Never a dull moment in project work

Since his youth, Tero Lappi has known where he is heading in his career: buildings and construction sites.

Name, task, ageTero Lappi

Tero Lappi, Site Manager, 34 years old

What kind of training and education do you have?

Bachelor of Engineering, Turku University of Applied Sciences. I graduated in 2007.

How did you get to your current position?

I’ve been involved in construction ever since I was teenager and it was crystal clear that I would apply to a University of Applied Sciences to study construction engineering. It was equally clear that the construction site is for me. During my studies, I was a trainee and summer worker at what was then Palmberg, but which changed its name to Lemminkäinen in 2009.  Since graduating, I’ve worked at Lemminkäinen as a Supervisor, a Site Engineer and, for the last five years, as a General Foreman.

What is your typical working day like?

It involves checking invoices, reporting, keeping in touch with planners, contractors and customers, solving problems, planning work tasks and preparing procurement. A great deal of my time goes into scrutinising plans and consequently participating in the management of planning.

What do you like most about your job?

I like the fact that my job consists of projects: work at a construction site begins, proceeds and ends and then there is a new construction site. With every new site, a third of the deck is reshuffled. When the location, participants and end product change, you don’t get bored!

The General Foreman’s task is to manage the construction site in its entirety. There are plenty of challenges, and the best thing is when you can tackle them. Responsibility goes hand in hand with freedom. At a construction site, you can operate quite freely, no one is looking over your shoulder all the time.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

There are 300–500 different people working at a construction site, and we should make it possible for each and every one of them to succeed in their duties. We must create the conditions in which everyone has the opportunity to do their best; the quality of the end product is impaired if even one per cent fails.

The current trend of having planning proceed in step with construction is also a challenge. If plans are completed at the last minute, there is no time left for planning work in advance, and this may mean that work turns into simply reacting to different things. In addition, hastily prepared plans may have shortcomings and detecting them consumes site resources. It would be absolutely necessary to dedicate more time to planning and construction.

What kind of a person achieves success in your position?

Success can be achieved by many different kinds of people. Initiative, the ability to handle pressure and the courage to make decisions quickly are perhaps the most important properties. Social skills and the ability express yourself are also useful—the most important tool for a supervisor is talking. Some determination is a good thing, too, so that you aren’t easily led but can complete your duties successfully while keeping the goal in mind.