Max Couchman

Max Couchman

What's it like working for Systech?

Max Couchman, is currently training to become a Quantity Surveyor with Systech whilst studying at university. In this latest day in the life piece, Max talks through his training, the support he has received, the projects he has worked on and his future goals in the industry.

Introduction

I joined Systech in 2018 as a part time administration/accounts assistant whilst studying a carpentry course at Bexley campus. The course and the experience with Systech further developed my interest in following a career in construction management and quantity surveying and so I was delighted when Systech offered me a position as a trainee QS. I was also keen to gain further qualifications and so I enrolled on the Level 3 Construction and Built Environment course at Bromley college on which I achieved a Distinction Merit grade. This enabled me to enrol on my current course, a HNC Quantity Surveying at Greenwich University, on which I will work towards a HNC qualification and the end of 2 years and a degree at the end of 5 years.

What was your first role?

Systech works with a number of technical contractors and architects and I spent time with a practice where I gained more commercial management knowledge about invoicing, AFPs, programming, design management and CAD along with a more detailed understanding of infrastructure related projects.

Every week I would be responsible for chasing staff timesheets so that project documents and AFPs could be sent off to the client, ensuring that all data matched up and there were no discrepancies.

As well as this I would help the senior consultants draw up contracts which gave me more of an understanding of how contracts are put together.

London Bridge

What is your typical day?

Currently I am working with a main contractor on a project in Old Street, London that comprises major work to the road network and the underground tube station.

I am the eyes and ears for on site for the commercial team and support those who are working remotely due to the pandemic restrictions.

I have been involved in the procurement process where I have been in charge of uploading sub contract documents to a central database so that they can be easily accessed by the team.

I have assisted the commercial manager with PMI and NCE matters, checking through the filing system for required documents which has given me a greater understanding of how to value compensation events.

When possible I enjoy going onto site where I always manage to spot something new that wasn’t there before; I then find out the reasoning behind this by speaking to the supervisors.

Interesting aspects of your work

I have always found construction to be massively interesting so seeing it first hand has been good for my understanding and has made me realise more about the industry.

One interesting aspect is communicating with people from all walks of life; one day I will be in a meeting with the commercial team and the next day I will be in a risk reduction meeting attended by individuals from a range of backgrounds. I find it interesting to see how the different roles work with each other to deliver projects.

How has working for Systech helped you achieve your career goals?

Systech has given me the opportunity to train and work whilst gaining a variety of knowledge and having the freedom to get on with my studies.

The typical QS career route would be attending college full time and only learning through lectures. My training with Systech has given me the opportunity to learn whilst I work which suits the way I want to achieve my goals as I believe the best way to train/learn is to see it first-hand so that I have as much experience as possible once my part time studies have ended.