New build manager from Basingstoke says women are 'ripping up the rulebook'

15 January 2019

A newly appointed build manager in Basingstoke, who started out as a painter and decorator, says women are ripping up the rulebook in the housebuilding industry – but that there is still a long way to go.

Bovis Homes Boorley Park Botley Hampshire
Suzanne Jamison at Bovis Homes' Boorley Park in Botley, Hampshire 
Suzanne Jamison has joined Bovis Homes as an area build manager and said that, while females were breaking down barriers in the sector, more should have been employed sooner.

Suzanne, who will cover the housebuilder’s Boorley Park location in Botley, Hampshire and Mindenhurst development in Deepcut, Surrey, said an increase in female numbers was needed in construction roles across the country.

“There are more women in the industry, but not enough in construction positions,” she said. “Not in terms of site or project managers.

“There needs to be an increase and that’s why I joined Bovis Homes, which is all about equality and the promotion of women within their ranks – that was the attraction for me.

“The construction industry needs to improve. There is definitely progress but it needs to be quicker.

“We are ripping up the rulebook in terms of what’s possible in the construction industry and bringing fresh ideas and a different approach to what has always been a very male-orientated place.”

Suzanne left school at the age of 15 and set up in the painting and decorating industry, working for herself for 17 years, with clients including her local authority.

Living in London, she took evening classes in interior design and people management and later moved to Middlesex.

Suzanne went on to join a property developer as project manager in London, where she was employed for 13 years.

She said being a self-starter and determined had helped her forge a career and gain management experience. Now Suzanne, who is based at Bovis Homes’ Southern Counties regional office in Basingstoke, will help ensure the smooth running of her locations and act as a support lever.

“I had been watching Bovis Homes for more than five years and knew it was the housebuilder I wanted to work for,” she said. “I’ve seen the progress they’ve made in all parts of the business and I believe over the next few years they will be the benchmark for the industry.

“I will be supporting the site teams so that they are able to hit their targets and project aims. I will be an anchor and help across departments including with procurement, technical aspects and customer service.”

Suzanne said that a successful area build manager needed to be a good listener, impartial, have strong people skills and show they can be trusted.

She added her management experience had developed her project skills as well as her knowledge of dealing with technical drawings and planning.

Andy Knight, regional build director, also based in Basingstoke, said: "Suzanne has had a great start at Bovis Homes and we're so excited to have her join the team.

"More women need to join the housebuilding industry, particularly in construction roles, for the future success of the sector."