Construction is a human business at its core and building relationships go hand in hand with project success. As a result, many construction companies are family-run businesses, including London-based Jerram Falkus Group. In fact, the company has been in operations as a family business since its founding in 1884. While Martin Hickey, Project Manager, has only been working for the company since 2014, he saw a unique opportunity to strengthen the foundation of the family business with technology and helped to lead his company’s implementation of PlanGrid.
In this week’s “Behind the Build,” we speak with Martin on the lessons he learned during his 50-year tenure in the industry, as well as why he continues to build today.
What first got you into construction?
I left school at 16 without any qualifications. I have always liked being outside and was offered a job by the uncle of a friend to go and work for him in his construction business. I started by sweeping the floor and went on to train as a painter and decorator. A couple of years later, I began to gain interest in carpentry. For me, it almost became a religion for the next 25 years or so, before I went into management.
Why do you continue to build today?
I love the excitement of starting a new project and getting a team of people to work together to deliver it. Seeing a finished building in use is the biggest buzz along with the development of the skills it takes to be a part of the industry.
What do you love most about the industry?
I love the fact that I get to learn something new every day. Each project is unique and each building is a prototype so it never gets boring. Seeing people grow in my teams and watching them blossom into constructors with a passion equal to mine.
What project are you most proud of and why?
I recently completed a school building project which was designed and constructed to a Passive House Institute accreditation standard. This was technically and logistically a very complex, yet great, challenge to all involved in what was only the 4th building of its type to be constructed in the UK at the time. This is how all buildings will be constructed in the future. The project provided many valuable lessons to all involved in both the client’s team and ours.
What do you spend the most time doing at work?
The majority of my time is spent managing process change in the business and the development of the use of smart technology for use in the office and at the sharp end on site. I also take a keen interest in the development and introduction of virtual digital construction, in which the entire industry will need to be engrossed in over the next one to two years.
Any recommendations or thoughts you want to share with the next generation of builders?
Treasure your work. You are involved in the most exciting and rewarding occupation that there is. Keep on learning each and every day to improve and most importantly learn to share openly what you know. Every one of us has a contribution to make.