Your Career, Globally: Construction Management–a Day in the Life

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We get it that sometimes it’s hard to know how your career and education could manifest itself over there. So today, we’re welcoming back a construction manager in East Africa with Engineering Ministries International (EMI) to give you a “day in the life” glimpse of how his career has transplanted.

Construction managers with EMI not only build buildings, but develops the men and women on their construction sites, who are regularly discipled (don’t miss this video about EMI’s incredible program). You might enjoy the author’s previous post on Go. Serve. Love: Does International Development Need God?

A typical day for me looks something like this:

07:30  I arrive on site, drop my bag in the site office, and join the crew to pray before they start work. Then it’s back to my office to reply to any emails that came in the evening before.

08:00  By now the site is up and running for the day so I take a walk around to check progress and chat to the foremen (Richard and Yusuf) and their assistant foremen who, while they aren’t EMI staff, are experienced workers who often join our projects.

09:00  I review the project accounting spreadsheet and make any adjustments to the forecasted costs. If it’s near the end of the month I will prepare a monthly report for our partner ministry. We make a lot of payments in cash, so keeping on top of accounting is key. I am ably supported in this by Cossy, our Construction Management Administrator.

10:00  It’s time for the workers’ morning porridge break, although I decline my cup. In the meantime I am on the phone to the sub-contractor who is supplying steel trusses. Their latest fabrication drawings need some technical feedback.

11:00  Back to finance again. Our ability to estimate the cost of projects relies on up to date information, so I collate some recent prices. I send them to our Quantity Surveyor in the main office.

12:00  One of our suppliers has dropped by the site office to deliver an invoice. I chat to him for a bit and check that he is happy with our payment system.

13:00  I join the workers on site for lunch—a carb and a sauce. My favourite is mashed matooke (plantain) with groundnut sauce!

Site office

Our rather luxurious site office (in a storeroom).

14:00  Once work is underway after lunch, I call my two foremen into an informal meeting in the site office. We discuss the tasks they have planned for the next few days.

15:00  I head out around site again, stopping to discuss a design detail with one of the foremen. Back in the office I send an email to the Project Architect to seek clarification on this aspect of the design.

16:00  The foremen have prepared their material purchasing requirements for the next week. I check how much cash we have on hand and put in a request to our partner ministry for more funds.

17:00  I’m off! As with most jobs these days, several emails have come in just as I get up to leave. But they will have to wait until tomorrow…



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