Mustakim's story

 

“If a man is comfortable, they will be complacent”

                                                                                                                                      By Mustakim B. Senin

 

 

Before I joined AcePLP on the 3rd October 2011, I was working as an Audio & Visual Technician at Sheraton Towers. 

I got bored with the mundane routine works and I needed a career switch. I live by this principle “if a man is comfortable, they’ll be complacent”

Thus, I started searching for jobs that offers more excitement, uncertainties, and challenges to keep myself on my toes. 

 

 

Like some of you, I came across AcePLP recruitment advertisement in the jobstreet.com. The Traineeship Programme offers training and opportunities to enter into the AEC industry. Looking at the job description and criteria, it was a win-win situation. Unlike other employers of the similar trade, they are willing to hire ITE Nitec Holders. So when I saw the job advertisement, I thought that this is my chance and ticket to climb up the career ladder. The training and experience that AcePLP were offering was irresistible.

3rd October 2011 is the date that I will not forget, for that is the day that changed my life. In a Batch, we started our in-house training. We were taught on how to use Autodesk’s software (AutoCAD 2D & 3D, Revit Architecture, Revit MEP & Structure) and Bentley’s MicroStation software, from the fundamental up till professional level. We also learned the Code of Practice for Construction Computer-Aided Design or also known as CP 83. It is important to familiarize ourselves with the CP 83 standards before attempting any assignments. At that time, CAD software and Code of Practice was all new to me, but with the help and guidance of our experience trainers and seniors, we are able to master all these skills within a month or two.

11 November 2011 (I’d like to call it 11/11/11), I was the first in my batch to head out to the field. I was extremely excited and anxious, as I do not know what to expect at the construction site. The client’s project that I was assigned was involved in Fire Protection System. It was nerve wrecking but the Project Team that I was working with on-site helped me along the way. They provided me the relevant information on the specifications, details & requirements while I helped them to plot the information in the drawings.

While on the field, I was advised by the site engineers and manager to read up on the Code of Practices for my own benefit. I was also advised to go on-site together with my project engineers or project manager whenever I have the time to spare so that I can better visualise the drawings. At first, my scope of work was to help them convert their sketches on paper to AutoCAD drawings. As I improved gradually, I was given the opportunity to conduct site visits and update as-built drawings, shadow the site engineers and projects managers to meetings, site inspection, testing and commissioning. I was further exposed to shadowing the engineers and project manager to their meetings, site walk, inspections, testing and commissioning. It was an enriching experience, far more than what I had expected.

The biggest challenge faced was, time. In order to meet crucial deadlines, it is important to always know the deadline beforehand for all the tasks before executing them. Other than meeting deadlines, understanding of the system and services 

 

“Before I stepped into the AEC industry, I did not have much

confidence and I definitely thought that a job is just a job."

 

   

As I am required to sit in the meeting rooms amongst the team of experienced project engineers, project managers, coordinators, sub-contractors and etc. I need to be clear on the systems or topic of discussion. 

During one of the project meetings, I was randomly questioned by the main contractor on issues like how is our fire protection system capable of protecting a certain area and does it comply with the Code of Practice. He goes on to ask what type of material or type of model did we chose and why. The questions were never ending and I was extremely nervous because I was all alone and I had to answer to these questions in the meeting without the presence of my supervisor. Guess what? All my readings and understanding of the CPs, drawings and site experience gave me the knowledge to reply their questions with detailed sketches and explanations. Thank god. And after that day, I was able to gain their trust and confidence. Man! This experience has changed me and my career prospect.

 

 

After 2 years of onsite experience through AcePLP’s Apprenticeship Programme, I felt accomplished and confident in myself, my work and my conversation. Without confidence, people will start taking advantage of you because how confident you are reflects how much you know about your work.

Also, within the 2 years,I found a new passion – being able to assist in the process of building a building from a piece of land even though I was just involved in the Fire Protection System and the sense of achievement goes a long way.

Why?

Because your name will be written in the titleblock of each and every drawing that you've drawn & submitted. I don't think I will ever get bored of working in the AEC industry.

 

   

My advice is just give your best everyday and work smart. By understanding the drawings, you may be able to highlight areas in the drawings that you think or foresee of any discrepancies. I used to hear this very often from my site engineers and project managers “An experienced and clever engineer does not need to go down to site to know of problems facing currently or will face in the future. Just by looking the drawings my engineers could tell many things”.

Since then, upon completion of Traineeship Programme, I climbed the career ladder from a Trainee BIM/CAD Engineer, known as Draftsman to a Project Engineer. Basically from my rough understanding and chat with other experience Professionals, this is the tree-chart for career progression.

From drafting to project engineer, it is a huge leap. Although we may be excellent in drawings, we lack the coordination skills and site experience. Therefore, most companies will offer only site supervisor position to those who wish to progress from drafting to engineer. My knowledge in the CPs for Fire Protection System and my site exposure and meetings exposure is what gave me the upper hand. All thanks to my wonderful project engineers and project manager and the safety officers. Without their “green light” to go on site, I too, would not have had the chance.

Right now as a project engineer, I took on a supervisory role with more responsibilities on overseeing whether the work is done right and providing solutions to correct any problems. Being new in this position and ACMV services I do face a handful of problems myself, but nothing is impossible now with the help of google, Code of Practices, ideas from the experienced workers and advice from my great colleagues.

Most of the time, my workers will find me if they have any installation issues or doubts and in need of advice. Yet one thing remain the same – Time, is of the essence. Now that I’m independent, I need to attend more meetings and do more paper works too. But honestly, the most important thing to note if you decided to go into AEC industry, is to make sure you have the passion. It’s a dirty and smelly but interesting job that not everyone is up for it.

 

Lastly I would like to thank AcePLP for giving me a chance to change my career path, my lifestyle and also to kick start my career in the AEC industry.

This is my story.

Cheers,

Mustakim

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