Staff Profile - Darren Arnold
Meet Darren Arnold - Advanced Buildings’ Commercial Project Manager in Victoria
Darren Arnold has over 35 years’ experience in the building industry.
Starting as an electrical apprentice at the age of 15, Darren admits to lacking a ‘big plan’ for his future at that stage.
“To be honest, I just wanted to get out of school,” Darren explains. “Little did I know, that doing my apprenticeship was the beginning of a long commitment to the building trade.”
Having completed his A grade qualifications as an electrician, Darren obtained his electrical contractor’s licence. He worked for some time in the concrete precast industry. Starting in production, his job involved steel fixing, concreting and installing precast panels. He eventually moved into the office. Here, his job included quoting, managing production and installation, and overseeing the general running of the business.
“I eventually went back to school and obtained my builder’s licence. Once I had that, I started running my own business. I built everything from pergolas, decks, units, houses, factories to swimming pools.
“After doing this for years, I began to get a little tired of running my own business. I was working ‘on the tools’ during the day and then coming home to continue working on quotations and bookwork, or looking at jobs on the weekends. My ‘work-to-pay’ ration was definitely out of balance!”
Darren’s role as Commercial Project Manager for the Victorian team, makes use of his diverse experience and skills.
“A typical day sees me looking at upcoming projects, checking over budgets and forecasts and problem-solving. The major part of my role involves supporting three site supervisors to ensure projects run efficiently, to budget and with a quality finish.
“Helping others in the team is something I quite enjoy. Not only do I make sure things go right on each job, I also try and pass on some of my knowledge, while keeping the supervisors happy and efficient with what they do.”
Keeping ‘everybody happy’ is one of the biggest challenges of the job.
“We have quite a few clients - the insured, the adjuster and the insurer. They all have different goals, so it’s important to manage these while keeping everyone content and just getting on with completing the build on budget.”
Darren has worked on hundreds of projects, but he cites the rebuild of the administration centre at Port Phillip Prison as one of the most interesting.
“The Port Phillip Prison was a one where I needed to deal with many different agendas. I wasn’t able to communicate with the client (the prison) directly. I had to deal with them through a project manager. It was their job to minimise the insurer’s costs.
“The prison was also quite a challenging environment because of the security constraints required during the building process. Part of the build involved the upgrading of 20-year-old security infrastructure. Although the job was quite challenging at times, it was also very rewarding.”
Darren is proud of how far he’s come in his career.
“Even though I left school early with a minimal education, I was able to pursue different avenues and achieve competencies in several different areas.”
Asked what makes working for Advanced Buildings different from other places he’s worked, Darren replies:
I’ve worked for only a handful of companies over the years. The thing that I found with Advanced Buildings is that the culture is great and they care for their staff. I feel like I’m part of a team working towards a goal that we all want to achieve.
Out of work time, Darren loves sport and likes to compete in marathons and other endurance events. He’s also looking forward to travelling more now that his children are getting older.
“I like the idea of travelling more without having to pay airfares for five people! We’re heading to Budapest and Croatia next year.”
“Career-wise, I would like to step-up in time into a construction manager’s role, but only when the time is right.”