Blog – From Manchester to New York

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. Every week we are highlighting one of the stories our employees who went on an exchange. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Hayley Burnett who traveled from Manchester, UK to New York, USA.

Why did I apply for a Quest

I applied for Arcadis Quest because I hope to eventually get the opportunity to relocate to the United States and as a part of that I wanted to find out and understand how Arcadis operates and how cost consulting is dealt with within the USA.  I was also eager to share my own knowledge of how the UK deal with cost consultancy whilst at the same time building my network with international colleagues.  I had been informed that in the USA clients do not employ cost consultants like they do in the UK to carry out feasability estimates, budget estimates and general pre construction commercial advice and support.  Instead employing the services of Architects and Contractors to carry out these kind of tasks.  I was therefore interested to understand why this is the case and how Arcadis can educate clients to highlight the services and advantages cost consultants can bring to a project especially in the initial stages.

This is one of those life experiences that will stay with me forever along with the relationships I have been able to build through this experience’!”

Highlight of my quest experience

There were various highlights for me.  I still cant quite believe I got the opportunity to travel to another country, work in a different environment, meet new colleagues and build new relationships through work.  One of my main highlights was getting the opportunity to visit New York and Miami in the same trip.  In New York I met with the Arcadis team to understand their various roles and how they deal with costs on a project and also shared my own knowledge and experience of the same.  Once I had arrived in Miami my main highlight was the valuation and site visit at a beach front hotel refurbishment that Arcadis are currently involved with as commercial support post contract.  It was an eye opening experience to watch the various involvement from different parties and how they all coordinated and worked together.  There was a notable difference with regards to site health and safety and also how the project team work together in their varying roles.  The view from the 7th floor window was also quite breathtaking!

In addition, I have now met colleagues whom I would never have had the opportunity to meet in my day to day role in the UK and built long lasting relationships that I would never have been able to do if I hadn’t done Quest.

My Quest in one word

“Unforgettable”

Learnings and experiences

The biggest thing I learnt was that as a global business we don’t work in the same manner across our various international locations.  Clients have different priorities and its understanding that although it might work for us in the UK it doesn’t generally mean it will work that way everywhere.  I found that pre-contract commercial management was not something clients generally want cost consultants to carry out, instead leaving it to the likes of the Architect and contractors.  Even our presence post contract was not as big a role as it is here in the UK.  I also learned that if I do eventually get the opportunity to relocate, my role as a Quantity Surveyor will look very different from what it is now.  I believe that there are things we can do and are trying to do currently as a business to highlight the benefits and advantages we can bring to the table for our clients, these include:

  • Educating our clients with regards to the services that we can provide and the value that this can bring to a project, not just financially
  • Collaborate more closely with our colleagues at CRTKL, establishing relationships and providing them with support during the projects initial stages

There is capacity for cost consultants to provide a pre-contract service to clients but it is not something that will happen overnight and will take a lot of educating and determination.

My recommendations for other Questees

I would recommend anyone going on an Arcadis Quest trip to have an itinerary to ensure you make the most out of your time.  A week is not long at all when you have so many people and things to see so make sure you plan ahead and work with your host to plan what the week will look like.  Explore!  Quest is also about experiencing diverse cultures and environments so try and take in as much as possible and make the time to do some sightseeing.

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation.

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