Focus on….Project Manager

Celebrating the breadth of jobs available in the construction industry we will be publishing a series of articles, each focusing on a different role. Today’s focus is on a project manager role.

Mike Miles is a project manager who has been with Beard since April 2014.

I asked him some questions about his career within construction.


How long have you been in the industry?

48 years


How did you get into construction?

I started with a six-year apprenticeship as an apprentice carpenter, the week after man first set foot on the moon, with a small high quality building contractor in Bath. Carpentry was the way forward to management back then.


What sort of things does your job entail?

It’s an early start as I live about 50 miles from the site I am currently on. Site gets opened up about 6.30am and the first thing on my list is to inspect the temporary works and propping, fence and scaffold, particularly if there have been high winds to check it is all safe.  I then fill in the reports before the workforce arrives.

Next on my list is likely to be any inductions for new starters, ensuring that they understand the Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMs) applicable to the site.

Then it’s time for paperwork, catching up on emails and responding. These might refer not only to the project you are currently on, but also projects that have been completed and projects that are coming up.  I also review any new drawings and raise any questions arising from these before signing them off to 4P, which is our project management software.

After that it is time for a walk around the site to check what is happening, going through any issues arising, reviewing quality and safety. Then I turn my attention to the materials that will be required on site in the next couple of months and order them.  I also record the weather in the site diary, review where we are on programme and carry out pre-lets with the Beard team.  A pre-let is a meeting with a potential contractor, where you sit down with them and review price, safety and works before signing them up to do the work, for example a ground worker or a roofer.

There are often meetings, either with the contractors or clients or a design meeting where we sit down with the design team, and possibly sometimes contractors and client to review the design, look at changes the client may want to introduce, review drawings and look at design problems or with the clients. I also produce progress reports for clients and write reports for CVR meetings; CVR meetings are where we check the job’s progress and discuss if there are any issues that need to be resolved.

Other things might arise such as contractors looking for information which may involve me liaising with the design team, H&S visits, where a Health and Safety Manager visits site and carries out an audit of safe working on site and paperwork and provides us with any updates on new procedures or SHEQ visits where someone within the company, possibly a director will visit your site and carry out a safety ,paperwork, site presentation audit, it helps people in the office. There may also be a Considerate Contractors assessment visit or a visit from a Contracts Manager or QS.

I might then walk around the site again, checking on the welfare facilities such as the canteen and toilet facilities, obtaining information from contractors and design team before returning to the site office to complete the site diary. (The clients use the site diary to ensure that we do our best to not upset the neighbours and work with the community). I may also need to add new starter qualification details to the online labour allocations, order skips, update the quality plan or chase up materials or contractors as necessary.

On occasion, we might have a community project on such as the “Big Bad Wolf” exercise that we devised for some primary school children at Monkton Combe Pre-Prep which was designed to teach them a little bit about construction and involved them making houses out of various materials and then seeing how strong they were by using a “Big Bad Wolf” leaf blower to try to knock them down.

Finally, I finish the day with one last check of the site, turning of the lights and locking up.


What training has your job entailed?

Apart from my apprenticeship I also undertook a management course. There is also significant training in health and safety such as temporary works training, CSCS card training and numerous other training such as scaffold, first aid, SMSTS, asbestos awareness and more.


What do you like most about your job?

No two days are ever the same.


Are there any projects that have stood out in your career so far?

Westminster and Chelsea Hospital and my very first school.


Do you think that construction has changed/is changing? What do you think will be of most significance in the coming years?

There is not the resource coming through, we need to attract new talent into the industry to fill the gap left by those retiring. I think that more-prefabricated buildings will be used, being built in factories and then being shipped in to use on site.


Do you feel working for Beard differs from elsewhere you have worked, and if so how?

There is a freedom in Beard to let you do things your own way, a lack of internal politics and no blame culture. I wish I had joined years ago and would recommend them as an employer.

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