Nothing is impossible, according to the MD and co-founder of RED Construction, although the ability to travel through time still needs some work
Why did you choose construction as a career?
I had a passion for architecture and the built environment at school. I was also very good with numbers and people – so it felt a natural fit.
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
Taking a risk by leaving my career and setting up RED Construction. For the first couple of years, it seemed very difficult to gain any traction but progress is now very exciting.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
To engender a less confrontational and contractual approach to project delivery.
What have you worked on that you are most proud of?
The reconfiguring of Wembley Arena was career-defining for me, along with being presented a gold medal at the construction manager of the year awards.
Most helpful advice you were given?
The only bad decision is not to make a decision at all.
What is your favourite building in the world?
For many years I have loved visits to New York and its architecture. As the first ground-breaking steel-framed building in the city, it has to be the Flatiron Building
What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?
Nothing is impossible no matter how improbable. You just need the right attitude and the right people around you.
Who do you most admire in the construction industry?
Anyone who is willing to be accountable for their own actions with honesty and integrity.
What famous building do you wish you had worked on?
St Paul’s Cathedral must have been an amazing project to work on – and awe-inspiring to Londoners as it grew and towered over the whole of the City.
Which famous building do you most dislike?
I’m not keen on the work of Erno Goldfinger, in particular, London high-rise residential tower blocks like Trellick Tower and Balfron Tower.
What is it like being you?
I am surrounded by an amazing family, talented colleagues and great friends which fills each minute of every full day. So I would say it feels busy, exciting but mostly grateful.
What do you think your best quality is?
I have been told I am infectiously positive and that this motivates others around me.
What trait do you most dislike in yourself?
I have a tendency to try and fit too much into a day and so ultimately it makes me late for commitments.
And with other people?
Do you have a life philosophy?
There isn’t anything I cannot achieve. I just need to find a way to achieve it.
Name three things that you like
Good company, good music and a good drink, preferably altogether.
What is a secret skill we don’t know you have?
I was only the fifth person from England to complete all six world major marathons in a single calendar year in 2019.
What’s your most prized possession?
The Pancreatic Cancer UK vest I wore when I ran the London marathon the morning after my father passed away with the disease.
Early bird or night owl?
My teenage daughter says that my general enthusiasm for life as both early bird and especially night owl leaves her feeling like “an exhausted pigeon”. The youth of today!
What is your favourite food?
A very traditional homemade Sunday roast.
What would your superpower be?
It would probably need to be time travel to allow me to get to more meetings on time.
Published online in the Building Magazine / February 2021
Graham Sturge is managing director and co-founder of RED Construction