Annamie Thompson is a Divisional Quantity Surveyor in the civil division at ASLA, where she has worked for more than thirteen years. In 2003, she first enrolled to study for a Cartography degree, but after a few weeks realised that civil engineering was where her heart lay and changed her course. She completed a first practical year at consulting firm Calibra where, to fund her diploma, she stayed for the next four-and-a-half years. She studied part-time until 2008, however was able to return to full-time studies in 2009 with the support of her uncle. She graduated with a BTech Civil (Construction Management) from Cape Town University of Technology at the end of 2009.
“In 2010, when I applied and started working for ASLA, I didn’t realise at the time that ‘QS’ would be my career path. It has been interesting! Each day brings its own challenges and frustrations, and sometimes colleagues and I don’t see eye-to-eye. But, before you know it, you are laughing with that individual and the problems magically disappear,” says Annamie. “I think among the reasons I find the construction industry an easy fit is that I’m a straightforward, no-nonsense, goal orientated person, that doesn’t like a lot of fuss.”
What is the favourite part of your job?
“Being outdoors on site, as well as the dry humour and sarcasm of colleagues.”
And the least favourite?
“Easiest question. Paperwork… 😊”
What has been your most memorable project?
“Two infrastructure projects, that are a little different to our mainline housing infrastructure ones, stand out for me. The first one is a community sportsground at Villiersdorp that saw us move the foot of a hill… that involved a lot of earthworks (71 918m3), up the hill!
“The second one is a 2017/2018 water infrastructure project in Loeriesfontein, where we had previously laid overland pipelines running from farm boreholes to the town, that had been without water for five years. When the Department of Water & Sanitation was allocated a budget, we then constructed a full-on water mainline from the nine boreholes (each from a different farmer) and an over 34km underground pipeline through valleys and over hills. The works also included a booster pump station, and a treatment works. I really enjoyed the friendly community there, for which this project was lifechanging – I won’t forget it and the positive impact it had.
“The current project we are working on at Atlantis is also different and unique for me. It has a fairly long contract period; there is existing infrastructure that revolves around its own set of challenges, community and environmental considerations that form part of the contract; and I have also begun spending more time on site again.”
What do you enjoy about being on site?
“Working on site is very different to being in the office and it’s enjoyable to have a bit of both worlds. When I’m on a site, I will focus mostly on that site and every day is different – there really is no time to get bored. I also enjoy being amid the construction team and experiencing the camaraderie.”
What projects are you currently overseeing?
“In addition to Atlantis, I’m overseeing Dal Josafat, Villiersdorp Berg & Dal, as well as the remaining civil elements at Sir Lowry’s Pass. The other members of my team are based at their respective sites. Over the past seven odd years Pierre, who I report to, and I have recruited and trained a strong QS division, that includes Tristan, Alida, Justin, and Pieter.
“I could not wish for harder working or more dedicated personnel. To work as a QS, you need specific type of people who understand it is not a 9-5 job and are willing to go the extra mile each day – this team definitely does that!”
Who do you look up?
“I wish I had the business mind of Elon Mask, but, back to reality…. My dad was always the person who I looked up to, and now I strive each day to be the person with the good values he taught me. Workwise, I strive to be my own person, while learning from everyone around so that I can become a better version of myself. It helps to be working in an organisation where there are several senior colleagues from whom you can draw inspiration and insight.”
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
“I love the construction industry – it offers me the best of all worlds: being between the people, and the mix of the outside and inside work environments suits me.
“I’m always looking for new challenges, so during my next five years I would like to take on more diverse tasks that will challenge and develop my problem solving, communication, planning and management skillset and enable me to move up the career ladder.”