For MBM’s final instalment of our Women in Construction series, we sat down with Executive Quantity Surveyor, Lyn Yang.

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in the construction industry?

It wasn’t exactly an inspiring story, but it was a practical decision that I made when I was considering my options for university courses. I am good at math and was looking for a field that required a lot of work with numbers. The few options I was considering at the time were engineering (civil, electrical, mechanical), accounting, and actuarial science.

 

I decided against engineering and accounting since those fields seemed oversaturated with every other friend moving into those courses. Actuarial science, on the other hand, felt too focused on statistics and did not offer much job satisfaction, even if you performed well.

 

My elder sister was studying architecture at the time and suggested quantity surveying, which was a new term for me. Our family had no background in construction, and the construction industry was a new and exciting territory for me to explore. Since then, there has been no looking back for me, both during my studies and career development. The role allows me to exhibit my strengths and keeps me on my toes, as there is always something to learn from each project, whether it is large or small.

 

What aspects of your work do you find the most fulfilling?

I would say the most exciting part of a project is the construction phase. It’s amazing to see all the elements that you measured and planned during the design phase come to life in 3D gradually. Moreover, most of our projects are in the Healthcare and Education sectors, which makes it even more satisfying to know that your contribution is benefiting the community in a greater sense.

 

What construction industry shifts and trends are you excited about?

The industry is becoming increasingly conscious about being environmentally friendly, with a greater awareness of considering the entire lifecycle of a project during design decisions. However, this approach is not yet widely practiced in public-funded projects. It seems that larger private companies have been considering sustainability more in their projects, and not all decisions are solely based on upfront cost.

 

Do you have any mentors and how have they inspired you to overcome adversity?

Not officially, but I do view my managers as my mentors (shoutout to Edna, Lee, Helga and Nicola).


They have always been approachable whenever I needed guidance, empathetic, and helpful in many ways. The non-judgmental and sincere input I have received from them has contributed greatly to who I am today, both professionally and personally to some extent.


When I first joined the company, it was inspiring to see many females in leadership roles, and this is still the case today. This gives me the sense that the company values its employees for their skills and contributions and is not tied up with traditional standards.

 

The VIC government have created the Building Equality Policy (BEP) to increase the number of women in trade construction roles. How do you think the industry can encourage more women to join and thrive in construction? 

It’s crucial to not only have support available, but also to promote awareness of it.

 

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has launched a buddy program that offers mentoring opportunities to students transitioning from university to the workplace.

 

It’s frustrating to think this program was unavailable (or not advertised enough) when I first entered the male-dominated workplace. It’s time to act and ensure that women entering the workforce have access to these essential resources.

 

What has been the highlight of your professional career?

It is hard to choose a single highlight, but the PWC Riverside Quay Office Fitout is one project I hold close to my heart. It was the first large-scale project I was involved in when I joined MBM.


In addition to the new experience around high-end office fitout and the integrated fitout procurement complication that we face, I also get the satisfaction of describing every single room and layout in detail to confuse a PWC employee who suspects I worked there.

 

What advice would you offer to someone considering a career in construction?

Do you want to be the cool aunt or uncle who points at every other building you walk past and says, ‘Hey, I helped build this building’? Look no further.

 

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