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“The idea of making and building things always drew my attention”

Meet a Member: Sam Fowkes, director, Selcon construction consultants
Why did you choose construction? What else might you have done?

I’ve always loved construction – my grandfather was a carpenter and the idea of making and building things always drew my attention. 

I’ve spent all of my working life in the construction industry: I started off working at a builders’ merchant and then moved to be a maintenance joiner before being offered a job as a trainee site manager where I was able to gain a BSc Hons in Construction Management. I worked as a site manager before moving into planning and progressed to the position of planning manager before moving back to the operations and delivery side as an operations manager. 

I’ve loved every bit of my career so far and wouldn’t change a thing about it. Construction isn’t just a job – for me it’s the only job. I get lots of satisfaction knowing that I worked with a team of people to help build places such as homes, workplaces, hospitals, schools and more. 

I love driving past places and being able to say “I worked on that”, much to the annoyance of my wife: every project has a different memory attached to it.

There isn’t really anything else I would have done. I had a brief foray into Law where I started a criminology degree but quickly realised it wasn’t for me.

You’ve now started your own business? Tell us a little bit about that experience?

Starting on my own was the most daunting thing I’ve ever done, which was compounded by the timing. Leaving a good secure job in the height of the covid-19 pandemic made for lots of sleepless nights, but happily things are going well. The encouragement and support I received from my wife, family and friends was a huge help.

The business, Selcon Ltd, offers various services but the core of the business is planning, programming and project management working with client and contractor alike. 

The focus is on delivering the best service across multiple sectors using my own and others’ experience to be able to do so. Continued work with existing customers along with opportunities with new and existing clients puts the business in a strong starting position for 2021. 

The aim is to continue to grow and develop and become a well-recognised business in the industry with the ability to offer opportunities to others.

The main takeaway from starting the business is that there is always a risk in whatever you do and you can always find a reason not to take the leap. If you have enough faith in yourself and you decide what success looks like you will achieve your goals. I’m not at the end destination yet but am determined to succeed.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?

I love the construction industry and we have come a long way from the days of poor health and safety standards, lack of consideration for the environment and reliance on traditional methods of construction in a relatively short space of time. But the thing I would like to see us achieve is full collaboration. 

One of the reasons for starting my business is that I think we can work together better and in a more honest way. The industry is making steps towards full collaboration between clients, contractors, designers and end users but I don’t think we are at the finish line yet. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I spend as much time as possible with my family and am usually doing some sort of construction/DIY at home too. I like to get to the gym or boxing club in the evening and love taking my son to his sports clubs. When the pubs are open I also enjoy a good bit of socialising.

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