Andrew Hart (left) Michael Johnson (right).
In your view, what is the most important role for a quantity surveyor on a project?
Michael: To be a true advisor: Giving honest and genuine advice for a great result.
Andrew: The advisory side; reducing risk and creating more value.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen within the industry in the past 5 years?
Michael: Budgets are tighter and clients are seeing a lot more value in what we do. They’re getting us on board earlier in the process and asking us to help with forecasting and controlling costs during design development. I also think technology has had both a positive and negative impact. Work wise it is making us more efficient, however family wise we are increasingly expected to be accessible 24/7.
Andrew: There has definitely been a shift away from Bills of Quantity measurement to the ASMM5 method. I believe this may be attributable to the GFC and the demise of Project Services and major Government run projects.
How would your peers describe you in three words or less?
Michael: Humble! Ha..ha.. maybe not.
Andrew: What? That’s a hard one. I have no idea!
Describe your typical day
Michael: I wake up at 5.00 am to spend quality time with my kids. I give them breakfast and help them get ready for school. I leave home at 6.30 am and arrive in the office around 7.30 am. As soon as I arrive I grab a much-needed coffee and then check my emails and take care of urgent requests until 8.00 am. I then work throughout the day on whatever project is my top priority at the time. I tend to have longer duration projects. This could be client-side commercial management on road infrastructure or measurement for legal claims on rail works. I knock off anytime between 5.00-7.00 pm, then home for dinner.
Andrew: My day’s a bit different. I don’t usually see my kids in the morning; everyone is still asleep when I leave the house around 7.00 am. I arrive at work by 7.15 am, grab a quick coffee, and then plan my day. From 8.00 am I can be working on anything from superintendency tasks on a retail job to value management on a commercial project. Unlike Michael, I often work on three different jobs before lunch time. I also head out to site visits, client or consultant meetings throughout the day. I try to be home for dinner with my family at 6.00 pm and sometimes head back into the office later for a couple of hours of quality catch-up time.
If you could relive one work day, what would it be?
Michael: Do you mean annual leave days and the Christmas party? No seriously, I think it’s the days I come back to GRC after being on secondment. It definitely feels like coming home.
Andrew: When I spend a lot of time and effort making a project stack and it delivers a great result for our client. Always a good day.
If you could forecast the future, what would the year 2066 look like (50 years’ time)?
Michael: I don’t think the industry will change much. Structures will still be steel and concrete with the need for somebody to build them. I think there will still be a demand for natural products such as timber and stone finishes, much like today. Of course, technology will have an impact but fundamentally I think the industry will be the same.
Andrew: I agree with Michael in some aspects. I think technology will have a big impact. For example, the process of building a commercial tower will be different but the physical result will be similar. There may be more prefabrication of buildings, but you will still need form workers and cranes to build. I believe we may experience materials shortages. From a quantity surveying perspective, I think the profession will naturally evolve. Some of our services will disappear and we will likely take on other roles.
After 5 years, what keeps you at GRC?
Michael: The good variety of work, mateship culture, working with a great team committed to getting quality results and very little internal politics. Put simply, an enjoyable place to work every day.
Andrew: Well, as a partner in the business I’m obviously committed to its current and future success. I joined GRC because of its potential and great culture. I could see the business was going places and it has. We’ve significantly expanded our services and the type and location of our projects. Every day is different. One day we’ll be working on a hospital project in remote Queensland. The next day we’ll be working on an infrastructure project in New Zealand. It’s definitely not boring.