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Get to know our team – James Kirkwood

James Kirkwood is the Project Lead of Inertia’s Building Civil team.   As well as being a civil engineer, James has a solid understanding of property and development, research, feasibility and business development.   James gives us a bit of insight into what drives him and where value can be added to infill development projects.

What’s your role?

Civil Project Manager / Civil Engineer

What do you love about the job?

I love collaborating on projects.  Finding the solution that is cost effective and benefits the project team – ultimately benefiting the development as a whole is a great feeling.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I lead our Building – Civil team – so I mostly tackle the infill developments such as; apartments and townhouse projects, childcare, industrial and other more unique uses within the city too.

I have definitely noticed an increase child care and industrial recently – townhouses and splitter blocks are still moving at pace as well.

Where do you think the most value can be added in these types of Projects? 

I’ll break this down into 5 key points:

Good Planning – right from the start. Developments with a clear vision, great management and solid due diligence always bring better value to the client.  Engaging a consultant who partners and shares a common goal with the developer is essential to a project’s success.

Early collaboration – involving us early in any development stage is going to save a developer time and money.  We are commonly engaged early with many of our long-term clients to identify a site’s potentials and also its constraints.

Know your site – having a good understanding of your stormwater options is a big one in SEQ – pumped stormwater detention and the requirements for flood management can be very expensive.  If your site grades away from the road or you are in a flood overlay make sure you are well informed of your sites constraints – as well as the opportunities.

Know your costs – At Inertia, we offer a multi-disciplinary approach, with civil and structural engineering – and project management to boot.  This allows us to comment on the costs associated with shoring, retention and footings, along with the civil and building aspects too. Information produces realistic expectations – and there is huge value in that for all parties.

Experience with council and service providers (i.e Queensland Urban Utilities – QUU) – a good understanding of local authority processes and requirements can save a lot of stress and time delays.   Many local authority systems are difficult to get your head around and can feel ambiguous or vague at times.  As an endorsed consultant for authorities like QUU, we can offer clarity in design and construction requirements, as well as easement requirements and the certification process.

What do you enjoy about working at Inertia?

The culture for sure.  The team here are people who love a laugh and really enjoy getting stuck into their projects.  Also, Inertia’s approach to projects as a whole, I love being a part of a development team, it’s a nice point of difference from other firms.

What’s the most useful thing you‘ve learned throughout your career? 

I’d say that the most important thing I’ve learnt is to continually develop relationships – I guess this applies professionally and outside of work too.

Those that value relationships are more likely to listen to one another; sometimes the communication may become less frequent – I always find it becomes much more effective.