I was exposed to the construction industry from a very young age and I loved it. My stepfather ran a road construction business in New Zealand and I used to tag along in the school holidays. I was quite happy to get stuck into the manual labour next to the guys and drive rollers on the road.
Since then, I’ve always been fascinated by construction – not just the aesthetics of a building, but the materials and the people too. The construction industry involves a really diverse range of fascinating and remarkable people and I love working with them.
Being a woman in this business can be a challenge at times, despite how much value we bring to the industry. I’ve had to develop a certain resilience, but it’s changing which is good to see.
Since I moved to London six years ago, I’m onsite as often as possible. My most recent project was Brown’s Hotel, which took me onsite five days a week, working alongside the client and the constructor. Being a Kiwi, it’s in my nature to muck in and help get things done.
“The hotel and leisure industry is very exciting because it’s constantly evolving and everyone takes real pride in their product.”
Our company has worked with Brown’s Hotel for several years now and this latest project was huge: four different phases at once, with bold, brilliant designs, a high-spec finish and a client who pays great attention to detail. It was particularly challenging because it was a ‘live’ hotel where five-star standards had to be maintained. Brown’s is just one of those unique, exceptional places.
In fact, the hotel and leisure industry as a whole is very exciting because it’s constantly evolving and everyone takes real pride in their product. It feels fantastic to build a space for guests that is both technologically progressive but also deeply relaxing.
These days, hotel guests want to stay somewhere unique, sustainable and community-focused. The life cycle of hotels is getting shorter too: that means cost-effective solutions and regular refurbs to keep the brand fresh. There’s more emphasis on in-room technology now – pre-ordering food, smart rooms, better Building Management Systems to aid energy efficiency – which helps to drive up hotels’ profit.