgias
Making the move from site engineering to project management

My passion and motivation for a career within the construction industry began at an early age; attending a vocational school where construction modules were offered, taught by industry professionals. I took the decision to read Civil Engineering at the University of Nottingham, declining my place to study at the Institute of Technology and Science in Greece, because of the associated prestige of studying in the UK and what I felt, where the opportunities this would lead to. At the beginning of my academic career I attained my BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering, followed by an MSc in Civil Engineering as well as the achievement of the APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ).

I always believed that good knowledge within the construction industry is realised by being involved in the heart of the construction, the construction phase itself. 

Upon graduating in 2008, I began my career as a Site Engineer for a marine project in Libya, for a high calibre European civil engineering contractor, where my job role and responsibilities where enormously variable. I always believed that good knowledge within the construction industry is realised by being involved in the heart of the construction, the construction phase itself. However, the political instability in Libya, in February 2011, forced both my colleagues and myself to abandon our jobs and the project. This position was followed by my appointment as Assistant Site Manager for a Civil Engineering contractor in Cyprus, working on both private and public-sector projects.

Throughout my site engineering career, the role displayed itself to me as multifaceted; monitoring construction progress, personnel productivity and compliance with building requirements and regulations. This coupled with deciding on the most economic construction methods, offering the highest quality of work and delivering on time. It became apparent to me that an engineer needs to have good project management skills, in order to be successful. Site engineers find themselves in projects as team members, determining the scheduling of different phases of a project on established deadlines, often negotiating contracts with architects, contractors and other key project stakeholders. I found the consideration of the Project Management Triangle and general project management procedures and practices was imperative in providing a good service and satisfying the unique requirement of the project and its stakeholders. With almost five years of work experience as site engineer and with good knowledge on the construction processes tucked safely beneath my belt, I decided to further develop my project management skills. I changed my career path from contracting to consulting.

As a project manager you can find yourself working throughout the whole project-life cycle. You are truly being given the opportunity to work on the project from commencement to completion. 

I find it challenging as well as exciting the fact that project management enables you to work on a project and being involved from its commencement to completion, something that a career in civil engineering does not offer. As a site engineer you usually find yourself being involved on the construction phase of the project and as a designer, on the design development stage only. However, as a Project Manager you can find yourself working throughout the whole project life-cycle. From concept, definition and development up to the handover and closure stage. You are truly being given the opportunity to work on the project from inception, and to see it serving the occupiers needs, as intended, after completion.

Civil engineers are considered to be practical and analytical thinkers, qualities that within a project management environment are harnessed and celebrated. I believe they enable you to acquire an excellent approach into management and business procedures by applying your technical and problem-solving ability at day to day matters, delivering projects on time, within budget and to the desired quality. This combination of Civil Engineering and Project Management offers a firm grounding across the breadth of the construction industry, with a focus on the unique project management challenges posed by major building and infrastructure development.

Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has helped me to expand my creativity and to succeed as a professional within the project management division. 

Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has offered me the opportunity to work in an integrated, dynamic and successful global management, engineering and development consultancy. It has helped me to expand my creativity and to succeed as a professional within the project management division, by allowing me to use my civil engineering background and apply project management techniques. If you are interested to join a great company to work for, then the perfect platform is Faithful+Gould.

 

 

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