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I recently caught up with our trainers and assessors to find out a bit more about their background and what makes them tick. Time to meet our building and construction trainer and assessor.

Today’s interview is with James Turner. James has extensive experience in building, civil construction and project management having worked for large construction companies as a construction manager as well as run a number of his own businesses, James is active in the building and construction industry in ACT and NSW. James is also a mad car nut who has owned and rebuilt some amazing vehicles over the years. James is our lead trainer and assessor in building and construction.

Michael Young: Hi James.

James Turner: Hi mate.

MY: Tell us about yourself?

JT: After finishing school in 1993; I first started in the commercial construction industry in 1994 as a Carpentry & Joinery apprentice which I completed in 1996. Within a short period of time; I had moved from the delivery side of the construction industry to management which I have been in involved in ever since.

MY: What got you into building and construction?

JT: I have managed many projects over the years including many large scale projects under a number of different contracts including commercial construction and civil projects. Other than Building & Construction qualifications; my experience and qualifications include other related disciplines including; Risk Management, NatHERS and Project Management.

MY: What is your main focus with your work as a builder?

JT: My main focus is to understand the clients wants and needs as well as what they ultimately want their project to achieve and then work with the project group towards providing that outcome.

From a training and assessment perspective, my main focus is on three qualifications including Home Energy Efficiency, Building & Construction and Civil Construction.

MY: What courses did you do to get to where you are?

JT: I have completed a number of recognised qualifications and courses over the years but two that I use more frequently than any others are Building & Construction and NatHERS Assessment. My Building & Construction qualification allows me to hold a builders licence and the NatHERS qualification allows me to have a more thorough understanding of EER and how construction methods can maximise efficiency.

MY: What does a typical day look like for you?

JT: I am mostly office based and a typical day might include; meetings, client liaison, paperwork, contracts and management of projects that are currently underway or about to start or finish. Currently I am working on the preliminary stages of a new construction project for a foreign country that is building a large embassy in Canberra. The construction phase of this project will take approximately 18 months to complete once the design and approvals are completed.

MY: What is the best thing about working as a builder?

JT: In my situation the best thing is about my work is meeting new people and being able to manage my own time; which allows for a quality work-life balance.

MY: If you were to cover someone starting out some advice, what would it be?

JT: If you’re considering a career in construction and in particular commercial construction management, if possible; concentrate on gaining a good overall understanding of all things that make up the industry and particularly in the case of commercial construction the two main streams; management and delivery. Speaking as a construction manager I know that a fairly sound understanding of the many different moving parts of the industry is important and comes with a combination of ongoing formal qualification and experience gained over time.

MY: Thanks JT for the time to catch up and tell us what you’ve been up to.

JT: Cheers mate.

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