Kate Webster – Design and Estimating Manager at Wernick Refurbished Buildings

"You learn something new every day..."

Kate’s interview

I am the Design and Estimating Manager at Wernick Refurbished Buildings.

My job involves working with clients to create a design for their building and drawing it using AutoCAD software. Depending on the size of the project, a number of drawings could need to be produced including; foundations, plumbing, door schedule, flooring, elevations and air conditioning unit positions. The electrical contractor will be requested to supply an electrical services drawing and all these need to be issued to the customer for approval before the building gets to the refurbishment stage. I also deliver a detailed quotation for the building based on these drawings and the client’s specifications.

There is often a lot of back of forth with designing and quoting for a project, so I work closely with clients to see their project through numerous re-draws and re-quotes before we get to order stage. Once an order is received, a clarification process takes place with the factory team, to make sure they know the clients exact specifications for the building.

Because my job involves so many stages of the building process, it offers plenty of variety. One minute I can be sat behind a desk and the next, I’m attending meetings with clients, or out in the yard looking taking measurements for layouts and foundations. I really enjoy the diversity the role offers and the chance to see so many different stages of the production process. I think that’s the best part of the job really; being able to see a building through from concept to completion; and seeing a client satisfied with the finished product.

My proudest moment has to be my first big project for Carillion Rail in Oxford. It involved a complicated set up which ran right round the edge of the site compound. We had to link a double storey building to existing cabins, and link that to an 11 bay office building which linked to a 3 bay meeting room. Next to that we linked a storage cabin to a 4 bay canteen, a 5 bay locker room and a 2 bay shower building. As you might imagine, getting all of that designed and installed was rather complicated! We must have done a good job though; thanks to that project we received orders for more buildings for the site, and were recommended by the client to another company.

Challenging jobs like that always appeal to me. One of the things I really enjoy about working at Wernick is how you get to learn something new every day. When I started here in 2008, I began as a Hire & Sales Co-ordinator, looking after the paperwork for units that had been sold or hired. The manager at the time would always encourage me to go out into the yard and learn more about all the different units that we had in stock. We differ from Wernick Hire depots as our units come from a variety of manufacturers, meaning there are lots of different formats and specifications to learn.

When I started I worked exclusively in cabin hire, but as staff left it was a case of skilling up and learning about modular to help with that side of the business. On the modular side of things each person managed their own paperwork, and dealt with their own clients instead of having a co-ordinator, so I started taking charge of my own projects. The more projects I dealt with, the more I learned; you’re always coming up against something new. You need to collect a lot of different information to deal with all the new challenges effectively – which is why my desk looks like it’s drowning in paper sometimes!

Thankfully, I work with friendly and supportive colleagues, who are always encouraging me to learn more. I‘m very fortunate in working with two gentlemen; our Foreman Jock and Trevor, the Technical Manager, who are both fonts of knowledge on modular buildings, and are keen for me to learn as much as I can. Wernick is an excellent place to work if you want to learn new skills.

Outside of work: 

In her spare time Kate enjoys reading, going to the theatre and attending country shows.  She can be spotted at the Tyne Tees Vintage Road Run or Marsham & Kelsall Steam Fairs rallying a1956 Bedford A model tipper truck with a friend. During the rally’s Kate and her friend can be found camping in the body of an old van which sits on the back of the truck. Not content with the adrenalin rush of rallying – Kate recently took part in a charity tandem parachute jump from 15000ft with her youngest daughter Rachel.  She has also just become a member of the Lions Cub International.