CIOB Community

Meet a member: Anthony Carroll

5 April 2019

Why did you choose construction?

With four generations of construction in my family, it chose me. I began at 14 years of age: making tea, keeping welfare site office clean and tidy, and helping tradesmen.

I started a four-year apprenticeship in carpentry/joinery and weekends would be spent working with my uncle. Because of an economic downturn in Ireland I emigrated to London in 1987.

“I would like to see options for tradespeople with a minimum of seven years’ experience to move into management. Many are put off by the IT and bureaucracy but with help from the CIOB they can do it.”

Anthony Carroll MCIOB, Court Homes

I spent three years as a self-employed carpenter then in 1990 started my own business, but when the recession hit I decided to go back to college part time and studied for a HNC in building studies.

From 2004 I decided the best way to gain knowledge as a site manager was to work on as many projects of various types as possible and take the best from each.

You work as a freelancer in construction management now. What does this involve?

As a freelance site manager you are usually called in to help with a project that has fallen behind schedule or is in danger of it and needs a push. It’s often firefighting in a pressurised environment, like a school that has to be handed over in September,
so there is a big responsibility to meet deadline.

As a freelance you pay for your own training, don’t get paid holidays or sick leave. But it has afforded me time with my kids, and to refurbish my home and visit my family in Ireland.

It has allowed me to build up a diverse all-round knowledge of the construction process. I have been fortunate to work on some fantastic projects from stadiums to high-rise and from new-builds to heritage proejcts.

What change would you like to see in the industry?

Better training for apprentices: the NVQ system is not producing quality competent tradespeople.

If I was a 14-year-old lad now I would be put off by the amount of theory.

I would like to see options for tradespeople with a minimum of seven years’ experience to move into management. Many are put off by the IT and bureaucracy but with help from the CIOB they, like me, can do it.

I would make it compulsory for all quantity surveyors, architects and directors to sit an SMSTS course. This would give them a better understanding of what a site manager deals with.

I would like to see freelance managers more appreciated by all. Perhaps a Freelance Construction Manager of the Year Award! 

What do you do in your spare time?

One of my daughters has been a competitive swimmer for the past six years. The other daughter keeps me busy taking her out to lunch and window shopping. I enjoy keeping fit and struggling with the guitar.


Anthony Carroll MCIOB is project manager for Court Homes


Congratulations on your progress in the Construction world. I'm sure there are lots of people who can understand the progress that you made. I am from Ireland too and worked in London in the late 60s and early 70s when there was no work for me here. The safety of workers in those times was not great. Accidents were rife and not reported as there were those of us who were afraid of losing their job. How times have changed.
In relation to your comments about apprentices, I agree with you. Young men and women want to learn their trade and be good at what they have chosen. Being an apprentice with an experienced trades person is the only way, in my opinion, to become a good trades person. Obviously, there is a need to learn at a training centre too. The emphasis, however, must be on learning on the tools.
In relation to site managers, my experience over the time that I've been involved in the Construction world is that the best site managers come from those who have actually worked hands on. These people recognise the issues that arise daily and need addressed. Of course, going to college to further one's education is absolutely important. Young people with potential need to pushed in that direction if it is seen that they have the ability. If I wasn't pushed, I wouldn't be where I am today.
In conclusion, you are an excellent ambassador for the Construction Industry. I hope some young people will read this and follow in your footsteps.

SEAN MORGAN, 8 April 2019

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