Project Director

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Steve S

00:00:04 Hello, my name’s Steven Swain, I’m a Project Director with Halcrow. Project Director is responsible for delivery of our projects to our clients, to the satisfaction of the clients, and also to give a commercial return to Halcrow as a company. With regards to the internal aspects of my job, it would be the management of the design team, the management of the resources and the capabilities of Halcrow – be they the direct people that I work with, or be they other parts of the organisation that have particular expertise.

00:00:37 My favourite projects throughout my career have been those which have involved team work. I enjoy working with people, I enjoy leading teams. Again, with Halcrow I have worked with some great teams. The last 18 months I’ve spent in Qatar, and we had a great team of people. We had four different companies that we were working with, in that we were leading the design effort for the client, and we had 29 design teams, in 25 design locations, across 15 design disciplines, in 11 time zones across the world. So that in itself was a challenge. And I’ve worked a bit in the nuclear industry, and again using a team of people from different companies, and bringing them together and getting a team ethic is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding whenever it happens.

00:02:18 I’ve had a very varied career, and I think if I look back on it there have been – I’ve been given opportunities at various stages in my career, and those opportunities have – would have been very easy to ignore. I was at college – and for the first year, doing a degree, and enjoyed college life much too much, and did not get the necessary pass levels to go on to the second year, and had to leave. A college lecturer managed to take the time out, and come to the house and talk to me. At that time I’d decided I was going to be a Car Salesman, because I liked cars, and there was a garage just down the road from us. He talked to me, and he talked to me for an hour. He didn’t force me, he believed that I had the capabilities to get a qualification. And he said – that’s fine, there’s a place for you, the course starts Thursday in two weeks. If you’re sitting behind a desk I’ll know you’ll have accepted, and if you’re not sitting behind a desk I’ll know you’re selling cars. So that guy, and I still remember his name – Billy Given – was a turning point. I took the opportunity that he gave me, and I went and got my HND.

00:02:49 If you look back on your life you do have ups and downs throughout your life. I think if I had one regret, I would say that I have perhaps not worked hard enough to fulfil my potential. But that would have taken me down a particular route of perhaps not having the enjoyment in the good times that I’ve had. I wouldn’t change anything in my life. I’ve had some great times, I’ve been given great opportunities and, looking back is – it’s fine, you can learn from looking back. I’d much rather look forward and see what’s happening in the next five to ten years.

00:03:23 If I could work on a historic project, an iconic project that was going to happen, some of these projects that are happening in Dubai, which are phenomenal. Looking closer to home, there’s a new crossing across the River Forth, which is planned. It’s likely to be a bridge. I have no bridge experience whatsoever in my life, but it is 20 minutes from my house, it’s right next to the Forth rail bridge, which is an iconic project, and to finish your career working on a project like that, I think, would just be the icing on the cake.

00:04:00 ENDS


Stephen Swain is a Project Director with engineering company Halcrow. He leads big international teams on engineering projects around the world. He failed some university exams and nearly ended up selling cars but a college lecturer talked him into a civil engineering course. Now he wants to build a new bridge across the Forth.

More information about Production managers and directors in construction

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

88%  male 
12%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Production managers and directors in construction direct and co-ordinate resources for the construction and maintenance of civil and structural engineering works including houses, flats, factories, roads and runways, bridges, tunnels and railway works, harbour, dock and marine works and water supply, drainage and sewage works.
There are no pre-set entry standards. Entry is possible with either a degree or equivalent qualification and/or relevant experience, via apprenticeships or S/NVQs in Management at levels 3 to 5. On-the-job training is provided and professional qualifications are available.
  • Liaises with other managers to plan overall production activity and construction activities, sets quality standards and estimates timescales and costs;
  • Receives invitations to tender, arranges for estimates and liaises with client, architect and engineers for the preparation of contracts;
  • Plans, directs and co-ordinates the construction and maintenance of civil and structural engineering works, including demolition, open-cast mining works and pipeline and piling;
  • Receives reports upon work in progress to ensure that materials and construction methods meet with specifications and statutory requirements and that there are no deviations from agreed plans.
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