I’m a Substation Construction Manager and it’s an early morning type of industry. I’m up and ready to leave for work by 6.30. I’m based at the Kewdale Depot and I drive into work. At least getting in early avoids traffic.
Today’s to do list involves logistics for heavy machinery – and lots of it!. My construction jobs need trucks, cranes and/or elevated work platforms, then I need to coordinate their use during the job. I also organise outages, isolations and switching to be booked so that the line or section of the bus zone is de-energised so that the field crew can safely work on the job. These logistics all take planning, weeks in advance, to ensure work can be carried out safely and that surrounding customers aren’t left without power.
Every second Thursday, I meet with all the construction managers to exchange information on how we are dealing with project issues and give a heads up of upcoming projects over the next few months.
Days are different depending if construction is taking place on the day or not. My job is a mix of on-site when construction is taking place and being in the office to plan for forthcoming projects.
In construction management, every job has a Construction Manager (which is myself) and a Project Support Officer. I spend some time working closely with my Project Support Officer to organise the materials, coordinate deliveries, site drawings, cable cards, ferrules and quality verification forms for my upcoming projects the field crew will need.
In preparation for the jobs, I also review design drawings and check the schedule for my upcoming projects, so I can prepare a scope of construction works for the field crew and a timeline that they need to follow. For some primary electrical plant installations, I also need to book all the testing and inspections required during construction too.
I head down to the construction site. There’s always something to sort out, whether it’s equipment, design drawing queries and general construction questions.
There are usually challenges that will be encountered especially if the substation I’m working on is older and I’m installing new electrical assets. The primary plant assets in an old substations are installed with smaller clearances, as standards change overtime, and the relay rooms are designed with more compactness. Therefore there’s very little room for the field crew to work in and high precautions are taken since they are working with high voltages.
It’s good to get a feel of how things are connected and arranged on site as opposed to looking at the drawings, it gives me a better picture of what needs to be done and what precautions and hazards I need to address to the field crew for any tasks that they need to carry out.
I make it back to Kewdale Depot. I provide an update to the project manager for the job. Then I get organised for the next day: look at the to-do list and prepare for the tomorrow’s construction tasks.
An early start means an early finish and I’m home by 4.30. That’s plenty of time to unwind from work: I watch some TV, head to the gym or catch up with friends over a game of tennis, then dinner.
Time to hit the hay, ahead of another energetic day tomorrow.