Kawthar Al-Juffairi, who is pursuing a MEng Civil Engineering degree at Imperial College London, was selected to be project manager of an end-of-term construction project to build a 1:20 scaled version of London’s landmark “Gherkin” office building. Proud of her university’s pioneering role in introducing team construction projects referred to as “Constructionarium,” Kawthar says that many universities are now following suit, and shared her experience managing the week-long endeavor.
“I was elected by my team of 19 students to be the project manager of the Gherkin project. We were expected to construct a scaled down version of the Gherkin, an iconic building in London. In addition to leading a daily progress meeting with the team, I regularly had meetings with the client (Imperial College staff) and the consultant. Being the project manager meant that I was expected to make big decisions for the team, ensure progress was being made as per our plan and look out for the welfare of my team members. Quoting from the feedback I received at the end of the project, “Manager looked after the team welfare and gave continuous support to the team members.”
“This project helped me step out of my comfort zone and act on the spot. Working in a relatively large team gave me the opportunity to practice trusting other team members to accurately complete their tasks. I also learnt how to be flexible and to quickly adapt to changes made to the original plan. It was a great opportunity for me to utilize what I’ve learnt so far in class and see how it comes together when applied in a real construction project. I now certainly have a much clearer idea of what Civil Engineering is about and also the differences between working with a consultant and with a contractor.”