Colleague Interview

A conversation with Rhiann Storey, Director

Rhiann Storey, Director, discusses her background, her experience and shares the reasons behind her success and what inspires her today. Rhiann also explains the importance of The Lighthouse Club charity and her involvement in it.

Tell me about your background.

I initially studied Law with French but decided to go travelling and working abroad before I settled down in a career. When I came back, I re-trained as a Quantity Surveyor (QS) and started work at a consultancy which specialised in dispute resolution so I could use both of my qualifications.

What made you make the change from working with contractors to claims? 

Technically, I never changed at all. When I first started, I was seconded as an in-house resource to both contractors and clients, I still had exposure to the claims side of things and could apply my legal knowledge to contracts I worked on.

When I went to Australia, I worked for a multi-disciplinary company and had a lot of varied roles, I worked as PQS on a variety of projects out there, including hospitals, airports and even a ski jump in a sports complex. I also worked in-house with contractors and subcontractors and developed my expertise in the claims and expert witness side of the business.

What inspires you in your role?

For me, the people I work with are the biggest inspiration. People make projects and ensure the often stressful process of creating them is a pleasure to be a part of.  I also love being involved in complex projects that showcase the wonderful engineering and architecture our industry is capable of.

Describe a typical day in your role.

I’m not sure there is a ‘typical’ day, as it depends on what the job is and what deadlines we are working to.

At the moment I am working on a number of projects. I am doing contract and claims management on two live projects, one is at tender stage and the other is getting close to completion.

I am also working with a team preparing a report for an international arbitration and have just finished an adjudication decision.

There are usually a lot of meetings and calls – and in the evenings I am also busy organising the latest Midlands Lighthouse Club event.

How does work differ between the UK and Australia?

There are always going to be idiosyncrasies with every country, sector, industry, market and office that need to be adapted to, but in the essentials, work is not too dissimilar wherever you are – you need to work hard and get the job done. The key difference between the two countries is climate – but there are still the same arguments about office heating or cooling!

I have been very lucky in my career to work for companies with great cultures and working environments and with a lot of wonderful people. It’s the great people, whether colleagues or clients, who make coming to work enjoyable, as does the challenge of dealing with a variety of different problems and idiosyncrasies in whatever environment or country you are in.

What do you think has been the reason for your success?

I don’t really think of ‘my success’ as a concept. If I had to pick one key ingredient to success in general, I would say it is being willing to work hard at whatever you are doing. I have always worked hard in any job I’ve ever had, from dishwashing to expert reports. If you have the right attitude, you can’t go wrong, and you will gain the respect of your peers as you go.

Hard work is essential, but you also need encouragement and opportunity. The next step is willingness to take any opportunities. Having good mentors and role models is crucial and having the opportunity to work with people who are passionate and great at what they do can inspire you to do something you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of before.

My manager in Australia was an adjudicator whom I shadowed on a lot of decisions. This led to me realising (with a bit of mentoring) that I could do that too, so I got qualified and now I decide my own adjudications.

I like to keep learning new things and I think it is important to continually challenge yourself and set new goals. I have been very lucky to have had managers who have been very supportive and who encouraged me to take the next career step – whatever that was – whether getting chartered, becoming an adjudicator, or developing my skills in different areas of the business.

Tell us about your work with The Lighthouse Club.

Considering it was founded in the UK in 1956, the Lighthouse Club is still relatively unknown here. I first heard about the charity when I was in Australia and got involved there, helping to run the Australian branch. Once I got back to the UK, I wanted to stay involved and when I learnt that the Lighthouse Club Midlands committee had disbanded, I helped to re-form it.

The charity was initially set up in order to help construction workers and their families who fell on hard times. It is the only charity that financially and emotionally supports the construction community and there is now a heavy focus on mental health as the construction industry has horrifying mental health statistics in the UK and Ireland – the worst of any other industry.

The charity helps thousands of people a year. It provides a free and confidential 24/7 Construction Industry Helpline which is essentially a free Employee Assistance Programme for the industry. The helpline provides the first point of contact for those who need to access a range of completely confidential support services.

The helpline is just one of a number of initiatives the charity provides, more info is available here.

The Midlands branch helps to spread the word about the charity and to raise funds through local events.

Getting to know you. What are your interests outside of work?

I used to have lots of interests before I started renovating my house, now all I do is DIY!

But to give you a flavour of what I enjoy, I love travel, really good food, being outdoors, anything to do with Tolkien or Jane Austen and rugby! So, an ideal holiday could be encapsulated in a trip to New Zealand to watch the rugby world cup and visit some Lord of the Rings locations in the company of an Austen anthology. Which I have in fact already done.

If you want to find out more about joining HKA, contact or to arrange a confidential discussion or visit

Laura Fox-Oliveira, Recruitment Manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa
Mohammed Osman, Recruitment Resourcer, Europe, Middle East and Africa

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