From surveyor to engineers representative: Hamish’s Employee Story


Hamish joined Woods almost five years ago as a Graduate Surveyor after completing the Bachelor of Surveying degree at the University of Otago. Now working in the Woods’ Engineering department, he’s the Engineering Representative and Surveyor on the Three Kings Quarry development project on behalf of Fletcher Living.

We wanted to find out a bit about Hamish’s day-to-day, what it’s like to work at Woods, and how he went from Surveying to Engineering.

What do you wish you had known about Woods beforehand?

It would have been handy to know that I was going to end up working in the engineering department. I didn't know that was going to happen when signing up for Woods. I probably would have taken a bit more notice in my Engineering lectures when I was at university if I’d known that.

What do you like most about your job?

Having the ability to interact with so many different people. Whether it’s Woods’ staff, contractors on-site, or other consultants - all the communication, interaction, management of people, and making sure tasks get completed is great.

Also, I enjoy working with everyone on the Three Kings Quarry project. Everyone gets along well and there are some great personalities in the team. This makes day to day life a lot easier on such a large project.

What makes you the happiest at work?

Being able to see the parts of a project that I’ve been involved with develop in front of me. At Woods, you get to be part of the whole land development process; starting from scratch with just a piece of bare land through to the design and construction phase and then suddenly you see all these roads and retaining walls and houses pop up. It's quite cool.

How do you stay productive at work?

Breaking my day up so I’m not just sitting at my desk staring at a computer screen for eight hours definitely makes me more productive. There is a gym below our office at Woods so I will try to get there at least once during the day for a sweat-out and I’ll usually get out to site at least once a day as well.

How (or why) did you shift from Surveying to Engineering?

Going from Surveying through to Engineering came about through the Woods’ Graduate Development programme and Cadastral Survey Licensing process. For me to become a Licensed Cadastral Surveyor and have the ability to sign off plans, I had to have a certain number of days’ experience in both Surveying and Engineering.

I was able to get my experience in the Surveying department and then shift to the Engineering department to fulfil the engineering requirements.

Woods is quite different to other companies in that they could do that. It has made the whole process of getting licensed a lot easier, and probably quite a lot faster as well.

How have you developed your skills during your time at Woods?

My skills have developed in a pretty interesting way. Starting at Woods straight out of university I had a degree, but I wasn't confident in using the latest technology and equipment which Woods have.

I had a ‘buddy’ who looked after me through the Woods buddy system and it was great to have my Survey manager Willy (William Cheung) oversee my work and teach me all he knew. Over the 2.5-3 years that I was in the Survey department, I managed to develop and fine-tune my survey skills. This development programme was an integral part in enabling me to become a licensed cadastral surveyor.

When I was put into Engineering, it was completely different. I didn’t have any background in engineering at all but Brian Flood, one of the directors, is my Engineering manager and he's managed - more like moulded me – into the engineer I have become now.

I think having those leaders or managers who are renown in Auckland and New Zealand looking over you is extremely valuable.

How would you describe your work-life to a friend?

Quite busy. During the week, I’d say I'm a good example of work hard, play hard. Monday to Friday I knuckle down to get my work done but then make sure I have time available on the weekends to do my own thing and socialize.

Hamish Boult - Surveyor