A day in the life: Senior Quantity Surveyor for Barratt Developments

After 15 years at Barratt, Marie Cumner took 12 months maternity leave when she had her third child. Despite the longer leave, her transition back to work has been the easiest yet. She talks us through a day in the life, balancing progressing her career with looking after the kids

This article was written in partnership with Barratt Developments.

You currently work three and half days a week. How early do your work days start?

Pretty early! I’m normally woken up at 5.30am by my hungry one-year-old. I shower and get ready, and then it's straight into making beds and breakfasts for the other two once they're up.

I'm lucky enough to have my mum looking after the kids on days when I'm working. As she takes them to school, this gives me the chance to run to the office – it's only 20 minutes away and it's a good chance to get some exercise in. I have a bite to eat just before I leave, say goodbye to the kids and my mum, and then I’m off.

As a Senior Quantity Surveyor, how often do you get out of the office?

We try and visit a site once a week. At the moment I’m working on a site outside of Exeter, so it’s about 30 minutes' drive from the office, arriving at 8am. Barratt has agreed that my work days can begin and finish early, which is a much better fit for my schedule than my previous nine to five.

So, what does a Senior Quantity Surveyor do?

First, I meet the site manager and they show me around as we talk about the project. It’s my job to make sure we have the right materials, that we're getting great subcontractors in for a reasonable cost and that everything is running to budget.

After this check-up, I get back to my office to catch up on my emails properly. I have to report on how my sites are doing, and so I start preparing the data and presentation. The rest of the day is spent following through some of the actions from the site. I really enjoy the mix of being on-site and in the office.

Do you get any downtime?

I always try and get away from my desk for half an hour to make sure I’m having a proper break. I also give my mum and the kids a call to see how they’re getting on (they’re fine of course – they love their nana!)

At 4pm I finish work and drive home. Then it’s a whirl of catching up with the kids, cooking dinner, reading stories, baths and bed.

In the evenings, I quickly make my dinner, prep their lunches, think about school trips and whatever else needs doing. I like to make sure I do everything during the week so that we can have real quality time all weekend – hopefully doing day trips and other exciting things.

What are the main challenges of being a Senior Quantity Surveyor?

Work-life balance is so important when you have a family and I do sometimes worry about whether I have the balance right! Luckily, my director has been very open from the start and we have excellent flexible working options – so I'm still able to be involved with everything the kids are up to.

What do you love about your role?

I love the fact that I'm genuinely proud of my work. Because we manage our own sites, I can manage my workload, so I always know that I’m doing a good job. Obviously, I love being with the kids too, but I do treasure having something I can get on with without having to constantly multitask. It also means that I’m excited when I see them at the end of the day!

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