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In the second instalment of our new series, we hear from Commercial Manager Claire Sinclair, about her experience of life in the construction industry…

What is your name and job title?

Claire Sinclair, Commercial Manager

How do you typically start your day?

I get up very early – my alarm goes off at 4.45am most days. I live in Southsea, Portsmouth, so the commute into London takes a while. The early mornings are worth it though; I could never live anywhere not by the sea. I love hearing the first hovercraft in the morning and the noise of the seagulls. Sometimes I can hear the foghorns sounding – it’s a good indication of what the weather will be like that day!

What does a typical day look like?

At least one day a week I work in our Egham office, and I usually use that time to catch up on my paperwork. It’s also a really nice opportunity to see the rest of the office-based Area team. The remainder of the week I am on site with various projects in and around London. 

What are your main duties?

My role as Commercial Manager involves many aspects; I QS (quantity survey) several of my own projects, and I’m responsible for the procurement of the packages, managing our subcontractors accounts and all financial aspects of the project, including getting Cube paid our monthly valuations and all our variations and therefore maximising our profit margins. 

I manage our Assistant Quantity Surveyor, Shannon Ogunniya, and also act as a mentor to our intern, Kasey Hart. I would say that 99% of the people I meet on site are men, and construction as a whole is a very male-dominated industry, so I am really enjoying the opportunity to work closely with two young women who are just starting out in their careers.

I’ve worked in the industry since 1999 and things haven’t really changed as much as you’d think in terms of gender equality. Sometimes you may see a female plumber or architect on site, but it’s not very common. 

Working at Area is great because they are really trying to make headway with this; we have female QSs and Project Managers who are all excellent at their jobs and wonderful to work with.

What is it like working with the Area team?

Area are a really great bunch, and you can tell that just by walking into the Egham office. Everyone is happy to be there; there is always banter going on and that feeling of teamwork.

What are your clients like to work with?

I work very closely with our clients; a major part of my role is client-facing with regular progress meetings to make sure the projects are going well. We work with a wide variety of clients, which I enjoy because it keeps things interesting!

How do you like to unwind after a hard day?

I take my dogs for a walk, and if the weather’s nice I like to go for a run. I enjoy a nice glass of wine and socialising with friends, and I love being by the beach – it’s the perfect place to relax!A day in the life of… Claire Sinclair

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