An interview with Caroline Morton, CDM Health & Safety Advisor at Summers-Inman

How long have you worked for Summers-Inman?

I started working for Summers-Inman in November 2019, just before the first wave of the pandemic.

How did you get into your current role?

Originally I wanted to be an architect but quickly realised that I loved the logical side of the role, so I changed courses and completed an MEng in Civil Engineering at Newcastle University. Before Summers-Inman, I worked at an Engineering Consultancy for over 5 years before deciding I wanted to move further into the Health & Safety side of construction. I completed my NEBOSH Construction Certificate and now I am part of the CDM Health & Safety Team working on a wide range of projects throughout the UK at the design stage and beyond.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role?

My role is to ensure that Health and Safety procedures, in line with the CDM 2015 Regulations, are adhered to throughout the design and build stages of a project; that designers and contractors ensure H&S is considered throughout the whole project from initial concept stages to completion. So really the best place for me to start is the beginning of a build. I ensure that designs adhere to health and safety regulations, keeping the contractors and ultimately the building inhabitants safe.

What type of projects do you work on?

As a team, we work on a huge range of projects, from new build schools, residential housing, water plants, bus depots, refurbishments of old buildings, healthcare and leisure schemes, to name but a few!

What would you say is the most important aspect of your role?  

Understanding the latest health and safety requirements and making sure that these are applied at the design stage and beyond, working together with the designers and contractors on each scheme.

From your own experience, what would you say are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry is the ageing workforce and lack of diversity. Due to the ongoing stereotype of the industry, it is failing to successfully promote construction careers and opportunities to younger generations and diverse ranges of people. Positively, there are more schemes coming to light by organisations such as NAWIC, G4C, CENE and the CIC to name a few who are focussing on ways to promote the industry to all audiences and show the variety of opportunities available within the sector.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the industry?

I am the Chair of the North East branch of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and I dedicate a lot of time to working with women across the industry to prove that it really is a great environment for them to work in. We work with schools to give them real-life examples of how varied and interesting it is to work in construction, we mentor students at Northumbria University to prepare them for working life and during the pandemic we offered virtual support (to replace our usual networking evenings), so I would say, don’t think twice! It’s a great industry to work in and there are some fantastic companies out there that really support women in the industry and value their perspective.

What’s it like working for Summers-Inman?

It’s great, the team I am part of support each other and work together on our projects, sharing the different skills and knowledge areas we all have to deliver a collaborative approach. Summers-Inman is a company that is changing with the times to provide a great work-life balance and provide training and upskilling opportunities to ensure their staff can deliver their projects to the best of their ability. It’s a really collaborative environment and people are all open to learning from one another. Senior people see the value that the next generation can bring to the table and vice versa.

And finally, what would career plan B have been?

I would have loved to be a teacher. I really love bringing the best out of people and coaching them-which is great, because I get to do this in my role at NAWIC, so I get the best of both worlds really!

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