We speak to Stuart Dallas about how he achieved his position as project manager for CALA Homes (West), what he loves about his job, and the things to consider for those aspiring to a similar role.
Please tell us about your role and career path.
I left school and completed an apprenticeship in joinery, which then led to me working with a small housebuilder and gaining much needed experience. I began working with CALA Homes (West) in 2005 as an assistant site manager and have progressed through the ranks to project manager. My current role gives me the responsibility to manage several different housing developments at the one time, meaning I get to work with different teams on new sites.
What sort of new homes projects have you worked on to date, and what was it about them that you most enjoyed?
CALA Homes have a great variety of apartment and house types which has given me experience in all sectors with each development being unique to the site. In the past I have worked on sites in Bridge of Allan, Larbert, Bishopbriggs and latterly Thorntonhall. The site I am working now is truly one of CALA West’s most prestigious sites. Riverside at Bothwell, will involve the largest homes ever built in the West and never-seen-before apartments and homes which are completely bespoke. The development is small and intimate with only 12 apartments and 12 luxury homes but it will be a pleasure to construct this exclusive site and bring this unique vision to life. My favourite part of the job is definitely handing the finished product over to our clients, to see our hard work complete and seeing the clients happy makes it all worthwhile.
What work challenges does your role entail, and what gives you most satisfaction to overcome?
The construction industry can be incredibly challenging at times, we work to tight deadlines and quick turnarounds, however, I really enjoy the fast pace and exciting environment where no day is the same. We have tight schedules to ensure each house is completed on time, if we don’t make those deadlines then clients are disappointed. It can be a pressure-led job but for me, the satisfaction of completing our stunning homes and developments as a whole is something I just wouldn’t get elsewhere. Having a hard-working and enthusiastic team makes my job as project manager easier, whenever challenges arise we work as a team to overcome them.
Are there specific professional and personal skills that would make someone with your skill set especially suited to the new homes sector?
I think you need to have a passion for your job, and a certain drive to succeed in the housing construction business. Of course you need to have the physical skills to complete the job but you also need to be personally invested in the brand and the work you are doing. I am proud to work for CALA Homes, it’s been a brilliant 13 years.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering a role like yours as a career path?
The best advice I could give to someone thinking of a career in construction is simple: work hard, listen and learn from those you are working for and always have a team mind-set. As a team you can achieve the impossible.