I attempt to wake up at this time but usually involves hitting snooze on the alarm a few times. This is still sleep in compared to some of the earlier mornings at times during the project. I head straight for the coffee machine so that I can begin to function, and then I get ready, pack my lunch, and walk to the station or drive to the site, depending on which location I am working in.
On the train heading to the Sydney office, I read a book or personal emails. I thoroughly enjoy the time on the train, even just to listen to a podcast, which is also great for passing the time when driving to the project site outside of Sydney.
If I am working in Sydney I walk into the office around 8.15am, but I arrive around 7.45am on the project site. I sit down at my desk, and first thing after getting set up is reading through emails. Depending on what stage of the project we are at, there can be anywhere from 3 through to 30 emails that come through from the previous day. I quickly work out which ones require actioning, and those stay in my inbox. Otherwise, if others are for information, or don’t require a response, these get filed instantly. This means that I always have my inbox as a bit of a ‘to-do list’.
The online project communication system between the client and all subcontractors also requires checking for any new comments on submitted drawings or spreadsheets, as well as if the architect or builder has released any new information.
Usually someone around the office initiates a group coffee run. A variety of people from different areas of the company come along, sometimes people in my team, other times we have the District General Manager join us. This always makes for interesting discussions, and is a great opportunity to hear about other areas of the business, what sales opportunities the company is investigating and what others are working on with their project. It is also a great opportunity to go for a short walk and get some fresh air at the start of the day.
Back in the office and ready for a project meeting. We have a Skype meeting with the team for the Correctional Centre project most days, as the team is made up of people located in the Sydney office, on site, and at times interstate. The previous project I worked on had a similar meeting, however that project had people from Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand! It is common to be working with Honeywell employees in different regions due to the availability of resources and what stage projects are at.
This meeting is usually only 30 minutes, and is a way for the office engineers to hear about any urgent site tasks, and is also an opportunity to give a brief update on what we are all working on. My update usually involves giving a status on drawings, custom bracket designs, schedules of equipment, and general engineering tasks that I have been assigned to do.
This is when my day really kicks off, and I am busy reviewing floor plans, designing mounting arrangements, creating drawing mark-ups, spreadsheets to communicate cabling for our subcontractors, and fielding questions from different stakeholders. Depending on the stage of the project, I usually go for a walk onto site from the site office to check on a particular device, or meet one of our subcontractors to check on their work or take them further information. There are so many different trades working on the project construction site, and therefore it requires multiple levels of communication with different companies to coordinate the services being installed.
Around mid-morning it is usually time to check emails again, potentially rearrange the priorities of tasks, and attempt to get some more jobs checked off the list. This can be tricky at times with further questions or other site interruptions, so I find I have to be flexible with my time. The urgency of tasks changes regularly, and an event such as a concrete pour can be brought a week forward with very little notice. This can be quite intense but keeps it exciting!
Depending on the day of the week, this time of day tends to also be prime meeting time. This can be a site safety meeting, a subcontractor meeting, or a meeting with the consultant and client, reviewing the tasks and project timeline.
During lunch I try to sit outside or have a chat with others in the team, just to have a quick break from looking at my laptop. Some days though it is easier just to read emails or look over drawings at lunch, especially when everyone takes their lunch at different times.
Deliveries are regularly being arranged for equipment to arrive on site. This means that I spend probably an hour a day calling different suppliers to order more equipment, change cameras and other security items due to design changes, or ask technical questions. An example of this being I was required to investigate the supplier’s testing results for the speakers in the large inmate accommodation pods. It was required that the speakers, even those mounted on the 7m high ceiling would reach the required volume in the large space. Other times I am required to call other subcontractors to manage off-site work, such as for precast wall conduit work that is completed at a facility in Sydney.
By mid-afternoon I will have hopefully completed some of my tasks from the start of the day, and can send these to our Senior Engineer for approval and submission to the client. At the later stages of the project by this time of the day, if not all day, I am in the control room on site, working on part of the system configuration. This is an extremely challenging task but also very rewarding when I am able to achieve the required functionality.
At around 4pm, tradespeople tend to start heading home from site, and everything starts to get quieter. This makes it easier to get around site with less vehicles and pedestrian traffic, and I can get an uninterrupted hour or two of work completed at the end of the day.
This is usually home time for me, however in later commissioning stages of the project it is hard to give up the uninterrupted work time in the afternoon and evening, so I sometimes stay back a bit longer to get the configuration tasks completed.
I arrive at the house in town rented for the project, and either head to the gym, or get started on cooking dinner. In the evenings I enjoy getting out of the steel cap boots and Hi-Vis and into some comfy clothes, and snuggle in to read a book, watch TV, or work on a craft project to wind down from the day. Planning my next holiday is also a great way to switch off in the evenings.
By this time I am getting ready for bed, so that I can get up early and head to site or the office again in the morning!