Career Journey – From Site Engineer to Contracts Manager

Our Contracts Manager, Brian Watters shares his journey into the industry and explains where it’s taken him as part of our series of career journeys in construction.

In 2004, Brian graduated from Heriot-Watt University with an Honours degree in Structural Engineering with Architectural Design and had the intentions of taking employment in consultancy.  With itchy feet, the world of employment was put on ice to travel the world and on his return the different career path in construction with a main contractor presented itself.

Brian joined Maxi Construction in November 2007 as a Site Engineer, covering the setting out requirements for all live projects.  His career aspiration was to progress into site management and the opportunity arose in Spring 2009; since then he has been involved in many of Maxi Construction’s complex projects. The first project he was involved in was a new storage unit in a West Lothian Council roads depot. “Taking the reins on my first project was daunting at first but I soon realised I was ready for the challenge and transition with the experiences and knowledge I’d developed.  Our Construction Director offered a great level of support in my continued development, which l will always be grateful for.”

Over the years, Brian’s extensive industry experience, attention to detail and proactive approach made him an integral part of the Project Management Team where he was Project Manager on the following complex projects:

Reconstruction of The Botanic Cottage, Edinburgh | £1.2m

The Botanic Cottage project involved the reconstruction of a 2-storey historic stone cottage using some salvaged materials from the original 1764 Georgian building designed by architects John Adam and James Craig. With the addition of 2 single storey wings the building provides 340m2 of space including teaching areas, lecture room, potting shed, office and toilets. The cottage was officially opened by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal on Thursday 15th December 2016 and went on to win the Scottish Civic Trust, My Place Awards 2017 and was also commended in the 2015 Georgian Group Architectural Awards.

Brian said “This re-construction project had the challenge of integrating modern construction with historic/conservation construction details.  It proved a very interesting challenge but a process that required a greater attention to detail”.

Botanic Cottage, Edinburgh
All images © Stewart Attwood Photography














Alteration and Refurbishment of Panmure House | £2.3m

Panmure House, a Grade A listed building and former residence of economist Adam Smith, was sympathetically refurbished and reconfigured for Edinburgh Business School to provide flexible accommodation for lectures, performances and seminars, including a Reading Room, Lecture Room, offices, kitchen and toilet facilities.

  “The client being Business School of Heriot-Watt University, it was full circle having graduated back in 2004.  The project was logistically and sequentially intricate, but the design and end product outweighed those difficulties.”

Panmure House Edinburgh All images © Paul Zanre Photography














Panmure House was formally opened on 8th November 2018, led by Rt Hon Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.














Considering Panmure House to be his favourite project of his career, Brian continued, “The history of the building, design intent and client enthusiasm for the project set a great platform for the project.  There was such a variety in the design, from basement retaining walls to stone pencheck stairs and timber wall paneling to bespoke high end finishes that made the build process continually interesting.  A project I’m extremely proud of.”

Following the successful completion of this project, Brian was promoted to the position of Contracts Manager in August 2018 and is currently allocated to the following:

Clackmannanshire Primary School and Early Years Framework | £3.1m

A range of design & build projects centred around the increase in nursery provisions for 2020, consisting of alteration and extension works to a number of primary schools within Clackmannanshire.

The 5 schools involved are: Alva Primary School, Craigbank Primary School, Deerpark Primary School, Park Primary School & Nursery and Menstrie Primary School.

Duncan Place Resource Centre | £1.8m

Internal refurbishment of an existing 3-storey, stone-built resource centre to form a local charitable community hub in Leith, Edinburgh. Work includes new M & E installations, suspended ceilings, wall linings, floor coverings, decoration and some minor external works

Speaking of his time with Maxi Construction, Brian said: “In my 11 years with Maxi Construction they have always given me the support, training and guidance to advance my career, something I’ll always be thankful for, and the diversity of projects we undertake keep things very interesting.  Construction offers so much variety and countless challenges that there’s never a dull moment.”

Construction offers lots of exciting and varied career paths! See more construction career journeys here.