Lianne Lawson, construction manager at Willmott Dixon, led the team delivering the £21.6m Dixons Trinity Chapeltown Academy in Leeds
I became really interested in the industry as my older brother completed his architecture degree and I was finishing my A-Levels. I looked at his coursework and thought how amazing it would be if I could turn that drawing into reality. And I wanted a job that wouldn’t be the same every day.
I studied BSc Construction Management at university, and became a site engineer, which led to project management. I’ve worked on some terrific buildings, such as a manufacturing research facility for AMRC at the University of Sheffield. I was then given my own project to deliver, the international pathways centre for the University of York, where I was nominated for the Construction Manager of the Year Awards – a real honour.
What achievement in your career has given you most satisfaction?
As we entered our first lockdown in March 2020, I was leading a team delivering the £21.6m Dixons Trinity Chapeltown Academy project in Leeds. Knowing 980 essential school places were needed for the 2020/21 academic year, failure to complete would create enormous problems.
“As we were eight weeks ahead of schedule when the pandemic hit we were able to hand over ahead of the customer deadline”
We innovated, used technology and problem-solved to embed the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures, keeping the site open and productive. Our works completed just two weeks later than scheduled. However, as we were eight weeks ahead of schedule when the pandemic hit we were able to hand over ahead of the customer deadline.
Our customer had submitted my team for a Department for Education (DfE) award for ‘Going Above & Beyond in Covid-19’, which we won!
How would you like to see the construction industry change?
We have already made huge progress, with a real desire to become a truly diverse and inclusive industry. I think the next decade will see construction become a leading industry on diversity, along with sustainable development and the use of digitalisation.