Redditch local, Tyron Harris is the Quantity Surveyor for GL events UK’s delivery of overlay to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Naturally, the figures are innately crucial in a largescale government-funded project such as this and it takes a person of great capability and level-headedness to take on the role. Known for his great sense of humour, down-to-earth approach and quiet confidence, it is easy to see why Tyron is playing a vital role in this immensely important international project.
Tyron, more commonly known as Ty, describes his role at GL events UK and how he’s come to be involved in Birmingham 2022. “The company’s event services are divided up into different divisions. Seating, Structures and Stadia and I’m often Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor for the Stadia division of the business. My main job involves writing contracts, pricing works and securing construction works, and together with another colleague, I manage all of the permanent stadium construction projects.
Ty continues by expanding on his role in the Games specifically. “Last year, I was asked by the team to help with the tender process for Birmingham 2022 and once we were awarded the contract, I was seconded on to the project from the Stadia division to look after the commercial and legal side. Now, my main responsibilities are to ensure that the project remains on budget; acquiring subcontractors; negotiating prices; making sure prices are reliant to the pre-cost; and negotiating contract issues and variations.”
With modesty, Ty reveals how, despite his initial lack of enthusiasm for education, he’s gone on to take an inspiring career journey, which has led to the Commonwealth Games. “I started off as a trainee bricklayer. Initially, I did a BTEC at college but when I finished, although I knew I wanted to go to university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. So, I went to a building site for a year. It was my colleagues’ suggestion to become a quantity surveyor, as they thought I’d be good at it. And after some thorough research on my part, I liked the sound of it which led me to studying at Sheffield Hallam University. This in turn led to a graduate position in a consultancy for new-build housing for the local authorities. In 2012, I was approached by GL events UK to project manage certain venues for the London 2012 Olympics including Eton Manor and the Copper Box basketball arena. This was where I first worked as a Quantity Surveyor on a major sporting event, which was quite an achievement as I was still quite junior at the time. Later, I migrated to the Stadia section of the business and have worked my way up to become Senior Quantity Surveyor with Chartered Status.”
Ty continues to reminisce on the unexpected path that led him to present day. “It wasn’t until later in school that I thought, ‘Right, I need to knuckle down now.’ And when I did, I managed to attain the qualifications to get me to college and subsequently onto university, where I achieved a 2:1. I guess the lesson I learnt was that, when you enjoy your job or your studies, and you want to be successful, you tend to focus and put in that extra effort.”
”When you enjoy your job, you want to be successful. You tend to focus and put in that extra effort.Tyron HarrisQuantity Surveyor - GL events UK
Ty finds it easy to identify the areas of his role which he enjoys the most, as well as those which are most challenging. “I find it quite interesting to work with different commodities. I specialise in construction and groundworks, but at the moment I’m looking at the tent structures, temporary seating and technical structures at Alexander Stadium. So, it’s added some variety to my role by improving my understanding of the different commodities and how they interface with each other. It’s great to be working on the Games, to bolster my existing knowledge and experience of temporary events.”
On the contrary, this role and its intricacy poses some challenges. “The most challenging part so far has been securing subcontractors and making sure they comply with the contract documents.” As Ty elaborates, he offers advice to the future quantity surveyors currently in the classroom. “It can be overwhelming when you receive 200 emails a day and most of them require a swift answer. If you’re a young person perhaps considering this career, don’t be overwhelmed by the volume of work. I find it helps breaking things down into manageable chunks, instead of feeling pressured by the big picture. Likewise, the scale of financial agreements can feel intimidating, especially as this project involves government money, so you need to be careful. But it definitely becomes easier to manage the more experience you gain.”
“People have the preconception that you need to be great at Maths and Excel to be a Quantity Surveyor. Don’t be put off as I didn’t consider myself good at Maths at all. There is a lot of learning on the job in this role, and you gain knowledge through experience. Most of the job is actually about negotiating and with a good general understanding of the contract, you can do the job.”
Birmingham 2022 is inherently unique in providing opportunities for all as the Games gets closer. But it is clear that the GL events UK team are driven to leave a legacy behind for young people and future generations in every way that they can. Undoubtedly, the success of this event will resonate with participating nations for many years to come.