Tim Harden recently celebrated his golden anniversary with McBains; having joined the firm straight from school in November 1971 as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor.
When Tim first joined the business at the tender age of 18 on a wage of just £40 per month, there was not a computer in sight and hand-held calculators were yet to be invented. He and his colleagues were required to produce huge, tome-like bills of quantities, the calculations for which had to be done by hand or on giant comptometers the size of cash registers.
The role of the quantity surveyor was made even more challenging in 1971 by the transition of the UK’s currency system from pounds, shillings and pence to the current decimal system.
Tim commented: “Advancements in technology, software, procurement methods and forms of contract have made my role more efficient over the years but there’s still one thing that I miss from my early days and that’s the tea lady and her biscuit-laden trolley!”
A uniquely varied project history has kept Tim’s role interesting and his passion for the industry alive. His diverse client base has included the likes of military airports, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, the National Rivers Authority, Evans Halshaw, Care UK, Barclays Bank, Access Storage, Natwest and the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust.
Quite uniquely, Tim’s work with the National Rivers Authority took him along almost every stretch of the Thames and even beneath the Thames Barrier.
Between 1998 and 2003 Tim provided cost consultancy and project management services to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities at their Harwell site.
Tim commented: “I have especially fond memories of my time at Harwell. It was a great team to work with and truly ground-breaking work, which I was incredibly grateful to be involved with.
When asked what Tim has enjoyed most about his work and career, he replied that it was the variety of projects and his love of people.
“I’ve always loved meeting new people and working with different personalities. I’ve never encountered anyone that I didn’t like in my fifty years in the industry. That’s not to say there haven’t been some difficult characters but you find a way to get on with them,” said Tim.
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