In the spotlight this month is our proposals manager, Ian Rains, who reveals what skills are needed for his varied role, why he chose a career in construction, and what he likes most about working for Diamond Build Group.

Can you describe a typical day?

Each day, I’ll review the deadline list of all the works and update as and when opportunities come in. The team has access to this, ensuring they remain on top of the works and that each bid, SQ or PQQ is completed and returned on time.

Part of my day is taken up with tender settlements and reviews, and I make sure that what we’ve put forward is what’s been priced. I’ll also review return documents prior to them being submitted and check the portals to see if there are  any  additional questions that need answering.

Throughout the week, I’ll meet with each of the divisional directors, bringing them up to date on the works we’re undertaking and getting buy-in from the operational teams that will be responsible for delivery. This also allows us to capture any additional information that can help the bid team.

At the beginning of the week, we always hold a Monday morning catch-up meeting, so that everyone knows the works that are due that week and to make sure no-one is over stretched or stressed. We also hold a Friday afternoon wash-up to help prevent anyone going home with work to complete. If for some reason, this can’t be avoided, we work together to break it up and reduce the pressure, ensuring all our staff spend quality rest time with their families.

What skills / qualifications do you need to do your job?

I started my career as a draftsperson, did a degree in civil / structural engineering, and then worked as an engineer in an architectural practice. This has given me a very good understanding of the construction industry and buildings in general.

As a member of a bid team, it’s important that you’re good at English, have a methodical / inquisitive mind and can easily interact with people as you have to clearly and effectively describe to clients the work you’re going to be delivering.

You also have to interact with internal teams, suppliers and members of the client’s team to gain a thorough understanding of the works and how we can meet specific requirements. This requires good interpersonal skills.

When I first started my career, I was quite shy, but I’m much more confident now as this role means I regularly talk and communicate with people. These skills develop over time, especially as you gain a greater understanding of the construction industry.

What do you like most about working for Diamond Build Group?

Without doubt, the friendships and family feeling. This encourages everyone to work together in a non-adversary way. As part of the pre-construction team, we also hold regular social get togethers, which helps to create greater interaction and teamworking.

I value the fact that Diamond Build provides great development and training opportunities which are available to all. This enables everyone to progress and develop to their full potential, and be part of a progressive active team.

I’ve also been particularly impressed by the actions of the directors during the pandemic. Virtually all staff worked from home thanks to an efficient IT system and additional equipment being delivered to people’s homes if required, so they could continue their work. Since being able to return to the office, staggered working days have been introduced  along with stringent health and safety measures.

What attracted you to a career in construction?

At school, I was good at drawing and maths, and this led to me joining a structural engineering practice as a trainee, with day release at college. After a year, they sponsored me to go to university to do my engineering degree.

After gaining my degree, I was part of a team designing the structural alterations and refurbishment of a disused resident block in the heart of London. This then developed into designing new structures and alterations to existing buildings ranging from dockside warehouses to multi-storey offices. Now, when I walk around London, I’m amazed at the number of building I’ve been involved with either through design or refurbishment.

I’ve always enjoyed the intricacies of construction along with the innovations that are making buildings safer, more sustainable and future proofing them. Not every new building or refurbishment is the same and requires careful thought and planning, which makes the construction industry so interesting to work in.

What advice would you give to others considering a similar role?

Work methodically, rest well and play hard.

Work methodically and manage your time well. Gain an all-round knowledge of construction, keep up to date with the latest innovations and methods of working, and keep a record of answers.

Learn to work with others and gain a greater understanding of the works, whatever it may be. This will help you to progress, build relationships and your knowledge.

Rest well and have time away from work. You’ll always be thinking of it and how you could do things better, but don’t let it take over your life.

Play hard, and as with everything, be the best you can. Winning is not everything but competing to your best ability will shine through in your work.

This is a great industry with many opportunities. Consider what you want to achieve. I’m proud to tell my friends and family, I helped design or built that building as I walk around London.

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