From Cadet to Graduate and Beyond: Adam Harris

Adam Harris joined White Associates in February last year as part of our cadet programme. Our fifth cadet in the four years that White Associates’ cadet programme has been running, Adam has been working three days a week in our Auckland office while he finishes off his final year of university studies at Unitec. The cadet programme is designed to equip future quantity surveyors with the skills and experience required to kickstart their careers.

“I am studying a Bachelor of Construction majoring in Construction Economics, which is pretty much quantity surveying,” he says. “I took construction at school and took a liking to it. They taught us the basics of the construction industry, and I’ve always enjoyed maths. So, from there the two combined to lead me towards the world of quantity surveying.”

While in his first year at Unitec, Adam undertook what he describes as ‘a very extensive Google search through the construction companies’ to find QS firms that might be the place for him to start his career. “I looked up White Associates, and I was engaged by how client-driven they are, how it’s all about being fair in the construction industry. That really caught my eye. I didn’t even see the cadet programme opportunity, I just happened to apply at the right time.

Then I got the email saying that I was accepted. It was quite exciting.”

It is good news that although the world of work is undeniably different to life as a student, Adam’s early view marries up with his experience now he is established in the White Associates team. “School life is very different to work, but I am enjoying it. The main thing we talk about here is being fair. It’s about making sure that the contract is being administered in a way where everyone is following the contract correctly, and it’s a good team vibe.”

Over the last six months, Adam has taken on work on his own vertical built demolition project, doing site visits and making recommendations. “The main thing I have found about the construction industry is the importance of relationships. Being able to communicate with the contractor and client without feeling nervous about it, having open communication gets the desired outcome for everyone. The White Associates team and the contractor have been welcoming and supportive to me.”

One thing Adam has found helpful along the way is meeting a number of other previous cadets at White Associates. “When I first arrived, we had a session in the first week with previous cadets, Corize and Olivia. We discussed how the cadet programme works, what they’ve enjoyed about it, and any challenges. It was good to learn from them, and I am still enjoying learning every day. There are so many experienced people around our office that are willing to help you out. The learning opportunities have been great, and on top of that it’s been good while I was at uni because the cadetship gives you lots of flexibility. It’s not a set three days a week; it can be whatever suits your timetable, obviously through talking with the management team. That’s good when stress gets high if you’ve got some exams coming, and I do have exams coming up!

“I’m excited to see a project from the start to the end, which would be quite useful for my growth as well. I like the fact that White Associates has such a broad range of projects; it’s interesting to see a whole lot of different projects, especially early on in my career. I’ve really been exposed to pretty much everything.

“My first project in the construction industry, something to really look forward to.”

White Associates strengthens shareholder structure to support growth

White Associates strengthens shareholder structure to support growth

This time last year we announced that at a time of growth we were adding a new director and three new associates.

One year on, it is with great pleasure that on our 18th birthday as a company we are coming of age and announce a new progressive company milestone that is all about further strengthening our leadership and shareholding structure, developing our people and supporting the continued growth of our business into the future.

We have added three new shareholders

Traditionally, White Associates has been owned by shareholding directors. For the first time, as part of our succession planning and our work to provide more opportunities for our team, we have added three minority shareholders who are staff but not directors.

In this first intake, Company Associates Richard Moore, Elliot Smith and Justin Bearne have bought into the business and have become shareholders. All three are well-recognised people within our business, and we are excited that they see a long-term future here.

Konrad says: “Adding new shareholders from within our own ranks is a hugely exciting step for White Associates. We have been talking consistently over the past year about how we set ourselves up for our next steps in our business growth, strengthening our structure and processes while providing a clearer pathway for our people to progress within our company. It is important to note that we will continue to look at our structure as we grow to provide further, future opportunities for people within our business to buy into it. This is not a one-time-only activity.”

“We want to build a strong, stable and rich working environment for our team as we grow, and enable our directors to work on the business as well as with our clients so we can develop and grow further still.”

The future looks green; budgeting in the construction industry

The dollar has been unchallenged at the head of the budget table since its inception, but is that about to change?

As the voice of embodied carbon gets louder, one question starts to emerge into the foreground: could a carbon budget overthrow the monetary budget in our near future?

In our view, it could – for two reasons.

Firstly, our Government has passed legislation that makes climate-related disclosures mandatory for some large financial market participants from financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2023. Although this requirement is due to be phased in gradually – and currently only applies to large publicly listed companies, insurers, banks, non-bank deposit takers and investment managers – not only will it widen to other sectors over time, but it will also have an early trickle-down effect into the development and construction sectors that constitute substantial proportions of their lending and insurance books.


Secondly, many large developers and constructors in New Zealand and overseas have responded to their government and other clients’ desire to improve environmental project performance – increasingly weighted in procurement processes – by creating strategies to move ahead in this area. Then they look to publicly disclose their intent and progress in annual sustainability reports. In turn, these reports are being increasingly scrutinised for vague or unfulfilled claims, in some instances leading to a rise in so-called ‘greenwashing’ lawsuits. In fact, the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment announced late last year that there are more than 2,000 climate change litigation cases underway around the world, more than double those taking place in 2015.

The effect of these two factors is clear

Unambiguous embodied carbon targets are rising in importance. So, although we have seen them enter the conversation on projects but not yet taking precedence over dollars, we ask: could we be approaching the tipping point?

Government clients are increasingly requiring the first steps along this path. A late-2022 Ministry of Education (MOE) release extract (below) shows how the Ministry is introducing carbon assessments for new builds, a natural first step that will no doubt be followed by additional steps. And the MOE is by no means alone in this area.

The Ministry of Education put out a news release late last year saying:

Carbon assessment for new build projects

As part of Te Mahere Taiao – The Environmental Action Plan for School Property – we are progressively implementing embodied carbon and operational carbon assessment requirements and targets for Ministry-led new builds.

Upcoming requirements:

Ministry-led new build projects contracted after 1 September 2022, with a capital value over $8m, will be required to conduct Life Cycle Assessments. It is optional and encouraged for all Ministry-led new build projects to opt-in and conduct Life Cycle Assessments.

Our intention is to progressively incorporate carbon assessment into business-as-usual processes and our design standards (within DSNZ) at a pace that the industry is capable of accommodating.

We are starting with high value projects, embodied carbon calculations, and simplified energy use calculations. Next year, we will progress to lower value projects and include whole-of-life operational carbon reporting. We will keep design teams updated with timelines and any changes to our requirements.

As public and private sector clients become more environmentally conscious and demand more sustainable building practices, becoming increasingly aware of the carbon footprint of building projects, they will prioritise low-carbon materials and construction methods. This will put pressure on the construction industry to prioritise carbon budgets over financial budgets in order to meet client demands.

Private companies and individuals are already taking steps to reach the targets that Government departments are striving for. This work applies not just to the big construction companies but also consultancies, subcontractors, suppliers and other smaller companies further down the supply chain, all of whom are being / going to be asked by their Tier 1 contractor clients to do more too as time progresses.

One thing is for sure: carbon budgets are emerging into importance, and it is possible that overall carbon budgets for a project might even overtake financial budgets in the construction industry of New Zealand – as the financial budget might end up by being just a component of the carbon budget, rather than the other way around.

The construction industry will need to play its part in reducing emissions, and carbon budgets will be an essential tool in achieving this goal.

How might this process work in practice?

Historically, clients come to us with a question of either, ‘here’s what we want to do. How much will it cost?’ or ‘I have a budget of $x, what can I do with it?’

This conversation is evolving into to, ‘here’s what we want to do. What is a reasonable embodied carbon target?’ Or ‘I have an embodied carbon limit of x. What can I do with it?’.

We are already helping clients by analysing embodied carbon on different options for designs to see which is the most efficient/lowest carbon option. This type of option engineering is just one way we can work alongside your design team to determine the most efficient embodied carbon option.

Companies looking to make the most of this process should come and talk to us. The construction industry has operated for a long time with dollars defining budgets. We’re entering a fast-paced period of change over the next decade, and the winners will be those who respond well.

This article was contributed by White Associates' Richard Moore-Savage

Richard Moore-Savage, Associate
Richard Moore-Savage, Associate

From marketing and retail management to quantity surveying

Last month Olivia, our most recently graduated cadet, was featured in Open Polytechnic’s Student Stories.

Looking for a change from retail management and marketing, Olivia de Rooy found the “numbers side” of studying quantity surveying through Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga the perfect fit.

Olivia, who is based in Queenstown, recently completed the New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6) (Quantity Surveying)  through Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga.

The 26-year-old is pleased she decided to switch from marketing and retail management to quantity surveying in November 2020.

“With a marketing degree and a 10-year background in retail management I found the financial and numbers side of business the most interesting,” Olivia said.

“When COVID-19 hit, the fast-paced environment of retail diminished so I began looking for something else. As I loved the numbers side of retail management, and have always had a love for buildings, I decided to go down the route of Quantity Surveying.”

Olivia’s career switch from marketing and retail management to quantity surveying

Olivia completed a Bachelor of Business, Marketing and International Business degree from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia in 2018.

But while she enjoyed studying marketing, it was tough to find her dream job.

Olivia had thought that getting a degree in marketing would lead her straight into a corporate marketing role with standard business hours.

Instead, with plenty of competition for marketing jobs, she found opportunities in retail management, with varied work hours and days. And while she loved her career in retail, this was not what she had envisioned.

But a conversation with a friend in late 2020, nine months after she moved to Queenstown, changed things.

Her friend suggested that she should consider studying quantity surveying.

“I looked into it and thought, this is the perfect fit for me – the construction industry is fast-paced and exciting. And that’s how I decided to go back and study,” she said.

Another benefit of moving into quantity surveying was the opportunity to get practical experience, by combining on the job training with her study.

Olivia managed to get work while she was studying, as a cadet in the Queenstown-based office of White Associates, who are property and construction consultants and quantity surveyors.

“Having experienced multiple career changes, from marketing to retail management, I was really committed to finding experience as a quantity surveyor before finishing my studies, to ensure that this is exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.

Throughout her studies, Olivia worked part-time and studied full-time, and upon graduating, she moved into a full-time Junior Quantity Surveying role. While she is still relatively new to the industry, having the New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6) (Quantity Surveying)  through Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga has helped.

“Because of the foundations set by Open Polytechnic, I wasn’t a nuisance the first day in my job. I had somewhat of an idea of what I was doing,” she said.

“Construction is so complicated, there is so much more to quantity surveying than you realise. I think having the foundations through studying has definitely helped.”

According to Olivia, the company she is with now (White Associates), likes to promote from within their ranks and they are really supportive of current employees, so she knows there will definitely be future opportunities to come.

“They were very good throughout my studies. If I had any questions I would go straight to them,” Olivia said.

“There are four other cadets at the moment, so they do support students going through their study stages and then going full-time at the end of it.”

Studying with Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga

For Olivia, who has been living in Queenstown for three years, the decision to study through Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga was easy.

It provided her with the flexibility to complete a qualification online, from home, without having to travel to other cities regularly.

“As long as I met my deadlines for my assignments, it really suited my lifestyle, rather than sitting in a lecture and having to be there, it was great to be able to set time aside whenever I could fit it in.”

“I was quite efficient with studying and doing assignments at the same time. I could go through the modules as fast as I wanted to and do the assignments on the days that suited me and my work schedule, rather than waiting each week for what the lecturer puts out, like traditional face-to-face study.”

There are 16 courses in the diploma, and Olivia says she particularly enjoyed the ones that covered measurement and estimates as well as construction.

“The quantity surveying courses give you a really good foundation for measurement and rate build ups,” Olivia said.

“The general construction courses were also really helpful for someone like me, who doesn’t have a construction background. They gave me a good foundation about what goes into a building, from residential to commercial builds.”

Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga support

Studying online can have its challenges says Olivia, particularly if a student isn’t sure about what they are learning and has questions. In this situation, she found it could sometimes be hard to explain a question through the forums provided in the online learning platform. Olivia found in this situation it was important to make the most of the support provided by lecturers.

“My lecturer, Marius, was golden,” Olivia said.

“He was so supportive, always quick to reply to students, he was quite good at explaining if you weren’t sure what was going on with an assignment or a certain topic in the course.”

“I really appreciated him throughout the whole diploma.”

Advice for anyone thinking of getting into study

Olivia suggests doing some research into what you want to study beforehand and making sure it’s what you want to do before you commit.

“Obviously there is the financial aspect to it, but you are committing time out of your life,” she says.

“But if you are to study, I would say time management is the biggest thing you need, especially with the diploma being solely assignment based which can take up a lot of time. You need to be able to manage and juggle the workload.”

For Olivia, work and study needs to be balanced with leisure activities.

She keeps active and makes the most of the sports on offer around Queenstown, including skiing, mountain biking, Pilates and hiking, as well as catching up with friends and family.

“I live in Queenstown for the lifestyle, so it was really important to be able to maintain that throughout the two-year course. I think all students should keep a healthy study, work, and lifestyle balance in mind and luckily, studying through Open Polytechnic allows that,” she said.

Future plans

Now that she has completed her diploma, Olivia says she may eventually do a degree, but for now, is enjoying focusing on her job.  Enjoying her work at White Associates, she hopes to progress into an intermediate role, and then a senior role.

“I love White Associates, and there’s a lot happening in Queenstown – it’s definitely growing.  It’s a great place for me to stay career-wise.”

White Associates strengthens leadership structure to support growth 

At White Associates we are strengthening our leadership structure in order to develop our people and support the continued growth of our business into the future.

We are broadening our director base

Alongside Konrad Trankels, Graham White, Justin Maritz and Darin Bayer we are pleased to announce that Brett Zeiler has taken the opportunity offered to become a director of our business. A well-recognised leader within our business, Brett has been instrumental in helping us achieve much over recent years, and his directorship is well earned.


Says Brett: “It has always been my ambition to become a shareholder – director of a company, and particularly this company, where the whole team right through to the directors and shareholders work so well together. It has always felt like  such a natural fit for me within the White Associates team, and it is hugely rewarding for me to be invited into the ownership structure. I’m really looking forward to an exciting future working within a great team.”

We have created a new Associate level and appointed four Associates

As part of our succession planning and to provide more opportunities for our team, we have created an Associate level to provide opportunities for our emerging leaders to lead the management and delivery of our projects.

It is a natural progression to promote four of our senior QSs to being Associates, and our first four Associates are Muriel Gondipon, Weng Tan, Ian Chamberlain and Jesse-Paul Conradie, all of whom are well recognised in our team as exceptional people and leaders of client work.

Our four Associates are now the key operational managers of our client work, holding the day-to-day leadership role in managing our project delivery. Working closely with our directors and their own teams, they will cover at least two spectrums of work each:

  • Muriel – post-contract and advisory
  • Weng– post-contract and funding
  • Ian – post-contract and advisory
  • Jesse-Paul – funding and advisory

Our Associates will also work with our senior QSs, our intermediates and juniors to bring our cadets in and up through the business.

All White Associates clients will continue to have a director involved in their projects

This structural strengthening improves our ability to provide great service and adds to our quality oversight and control. It makes our service more resilient and demonstrates to our clients the trust and value we place on our key people, giving our clients greater access to our senior staff.

Konrad Trankels says: “This new structure sets White Associates up for the next step in our growth as a business. As our team has grown past 30 people, we needed to strengthen our structure and processes to deliver projects effectively for clients and to maintain the level of service we aim to deliver for our clients.

“As a maturing organisation, these changes will enable our directors to focus more on our business strategy and the future needs of our clients while providing experienced Associate leaders to manage projects. We want to build a strong, stable and rich working environment for our team as we grow, and enable our directors to work on the business as well as with our clients so we can develop and grow further still.”

Justin Maritz adds: “This is great news for our people because it opens up potential for everyone in the company to grow. We have always said that we are focused on building the company and leaders from within. We needed to create a step up between senior QS and Director to provide growth opportunities for our people. The Associate role creates a promotion pathway for people who are exceptional at managing clients and projects, and this new structure is a natural progress that adds value to the company and our clients.

“As we grow, we are still relentlessly keen to provide a great quality of service along with great quality control. Now we have the ability to acknowledge the skillsets of people delivering on projects and give our people a clear pathway to growth. It is an exciting time for our company, our people, our clients, and our prospects as a business.”

Sustainable Coastlines Planting Day

Tree Planting Day

The Sunday before New Zealand went into our second Level 4 lockdown the White Associates whānau and our friends at ASC Architects & Bluewater Project Management were lucky enough to be able to hold a tree planting day along the coastline of the Te Atatū Peninsula 🌱🍃🌲

We managed to plant over 400 native plants which will help protect, regenerate & maintain these areas for years to come!

A special thanks to Sustainable Coastlines for helping us to organise this special day !

INTRODUCING: Olivia de Rooy – From Queensland to Queenstown

White Associates is excited to welcome our latest Cadet, Olivia de Rooy who joined the Queenstown office in April this year.

Originally from Cairns, Olivia moved to the Gold Coast to study a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing and International Business at Griffith University. After completing the three-year degree, she realised that as much as she enjoyed the study, she didn’t want to pursue a long-term career in marketing.

Having arrived in Queenstown with her Kiwi partner three weeks prior to last year’s lockdown, Olivia was introduced to quantity surveying by a family friend.

“This conversation sparked something in me. I’m now in my third semester studying a Diploma in Construction Management, majoring in Quantity Surveying through Open Polytechnic. I love the numbers and factual side of quantity surveying and feel I’ve finally found my niche.”

Olivia was introduced to Elliot Smith who leads the White Associates Queenstown office.

“We were looking to grow the team and introduce a cadet into the local business,” says Elliot,

“Olivia has hit the ground running! She brings a high-level of attention to detail and is enthusiastically supporting us on the wide variety of projects that we are working on within Queenstown and across the South Island.”

Having enjoyed her first four months, Olivia’s impression of White Associates is an organisation that is close knit, supportive and helpful.

“It’s fantastic to be part of a small local team but still feel so connected to the wider business.

“The work to date has been really interesting. It’s analytical and I love the challenge of understanding the detail and finding ways to make positive change that helps the client and overall project outcomes.”

Currently she is providing support for the team working on the Queenstown projects in Jacks Point including North Villas, Clubhouse Lane and Willow Pond. Olivia is absorbing the onsite learning, adapting her previous experience in retail management to hone her communication skills and build strong relationships with clients across the South Island.

Muriel Gondipon, Senior Quantity Surveyor at White Associates, who leads the cadet and mentoring programme for White Associates says:

“Over the 24-month cadet programme Olivia will be introduced to different disciplines and competencies of a quantity surveyor consultant via five key milestones. These provide a learning opportunity and overview of the skills required to help her progress within the industry and organisation. Additionally, we touch base fortnightly to discuss topics and any issues to ensure she feels supported both personally and professionally.”

Read more about our Cadetship Programme here 

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day

Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!

Celebrated annually around the globe, Pink Shirt Day began in Canada in 2007 when two students took a stand against homophobic bullying, after a new student was harassed and threatened for wearing pink. The next day hundreds of students turned up to school in pink, some from head to toe, to stand together against bullying.

Pink Shirt Day is now a global movement, and is celebrated by schools, workplaces and communities around Aotearoa each year.

In support of the movement, on 21st May, White Associates proudly wore pink and ran a fun raffle which raised $250 for the Mental Health Foundation. These funds will help to continue to raise awareness about bullying prevention and provide resources that promote inclusive workplaces, schools and communities nationwide.


Pink Shirt Day 2


Give A Little Month

Give A Little Month

2020 has been a crazy year (so far!)

Covid-19 has affected all parts of our society and sadly had a huge impact on the ability of charities, NGOs and not-for-profit organisations to generate income.

Funding is an essential for these organisations to continue to do the good work that they do but now unable to rely on traditional fundraising methods (e.g. face-to-face work, donations, and volunteering) it is difficult for them to raise the much-needed funds to keep them going.

At White Associates we wanted to do our small part and set out to raise $1,500 in the month of September in what we called “Give A Little Month”.

To add some spice and extra community spirit, we held 5 different events over 5 weeks in the office.

These “Give A Little” events included:

  • Commit Your Commute – we encouraged staff to donate the money they saved on their commute over lockdown
  • Bacon & Egg Brekkie Rolls – on World Suicide Prevention Day – Friday, 10th September – we started our day with a bacon and egg roll and some open conversations about mental health and wellbeing
  • Packed Lunches – we encouraged the staff to make their own lunch and donate what they would have paid for a takeaway to charity instead
  • High Tea Party – the management team competed in a bake off which was judged at a high tea party in the office
  • Raffle – we auctioned off some great prizes inhouse.

Through these various events we managed raise over our $1,500 target and have decided to divvy the funds across four different charities chosen by the entire team:

  1.  Auckland City Mission
  2. MATES in Construction
  3. Mental Health Awareness Foundation NZ
  4. Life Community

More about the charities:

Auckland City Mission

The Mission, a longstanding client of White Associates, provides integrated social services to anyone seeking assistance such as the isolated elderly, rough sleepers, people living in cars and inappropriate housing. Others are battling addictions, living with mental health issues, or struggling to feed their families over a period of unexpected crisis.

MATES in construction logo

MATES in Construction has 3 key focus areas to work towards their vision of significantly improving mental wellness and reducing suicide in the construction industry:

  1. To advance mental health and social services in New Zealand by promoting the prevention and control of mental illness for people engaged in the construction industry.
  2. Providing leadership for our people to gain better access to mental health services.
  3. Building a stronger more resilient workforce.

The Mental Health Foundation NZ provide free information and training, and advocate for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness, and also their families/whānau and friends.

Life Community

Life Community provides practical help to the community through many initiatives including

  • Soup Kitchens
  • Christmas boxes
  • Community Support Networks

and much much more…

Staff Headshot

Gabi Rayneau: championing the Broader Outcomes at White Associates

Long ago, in the dim and distant days before Covid, White Associates took an evolutionary leap forward as a company. Inspired by the announcement of the Wellbeing Budget in 2018, and realising the importance of the opportunities offered by the Construction Accord and Broader Outcomes, we created a framework to deliver on these documents and help us start an altogether new journey as a business.

This decision was grounded in the company’s desire to contribute to the potential of New Zealand, not be a drain on it, says Michelle Pou, White Associates’ Business Manager.

“At White Associates, we know that the work we do, and the way we do it as a team of people, contribute to the sustainability of the economic, social, environmental and cultural world we inhabit in New Zealand.


“We understand that we enable projects to take place through identifying risks and dependable costs through the lifecycle of each asset we’re involved withwhich can last for many decades. We’retherefore not overstepping the mark by acknowledging that we play a role in the stewardship of the health, safety and environment of the people around us.

This means, she says, that it became obvious to the team that it was necessary to change White Associates’ game in this area, consigning the old CSR plan to history and taking a new approach.

We wanted to create a new structure to help us identify and deliver initiatives that can benefit the people and world around us.


Wtherefore spent time creating and debating a framework to guide our actions in the office and on projects – a simple structure to deliver tangible benefits for our communities as we go about our business.”

Activating our own Broader Outcomes approach in delivery 

All positive so far. However, it then became clear that this important project also offered an opportunity to put the Broader Outcomes into practice by developing the skills of White Associates’ own people in its implementation 

Staff Headshot

As Education is one of the key values of the company, it seemed a perfect fit to involve Gabi Rayneau, a member of the White Associates team who is also in her third year of Bachelor of Business degree at AUT, majoring in Sustainable Enterprise and Management. Working alongside Michelle to deliver the project, it has become a powerful training and development opportunity at the same time as delivering tangible value to the company. 

As part of the course, students are required to undertake a nine-week, full-time work placement in an environment directly related to their major. Described as ‘co-operative education’, the placement is designed to help graduates to hit the ground running with workplace experience in their chosen field. 

Fleshing out a framework 

Gabi is using this placement to flesh out White Associates’ framework under the social, sustainable, economic and cultural headings, and to develop KPIs to measure the company’s activity and performance as a sustainable enterprise.

“Sustainable Enterprise is about business of the future,”

she says.

“It focuses on the role of business and organisations in supporting both social and environmental sustainability. We learn to strategize, engage, and negotiate with a wide range of stakeholders, including community, retailers, suppliers, consumers, and NGOs. Sustainable enterprise informs consumer choices, provides community services, drives environmental projects, and transforms organisational strategies and practices.”

The opportunity to carry out the placement was a big part of Gabi’s attraction to White Associates.

When I originally applied for a job at White Associates, they talked about what they were doing in the world of sustainability. I thought it would be a great challenge; a really good opportunity to understand how a business of this type works, while developing activities and approaches in this important area.”

Surveying White Associates’ goals and activities 

Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to benchmark performance, Gabi is undertaking a survey of the goals that White Associates people are interested in achieving, and across which social performance areas. She will also examine the company’s delivery efforts to date, using the framework to evaluate performance against the SDGs, before presenting her findings to the management team. Once over these hurdlesGabi will then create a series of new policies and delivery plans.


UN Sustainable Business Goals

“By using these goals as general guidance for the targets we set for our business,

she says,

aim to connect the activities we are already doing to the SDGs, measure performance, and then find aspects of sustainability to focus on that are of use to everyone. It’s all about strengthening the efforts that are already in place, and developing new goals and initiatives for our business to implement and integrate over the course of three years. It is a tremendous opportunity for me to understand how sustainability fits within the world of quantity surveying, so I can help the team as they go out onto site.

Alongside this, Gabi will also look into the psychology side of change, trying to understand and acknowledge the psychological barriers that ultimately enable or stop change from happening. 

It is important for me to understand the people I’m working around,” she saysI will work to understand what motivates people around change – and why people might feel that they can’t do new things. Luckily, the guys are already doing things in this space. I know people here are interested and passionate about this topic, and it is good to have a great team supporting me. It’s all about starting the conversation, seeing what people are doing, finding the gaps, and figuring out how we can implement change.

With commitment given by the leadership team to this approach and framework, setting up a focus group to identify and implement initiatives – and then report to the board every month on actions that deliver on the strategy – White Associates is taking strong new steps forward in this new area. Expect future reports.