Having joined Knowles in 2021 as a Graduate Assistant Quantity Surveyor, we are pleased to share the promotion of Chris Woods as Quantity Surveyor.
Over the last two years at Knowles, Chris has gone from strength to strength, taking every opportunity available to gain a good exposure to a variety of different fields within surveying. Since starting out as a graduate, Chris threw himself in to his role at a site level looking to understand the fundamentals and processes on site, working closely alongside some of our Senior Quantity Surveyors. Opting to stay on site rather than in the office has enabled him to grasp and excel in the full lifecycle of a project.
Showcasing his ability to manage projects from a commercial aspect, Chris has managed both smaller level structural projects as well as being an integral member of the commercial team in some of our main contractor projects (structural and fit out) providing him with the opportunity to hone his skills in both sides of the prime residential sector.
Chris is always willing to get involved in any task, and his manner and ability to read site situations is that of somebody with many more years’ experience than he has.
Pat Kilbane, Commercial Director
We sat down with Chris Woods to reflect on his career so far at Knowles:
What attracted you to a career in Quantity Surveying?
I initially wanted to become an accountant based upon my enjoyment of crunching numbers and being involved in the management of funds. However, I found a short while into my accountancy course that it wasn’t for me, and I desired something that had a financial element to it but also a practical side to complement it. I then discovered Quantity Surveying, and knew after a short time researching the role, that it would be the profession for me.
What skills do you feel are necessary as a quantity surveyor? How did your education prepare you for your professional career?
I believe that good communication and maintaining good relationships with your colleagues, subcontractors and the client team is very important as a Quantity Surveyor. Being a team player and having a strong work ethic is essential to deliver what is required and is in the best interest of delivering a successful project. Being open to learning and listening to experienced peers is especially important when it comes to the methodology of build and what’s involved on site to enable sufficient pricing.
Other key skills include being aware and conscious of financial exposure in order to limit the level of risk associated to a project, alongside having good attention to detail, and possessing the ability to have an effective oversight of the financial position the project you are working on is in and where it will likely end up whilst taking into consideration live changes to the job and respective circumstances.
My studies prepared me with a lot of case law studies of JCT contracts which assisted me in realising the importance of issuing/receiving contractual documents within their respective timeframes from parties involved in the works. It taught me how to take off which is integral to what I do on a day-to-day basis and helped me to understand the stages of construction from preconstruction to final handover and the works/information available and actions required at each stage.
Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self?
Network at every opportunity – Form relations in your chosen industry as early as you can, reach out and request if there are any opportunities be it work experience etc.
Educate yourself in your chosen field – Education is key once you are aware of your intended career path, aim to gain as much knowledge as you can from speaking/working with experienced people in the industry and from your studies/ what you can source in the library and online.
What have you learnt throughout your career thus far?
Over the past two years I feel like I have successfully learnt how to be involved in the commercial management of high-end residential project delivery. This is mainly by:
- Reading and pricing drawings/instructions
- Monthly reporting of cost value reconciliations and performance.
- Procurement of subcontractor packages/works
- Understanding the clients requests and working to realise them.
- Tender analysis and presentation
What projects are you currently working on at Knowles?
I am currently working across three of Knowles’ new super-prime schemes, two of which are located in one of the most prestigious roads in in St Johns Wood, Avenue Road, and the other on an exclusive road in Wimbledon.
All three projects are large scale, private residential schemes, that feature double depth basement levels which span the entire footprint of the properties. The projects have been full scope packages, allowing me to have been involved in the project from concept to completion. It has been exciting to work across all phases of the projects and understand what is required at these different stages.