Spotlight: Anne Okafor, Construction Planner, Cruden Building (West)

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.


After school I worked in retail and hospitality roles for 10 years before deciding to return to studies to study for a Construction Management degree. While studying I continued these roles until I transitioned into the Construction Industry via work placement opportunities alongside my studies, I have now been in the Construction Industry 6 years.


What was your favourite subject in school and why?


At school my favourite subject were the technical subjects – I always wanted to make things and understand how things were put together. I enjoyed the satisfaction of developing something from drawings and components to a complete project.


What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?


My role requires me to be very organised and pay attention to detail. It also requires me to co-ordinate lots of information from different sources and present it visually so that lots of people can understand the sequence of work and durations involved. Maths is important as I deal with data analysis and visualisation. Qualifications and experience are also important but there are many different routes to achieving this.


What is your favourite thing about your job?


I like the people – on any given day, I work with many different people, both on site and in the office. I love working in teams and contributing to the effort of the project. I also love the legacy (the buildings we make) – We change peoples lives with the buildings we make and that is a privilege.


What is a normal day in your role like?


A normal day in my role can be very varied. If I am in the office, I may be looking through drawings and documents to find information to put into the programme. I may be working with my teammates or attending meetings. If I am on site, I will be assessing the progress made towards the programme that I have made. I do this by walking around the site to see what has been done. I will take notes and photograph and maybe mark up some drawings. I then use this information to report to the managers and our clients.


And what does your job title mean?


My job title means I help the project team to create a ‘to-do’ list for the project. I take information from lots of people and sources and combine it into one document that tells everyone the sequence that the project should be built in, the time each part takes and sometimes how many people we need to do the job. I work along side the Contracts Managers to understand each project’s requirements and then report our assessments to the Operations Managers and Directors.


Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?


In an extremely simple form, my job is a bit like doing a spot the difference exercise. Looking at what is on site and comparing it to what is in my programme.


You may also write to-do lists to help you organize tasks and as you complete them you may reorganize it – You can find some project management tools like Trello that can help you organise/reprioritise many lists or tasks. This is a little like what my job looks like at a very basic level.