Changing the face of construction

Meet Sarah Brooks: As a female in the construction industry, Sarah is changing the face of construction - a dynamic industry she enjoys where no two days are ever the same.

Sarah says that a great mentor can play an important role in your career development. Throughout her career, her project managers and mentors have been extremely supportive of her and her ideas. And as the Quality and Completions Manager, on a major highway upgrade project in Queensland, Sarah is now considered a mentor herself and strives to encourage young women to take on positions in the construction industry.

Sarah joined Seymour Whyte in October 2019 and brings with her almost 20 years’ experience within the civil, transport, building, heavy and light rail sectors.

Throughout her career she has established effective relationships working with Department of Transport & Main Roads (QLD), Roads & Maritime Services (now Transport for New South Wales) and Sydney Trains (NSW), VicRoads (VIC) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government.

In her role, Sarah is responsible for ensuring the project team fulfils its compliance obligations of delivering and handing over a quality product to the client and end user, the public.

Sarah’s approach to quality and completions is practical and solutions based, due to her hands-on project experience and her ability to understand the requirements of implementing ‘value adding’ quality and completion processes.

Sarah has found her extensive experience and approach provides her with the necessary ‘buy-in’ from the project team to achieve project outcomes.

Her dedication to embedding quality into all facets of the projects is driven by enthusiasm and her personal philosophy that sees quality encapsulated in the whole project lifecycle of design, construction, completions, operation and maintenance.

“I believe the only way to achieve a good quality product is to identify the ‘Completion’ contract deliverables at the very beginning to ensure the project is set up for a solid foundation,” said Sarah.

“By championing collaboration between the contractor, client and subcontractors, I effectively assist the construction team with problem solving and implementing solutions in regards to QA processes.”

Since starting at Seymour Whyte, Sarah said she wanted to focus on further developing the quality culture across the project and instilling her mindset of ‘getting it right the first time’ across the entire construction team.

“It is critical this becomes second nature to our team as rework is both costly, and often undertaken with increased safety risks.”

Sarah said one of the most rewarding aspects of her role is having a voice as a senior manager.

“Having influence when it comes to helping achieve ‘best for project’ outcomes and witnessing a project come to fruition makes all the hard work worthwhile. I like knowing that I have worked on some of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects, I can look back and confidently say, ‘I was part of that project.’”

As a female in the construction industry, Sarah has nothing but positive things to say about her experience.
“I have been very fortunate throughout my entire career, as all my project managers and mentors have been extremely supportive of me and my ideas.”

As the Quality and Completions Manager, Sarah is now considered a mentor herself and strives to encourage young women to take on positions in the construction industry.

“You can achieve anything if you’re prepared to persist, go the extra mile and put in the hard yards.
This industry can be tough, but at the same time it’s extremely satisfying if you’re adaptable to change and open to travelling, which can lead you to being part of some exciting and fantastic opportunities.”

Sarah said a great leader is someone who leads by example and empowers their people.

“Leaders encourage and provide opportunities to push the boundary and allow their people to work outside their comfort zone without the fear of retribution or worry of failure. It’s someone who provides continual coaching and mentoring.”

Sarah and her partner both live and work on the Sunshine Coast. They are very active people who spend their spare time cycling, swimming and enjoying quality time with family and friends.