September 20, 2023 | Articles
A relative newcomer to the construction industry, Assistant Quantity Surveyor (QS) GS Jaswanti has many reasons to take pride in her career achievements to date. With just over three years of experience, she has already worked on multiple QS and cost management assignments for Hill International Cost Consultancy’s (HICC) in India.
At present, Jaswanti is part of a QS team providing support services in quantification, bill of quantities (BOQ) preparation, and pre-contract services for residential and commercial buildings. She is also a part of HICC’s database team, collating rate lists from several regions and analyzing market and industry trends with reference to consumer price index and wholesale price indexes. In addition to her work for Hill, Jaswanti, who has a diploma in civil engineering, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
“At Hill, my site visits to various projects gave me an opportunity to take work on an interior fit-out assignment that I executed successfully and took it to completion,” Jaswanti said.
One of her major fit-out assignments – that Jaswanti holds dear to her heart – is Hill International’s relocation to its new office at the Olympia Technology Park in Chennai in late 2022.
“I worked as site in-charge and completed the interior project on schedule and not only within budget but with substantial savings,” Jaswanti says. “This was a morale booster as I came out my comfort zone and worked full time at the site to successfully complete the project.”
A Passion for the Built Environment
Jaswanti’s love for the built environment is one of the reasons for her ability to complete assignments on time and within budget.
“The most satisfying element to me is completing a project,” she points out. “It is always such a pleasure to develop an empty place into a usable, furnished asset as it imparts a sense of achievement. There is always a huge satisfaction when you complete a project.”
Jaswanti’s passion for the construction industry started in school.
“I always wondered how tall structures and towers are built … Later, I got to know of the contribution of engineers to building highrises and this played a role in my doing a diploma course in civil engineering,” she says, adding that while several of her colleagues were moving towards the burgeoning IT sector in India, Jaswanti stayed focused civil engineering which she says is the “best sector to work in.”
Prior to working with Hill, she worked for the government at a construction site for three months under a site engineer. “I always had a thought that being on site or visiting a site can give us a wider exposure to the construction industry,” she says. “And later at Hill I got the opportunity to supervise and visit sites to support the QS team.”
Industry Challenges and the Role of Women
There are both challenges and benefits associated with working as a woman in the construction industry, says Jaswanti.
“Some of the challenges I have faced include discrimination, having to deal with interruptions and distractions in the workplace, and having difficulty accessing and attaining the same levels of pay and job security as men,” she says.
However, Jaswanti also got the opportunity to work with a variety of different people and disciplines, and points out that, overall, working as a woman in the construction industry offers her invaluable knowledge across disciplines as she continues her career. Citing her assignment of Hill’s office relocation, Jaswanti said she got to know more about the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing and civil works.
If the success of the Chennai project is any indicator, Jaswanti has a bright future ahead with Hill.
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