The Joy of Placemaking

By Karina Williams
Sustainability Manager at British Land

08 Mar 2017

Recently, a group of students visiting our Clarges development asked about life as a woman in the construction industry. For me, the answer is that I love my job! I enjoy the variety it involves and, even though construction is quite male dominated, it offers great opportunities for everyone, female or male.

Here are my top things about life in construction:

1. Watching a building rise out of the ground – it’s inspiring. I feel proud when I see buildings developed by British Land, knowing that I’ve played a part. Like 5 Broadgate, where there was a massive team effort to achieve FSC project accreditation, certifying that every single piece of timber came from well managed forests. 

2. The intricate detail that goes into a build, the planning and logistics, involving big teams of architects, designers, engineers, quantity surveyors, carpenters, plumbers, plasterers, project managers, electricians and people looking after environmental improvements, community engagement, wellbeing and more.

3. The innovative ideas that people come up with. Opposite where I live, there’s a scheme that’s got a cantilevered mezzanine across two levels. It’s incredible how such a huge structure is engineered in such a way to create the illusion that it’s floating. Even seemingly simple rectangular buildings can encompass a whole load of innovative ideas.

4. Being around people who construct buildings. Whether you’re working with contractors on small scale projects or teams for massive schemes in the City, there’s something fun being around people who build – they make things happen. 

Why construction needs to attract more young people

A diverse workforce tends to be a stronger one, introducing innovations, generating interesting ideas and creating a positive team atmosphere. However, construction needs to do more to raise awareness of the different roles, reaching out to young students now to show them how many opportunities are out there. 

British Land is encouraging women and men of all backgrounds to consider careers in construction, through initiatives like the Construction Youth Trust’s Budding Brunels programme. We also helped Reading Real Estate Foundation get its Pathways to Property free summer school off the ground and we’re supporting the Urban Land Institute’s UrbanPlan UK.

More still needs to be done though. Students today are so connected to technology, perhaps there are opportunities there to capture their interest, raising awareness of tech-based jobs in construction, like Digital Engineering, Building Information Modelling and Building Management Systems.

A final note

If I was to say anything to anyone considering a career in construction, it would be ‘go for it’. There are so many roles available in construction now, you can fulfil any of your professional dreams.

Read a blog on women's roles in construction by Faye Young of SCS Group at 4 Kingdom Street here.

The thoughts and opinions expressed above are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent the views of British Land or other employees of the company. For further details of relevant legal terms and conditions, including those relating to information you provide to us in the comments below, please refer to the Website Terms and Conditions.

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