Chestnut Homes female site manager is breaking stereotypes

Chestnut Homes female site manager is breaking stereotypes

In the property world, the role of site manager is one which is for the most part, very male-dominated. However, Olivia Riley, site manager at Lincolnshire housebuilder Chestnut Homes, is bucking that trend having worked her way up from a trainee to become the only female site manager at the business in just four years.

Olivia is responsible for Millers Walk, Chestnut Homes’ Sibsey development in Lincolnshire, where her role involves managing staff and contractors workloads, checking the quality of work on-site, as well as rigorously checking health and safety protocols are followed. She also works alongside the senior management team, to ensure it’s progressing on schedule.

Before joining, Olivia previously worked in a customer service role at Mercedes, but in 2020 she left to look for a new challenge. This led her to apply for Chestnut Homes’ trainee site manager role. But, not long into her training, the global pandemic hit, which greatly impacted businesses, including construction.

However, during that period, Olivia took the time to undergo 18 months of rigorous training, which included management courses such as the Site Management Safety Training Scheme and a week-long site management safety course. During her training, Olivia worked across six Chestnut Homes developments in Lincolnshire, gaining all the knowledge she needed for progression.

Working in a sales and customer-facing role at Mercedes provided Olivia with excellent people skills and enabled her to forge relationships easily with customers, something she carried with her to Chestnut Homes.

When discussing the importance of breaking the gender bias in the construction industry, she said: “Women are often underrepresented in this industry, however, it’s encouraging to see that Chestnut Homes have several women in leadership roles, and I’m proud to be one of them.

“As one of the only females on site, it has taken some time to learn the best way to work with contractors and staff, and people can sometimes be shocked that I am the site manager. But I’ve been lucky to not find any issues as a woman in this male-dominated role, and that’s down to the great people working at Chestnut Homes.

“To be a good site manager, you need to be organised, have great communication skills and be able to create an approachable and supportive environment. The construction industry is also currently in the midst of a mental health crisis, so I’m always committed to doing all I can to ensure I have a strong relationship with everyone on my site too, so they know they can come to me if they’re struggling with anything.”

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