Ben Stiff is a talented Quantity Surveyor for Halsall. Based in Bath, Ben is currently working on some of our project’s worth over £13m.
Here, Ben discusses his journey into the industry, the positive outlook he has on his career and the challenges he’s faced so far.
First, let’s get to know you on a professional level:
I started my career young, fresh faced and straight after college. My first job was with ISG for a couple of years. I then moved to Midas for 18 months before finding home at Halsall in 2016.
I studied part time at UWE for 5 years and I’ve now been working in the industry for 9 years. Prior to that, I jammed doughnuts in Sainsburys bakery. Some would say that was far harder than working in construction, trying to make sure the quality of the doughnuts was to a high-quality standard.
When I was at school and college, I found that a career in construction was appealing to me. It was way more interesting than any other subject I had studied and having took my first construction practical and theory at school, I knew I wanted to go for it. Having found the industry I wanted to work in, it was then about finding a company whose values fit mine.
I had a desire to get into construction and was very fortunate to get a trainee job with ISG, who were looking for assistant Graduate level Quantity Surveyor. It did not take me too long to progress to the Quantity Surveyor level which is the level Halsall were willing to offer to me when shortly after the interview. I am grateful for the opportunity and loyalty works both ways!
On a day-to-day basis I am responsible for ensuring my teams make the best and most considered commercial decisions. This can include subcontract procurement & change control to resequencing of works.
Every day is different, usually the back end of the month is filled with isolation completing reports, making payments, and issuing valuations to our clients. The start of the month tends to allow me to dive into procurement and carry out cost comparisons which I really enjoy.
Now, I am currently working across four large projects including new homes in Wedmore and Bristol and some cutting-edge offices in Wapping Wharf. The day-to-day tasks on each project is very different – giving me a good variety of work and challenges.
I really enjoy that no day is the same and my tasks vary. Halsall trust me to manage my own time and workload and I have been given the skills and support by them to dip into other roles quite freely. Halsall have given me the platform to succeed in my role.
My priorities are dictated by my team’s priority. That’s the great thing about being a Quantity Surveyor you are very much part of a team and all working towards the same goal.
I manage my work efficiently. I am good at prioritising my work and understanding any challenges that come my way. I am a problem solver and can now easily resolve a situation. I am confident in making decisions, believe in my ability and can monitor multiple schemes in diverse sectors and at differing stages of completion.
Overall, the biggest challenge has been working out that Halsall is the company that I want to stay and progress with. Halsall offer a great internal Senior Management Training course and many others external training courses. They want employees to progress from within, just as the Managing Director did and they’re more than willing to help support this which is great.
Alternatively, a challenge I have faced has been dealing with hic ups during projects. We all know projects never run smoothly. What’s been hard is finding a solution to the issues that satisfies everyone involved and quickly. However, knowing this really comes with experience and being self-aware, making sure I am reflecting on the issues and spotting them faster next time.
A Quantity Surveyor’s role can be quite consuming on the field-based side of things meaning that some office-based skills can be compromised. However, one tool I am grateful to have learnt is how to use Microsoft Excel properly to succeed in my role.
One day I would like to progress my team further. I believe and have confidence in myself that my experience in the field and my quality of work can rub off on others positively. Working closely with Halsall I now have an Assistant Quantity Surveyor working with me and I would like to grow the team and progress into a project lead eventually.
It’s best not to come into the industry naïve to how challenging it can be at times. I would encourage anyone from any type of background or industry to join construction but to take challenges head on and grow a thick skin. If you want to progress, find the right company that believes in you and will help support you with this.
Now let’s know more about you:
I love playing football and once scored an overhead kick in the FA cup preliminary round and won the club I was playing for at the time £600. Also, completing my studies at University.
I start my day off with a dog walk early doors and in the evening. Then it’s either a combination of football or a run on the evening… and if you don’t believe that, its Netflix and a Thatcher’s Gold.
Walking the dog, watching some sort of sport on TV and cooking!
Eating, going on holiday/trips, going out for drinks/meals with friends and Friday 5:30 PM!!
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