As a way to introduce the team to partnering companies and the market in general, we’re starting a series of interviews with our key people. Today’s interviewee is Bogdan Oprea, the company’s Contracts Manager, who is well known for his attention to detail. We hope you enjoy the conversation.
- Q: Bogdan, tell us a little bit about yourself, what’s your role at Specialist Ceramics and what does your day-to-day look like?
- A: Well, shortly after I started with the company I had a good amount of sites, doing quality control and site visits, ordering materials, managing workload and scheduling for tilers, ordering materials, site meetings and so on. Currently I’m managing 18 sites myself.
- Q: What was your greatest challenge while at Specialist Ceramics?
- A: I believe a big one was wight when I started. I took up 11 sites and one was with Henry Construction, the Victoria Square project. It was 1 month behind when I arrived and within 1 month we recovered and finished in time. Personally, this was my first site in the UK. Tiling is a big challenge because tilers sometimes are not on site on an ongoing basis so we need to manage workload carefully. On top of that we are a finishing trade and the push of delays and the pressure of deadlines is on top of us despite us being perfectly on schedule.
- Q: What is it like working at one of the few companies in the construction industry that has its offices on a fully remote basis?
- A: Not a big difference, in the beginning I was a bit fearful for the communication flow and how the site could reach the office. It’s going well and having written communication has made it more time flexible because I can check everything on my own time and when I’m on site or wherever and urgent things we always take care of over the phone.
- Q: In our interview with Anthony, we talked about the Specialist Ceramic’s corporate culture and how shifting the focus towards the customer is the company’s unique value proposition. A key part of that lies in the ensuring high quality finishes, which in turn highly depends on your role. What are the key aspects of our activity that you particularly value, what makes up our standard for quality?
- A: First of all, not having snags, like drops of grout, misaligned tiles, uneven and not level tiles, window joints, trims, etc… The key is find good tilers and building a good team. Quality is guaranteed when building a team, before going on site. Then it’s just a matter of taking a look for details on site and it also depends a lot on the work from other trades being also high quality, which is something we never have full control over. Our Customer Care department also plays a big role by making sure we answer all questions and requirements.
- Q: We are currently hiring tilers and you also have a key part in onboarding new people. What do you look for in a tiler’s work and skills that is key for being aligned with our way of doing things?
- A: First comes experience, second the way of working and cultural fit with us, attention to detail, the ability to work with other trades and people on site, flexibility to take care of the work environment which is something we deeply care about. We like to make sure that after we leave, the site is clear and ready to receive other trades. We work with tilers from many places, Greece, Italy, Romania, Serbia, England etc. It’s very important that we build a company culture and environment based on inclusion so that everyone manages to work well with one another.
- Q: Bogdan, thank you for your time. Before we end this, any final thoughts you’d like to share?
- A: Sure! I would sum it up with this:
If you don’t care you don’t have quality.
We need to care about the client, the person who will live in the house we are building. You need to think “what if I was buying this house?”
I cannot think in another way!