Laura Lees

"I was very fortunate to have an excellent female senior surveyor as my line manager... that was a great role model and inspiration for me."

ISG: What does a normal day typically look like for you?
Laura: I’m currently working between our site at Heathrow Terminal 3 (a fit out of the Qantas departure lounge) and our offices in Bristol and London. My day ordinarily includes a walk around site, often with a sub-contractor or the project team, reviewing progress and the quality of works. I also spend time liaising between the client and sub-contractors, discussing and administering change, payments and updating the business as to our current and forthcoming commercial position.

Can you share your career journey so far?
I studied a Quantity Surveying & Commercial Management degree at UWE Bristol, which is where I first met Pearce Construction before it was acquired by ISG, when considering employers for my placement year. I joined Pearce as an assistant QS and quickly changed my degree structure to complete the remainder part-time, before landing a permanent role and most importantly (at the time) a permanent salary! I completed an MSc in Construction Law, while progressing as a Junior Quantity Surveyor within ISG’s Bristol Retail team. Since then, I’ve worked on a variety of contracts ranging from £200,000 pure retail fit outs to £20m construction and retail combined contracts. Eventually, I found my way to the London hospitality and leisure sector, where I’m enjoying the challenge of a variety of high end, detailed clients on varied main contract appointments.

You’ve been with ISG since the start of your career! What was the skillset you had that attracted to the industry?
During secondary school I enjoyed studying business and maths, and although I was pointed into the direction of accounting roles, I wanted to undertake something a bit more varied. I initially looked at a career in engineering before reviewing the idea of quantity surveying and running with it from there! I grew up in South-West Wales, so it wasn’t an overly popular career choice within the area, but I think this made the job, and associated industry, a little more interesting to me.

Can you share some of the benefits and perks of working in construction?
While it sounds a tad cliché, the variety of people you continually meet and work alongside, due to the nature of the industry, means you are constantly learning and progressing in your role.

Did you have any concerns/reservations about the industry as a woman, and how have they changed since being in the position?
No, I think you need to be confident and fair in your approach, as with any role in a demanding industry, albeit I was very fortunate to have an excellent female senior surveyor as my line manager when I started out, so that was a great role model and inspiration for me.

Has there been any pleasant surprises?
The feeling of being part of a great and wider team, has been a really pleasant surprise. One I didn’t really expect when studying my degree, purely working on Quantity Surveying principles and practises. But you are obviously never working alone or in isolation, and have excellent support, enthusiasm and motivation all around.