People of the Precinct: Charlotte leads the charge at the Commonwealth

Women may be underrepresented across the country’s construction industry, but in Ipswich, they’re leading the way in the development of the emerging city heart, Nicholas Street Precinct.

As a new and expanded Commonwealth Hotel takes shape, Senior Project Manager Charlotte Batterham is in charge of making sure the project runs smoothly.

“Every day is different coming to work, and I have to be prepared for just about anything,” Charlotte said.

“I am constantly planning and monitoring the project, checking the progress of works onsite to the programme, and ensuring all the relevant approvals are in place, while taking a pragmatic approach to meet scope.

“The Commonwealth Hotel is a complex rebuild, extension and refurbishment project, and for a job like this there is significant consultation in the design stages and then ongoing throughout the construction.”

According to Master Builders Australia, there are about 1.3 million people working in the country’s building and construction industry, but women make up just 13.3 per cent.

To meet growth projections and replace workers that leave the industry, it is estimated the construction industry has a shortage of half a million skilled workers that needs to be addressed by the end of 2026.

Improving the attractiveness of the industry to women presents a massive opportunity to increase the pool of potential workers.

“I moved to Ipswich in 2012 to take up a position in a local construction company, and I haven’t looked back,” Charlotte said.

“When I first started, there really wasn’t many other women in the industry.  Now, that is rapidly changing.

“Project Management is for anyone who really enjoys solving problems, is highly organised, can think on their feet and can adapt to change quickly.

“If that sounds like you, then I encourage you to get involved, no matter your background. Diversity on projects is important for success.”

As a child Charlotte loved to read, and her insatiable curiosity eventually led her to university, juggling studies with motherhood, before she began her career in the construction industry.

Since joining Ranbury Management Group more than five years ago, Charlotte has completed both a law degree and certification with the Australian Institute of Project Management.

Charlotte’s advice is to not be afraid to get involved in the industry.

“If you have an interest, don’t be afraid to try a trade, explore different subjects at university such as construction management or quantity surveying, or apply for hands-on opportunities to see if being involved in a construction site is for you,” Charlotte said.

“Most importantly, believe in yourself and know you are valuable.”

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