National Commercial Master Builder of the Year 2016
NEWS | Queensland

A Woman’s Work... with Project Manager Bojana Zivec

2nd September, 2016

For Bojana Zivec, the choice was not an easy one – philosophy or construction? Her love of both disciplines made her decision over which university course to enrol in a difficult one. In the end, the practicality and security of the construction industry won over in contrast to Bojana’s indulgent interest in philosophy.

After moving from Slovenia to Australia with her husband in 2009, Bojana immediately began looking for work in the sector. After a couple of weeks fighting the bitterly cold Melbourne weather, they transferred to Queensland and it was here in Brisbane that she first noticed Kane Constructions.

Bojana sent her CV to Kane’s Queensland MD, David Rutter, after seeing the restoration of King George Square progress and deciding that she would like to work on such projects.

A couple of weeks later, she started work on that same project as Contracts Administrator. Seven years later, Bojana manages several Kane projects herself and is enjoying every moment of it.

As mother of three-year-old Lawrence, Bojana’s day begins with getting her son out of bed and ready for day care. There’s a few tears but nothing she can’t handle – after all, it’s what every working mum goes through in order to get to work on time.

She arrives on site at her current project, QEII Jubilee Hospital BMRP Refurbishment where the Kane Property Services (KPS) team, Michael Taylor and Matthew Pollard are preparing for the day ahead.

Bojana attends to her emails before organising meetings with the client, architect on site and subcontractors who are about to deliver on the project.

There are multiple stages, and multiple handovers on this project, and these must all be scheduled and precisely timed to make sure nothing is overlooked.

She speaks with the site manager, ensuring everyone is across the programme and scope of works, that the right people have the right instructions, and that the equipment and materials essential to the next stage have been ordered and organised.

Bojana works with the site team to undertake a quality inspection on Kitchen Area 2 before this stage can be handed over on the QEII job. It is a particularly arduous programme with six toilet blocks to deliver, and a complex kitchen which will be completed in six different stages, comprising slab reconstruction, asbestos removal, building of eight cool rooms, epoxy flooring and whiterock wall cladding, painting and finishing, before restoring equipment for commissioning and handover in early August.

Bojana says that communication is the key to successful project delivery.

“You must be across everything and everyone on the project,” she explains. “Building a relationship with your client as well as your subcontractors is as important as the building itself.”

Her favourite project so far is on the Basil Stafford Farms facility at Wacol, where KPS replaced the 5000m2 roof and removed all asbestos from this heritage building.

“It was an unusual project because of the history of the building and where it was situated,” Bojana says. “At some stage it was a children’s mental health facility, and it did have quite an eerie feeling.”

Bojana says there were reports from some of the subcontractors of ghosts and the sound of children singing – even so, this did not put her off. What she loved about the job was driving in and out of the site in the early morning and late afternoon to see dozens of kangaroos feeding on the grass.

“It was just like a zoo seeing them in such large numbers – it was quintessentially Australian!” Bojana has a fascination with Australia Zoo and Queensland’s many other amusement parks, and so finds the local wildlife amazing.

She finishes up her day on site by preparing for the next. She shares a few jokes with the team which she says makes the day enjoyable and promotes camaraderie with her co-workers.

“There’s nothing pretentious about working in construction – on site you have to be quite real and down-to-earth and it’s a different kind of fun.”

It’s after dinner and now that Lawrence is in bed, there are still some things to be done. Tonight, she doesn’t have time for her Bikram hot yoga class, but Bojana doesn’t mind. She has a give and take relationship with Kane and appreciates that whatever time and effort she puts in, it will be returned. Plus, she knows there will be another class tomorrow night.