Lauren Murphy of Taylor Alden speaks to Kris Bennell, Contracts Director of Associated Steel Window Services and long-standing SWA member.
How long have you been a member of the SWA?
ASWS has been a proud member(s) of the SWA since the late 1990’s.
What is the most exciting or interesting project you’ve worked on?
I think the full refurbishment of Hackney Town Hall, spread over four years, quite simply due to the history of the building and the size and quality of the workmanship across the whole project. The other would be the façade-enabling works undertaken at the historic Whiteleys Development. Personally overseeing and undertaking the full three-month window survey, and to then project manage the full removal and storage elements of the project which was the largest undertaking our company had ever assumed, was very rewarding.
What is a typical day like at ASWS?
Busy! With projects all over the South East, we are always on the move. As a family business, we pride ourselves on close management of all our projects, irrelevant of size or scale, but that does lead to more than a few busy days for us. We are up early, starting on site at 7am means early starts and lots of coffee. I then spend most of day in beautiful basement site offices all over London. Emails and phone calls take up most of my days, in between making sure the right windows go in the right holes!
Are there any challenges you’ve faced but overcome in the recent years?
One of the biggest challenges I think we face or have faced as an industry is working, training and learning about new techniques and methods, whilst also valuing the skills of the past, which help keep our heritage industry at the forefront of construction.
What is your fondest memory of being a part of the SWA?
I think the AGM celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the SWA, along with everyone else in our industry, at Borough Market was a real pleasure. It was also lovely to finally meet and see some of the people in the industry I had heard tales of over the years. In what is a very small industry, I really enjoy that all of our members can all get together and enjoy each other’s company, despite the fact that, come Monday morning, we are often in competition with each other for projects.
How long have you worked at ASWS?
Being a family business, I have worked, in some way or another, since I was about 10; although only full time since I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2012.
What was your first job?
At ASWS! I started out at the bottom of our business on site as a labourer. I have always felt it was important to work in every role we have as a business, so I can always have an awareness of what and how we do what we do and how we can try to do it better.
What was the best piece of advice you have been given?
Trust yourself and be confident. Something I have always been told is that, if you don’t trust yourself, why should anyone else? Having the confidence to make decisions and do things the way I want or think is best is something that has been very important as I have come through the business. My way is sometimes different to other people’s but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way, as there is often more than one way!
Where is your dream holiday destination?
It was always Antarctica, and I was lucky enough in 2009 to finally step foot on the world’s most Southernmost continent! But once wasn’t enough for this magical place and I still dream of undertaking an endurance ski to the South Pole.
Tipple of choice?
It’s got to be a locally brewed beer! And being based in South London, we have more than a few local breweries to explore and taste!
If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
Ignoring the obvious Astronaut or F1 driver, I think I would have loved to have been a teacher.
What is your death row meal – starter, main and dessert?
Fresh garlic butter BBQ prawns to start, followed by Pie and Mash with liqueur, then a cheese board with a lovely glass of red.