As the first point of contact for many of our clients, Tim Sayer is central to ensuring those who work with us are well looked after from day one.
We sat down for a quick chat with Tim to discuss his long-spanning career in the building industry and the joys and challenges of his role at A.W. Hardy.
How did you start out in the building sector?
My first job was at a very large contractor, French Kier. There, I trained as a Quantity Surveyor. After I’d finished my training, I veered into estimating with a local company, and I’ve stuck with that ever since!
I realised I preferred being an Estimator because it’s much easier to compartmentalise what I do. I’ll be working on a job for a set amount of time, then I’ll be able to hand it over to our Quantity Surveyor and Contracts Manager, who will take on the responsibility from there. Of course, I’ll always be around to answer questions and support the rest of the team if they need me – but I like being able to move on to the next project with a clear head.
What are the most challenging things about your role?
Because of many external factors, sometimes it can be almost impossible to foresee and programme estimating workload and to know in advance where our teams may be at any given time. Something outside of our control will either slow the tender invitation process or the change the current building works and we will need to reassess.
However, we can only do our best with the information we have and be as flexible as possible. I certainly always try to be helpful, not pedantic!
How has the industry changed since you began your career?
One of the biggest shifts I’ve seen is that main contractors such as ourselves are passed much more liability than previously, particularly on the design side. Frequently, the project information will come through, and we will need to join many of the dots and make sure all design elements are accounted for. This is a big step change, especially at the estimating stage. We have to build a more complete picture of what’s involved to be able to put a cost to it.
I’ve also noticed that the quality of the information we receive at tender stage has decreased a lot since I first qualified, while the quantity of information sent at tender has increased! There’s much more to work with, but equally, it’s our job to spot holes in the details and iron out any conflicts so we can deliver the best results.
You’ve been with us since 2011. What do you enjoy the most about working at A.W. Hardy?
Definitely the collaborative process we have in-house. I have always been able to speak to others and get their insights. You’re never left out on a limb – there are always opportunities to discuss things and work things through, and more than likely, somebody else will have tackled the same issue beforehand.
There’s always been an element of this within the companies I’ve worked for, but it’s something I have specifically noticed about Hardy’s. I also like the fact that the office is local to my home in Shoeburyness, so I don’t need to travel too much on a daily basis.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
My three married children and nine grandchildren keep me busy! I’m an active member of my local Baptist church, and I do what I can to keep fit by swimming or jogging every other day. I like to carry out a fair bit of DIY around the house, so I can put into practice some of the things I see at work – it doesn’t always go to plan, though. I’m enjoying bowls as I head towards retirement. And I suppose I must also mention my allegiance to Chelsea football club.
Looking to the future, what’s your next goal?
I’m approaching retirement age, so it won’t be too long until I can hang up my scale ruler, as they say. Until then, I will continue to help the team get projects to the drawing board and then on to site.