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My Construction Journey: Sarah Rock

The B1M | @TheB1M

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Construction offers lots of exciting and varied career paths! Here, solicitor Sarah Rock shares her journey into the industry and explains where it’s taken her as part of our series of spotlights on construction careers. 

Watch more construction journeys here.

“I fell into the industry and I’m probably still living my gap year now” says Sarah at the start of her story. After finishing her A-Levels at school, she did a year-out with an electrical contractor in Leicestershire, UK. But that lasted much longer than 12 months. Nine years later Sarah had become a qualified Electrician and then a Contracts Manager.

“I really enjoyed my time working there” explains Sarah. “I travelled the length and breadth of the country visiting various cities and various projects”. At one stage Sarah designed the electrical layout for Leicester City Football Club’s training ground, dryly adding that at the time of filming the club were at the top of the UK’s Premier League.

Sarah designed the electrical layout for Leicester City Football Club’s training ground. Image courtesy of Sarah Rock.

Despite enjoying her time in electrical contracting, Sarah goes on to describe how she ultimately returned to her ‘childhood dream’ of being a construction solicitor. Having retrained, she secured a role at a practice in London and has been working her way up the profession ever since.

“I always feel embarrassed when I say this because children should want to be astronauts or something like that… but I wanted to be a lawyer. I love my job. Every single day is different, no project is the same, no client is the same”.

There are opportunities to work on the contentious and non-contentious sides and both can be rewarding in their own right. Non-contentious projects might involve bringing teams together to deliver incredible and highly tangible projects, whilst more contentious projects help people to resolve and settle their differences.

“I always feel embarrassed when I say this because children should want to be astronauts or something like that… but I wanted to be a lawyer”

Sarah’s favourite building is London’s Tower Bridge. Her uncle was involved in the project to convert the original water-powered lifting mechanics to an electro-hydraulic system in 1974 and she now describes seeing the bridge rise as ‘a proud moment every time’.

Sarah cites London’s Tower Bridge as her favourite building. Image courtesy of David Iliff.

Looking forward, Sarah is deeply involved in the UK’s building information modelling (BIM) community and is Champion for the South East BIM Region. “I’m really passionate about this as an ex-CAD Engineer” she explains. “I can see the value in what the BIM community is bringing and it’s great to be a part of it”

Sarah is an Associate Solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills. Hear Sarah’s thoughts on what building information modelling (BIM) will mean for solicitors in What Does BIM Mean To Me?

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