Rousseau Loubser made the move from Cape Town, South Africa, to Auckland, New Zealand in early 2018 to join our Building Services team. In his role as a Senior Public Health Engineer, he has worked on a huge range of commercial projects with a focus on fire engineering. He shares his honest experience of what it was like to move to a new country and company, and gives some advice to anyone thinking of relocating to NZ.
1. What attracted you to Beca?
When moving companies, one of the key deciders for me was that it had to be a company that was well established within their market, worked on projects that would benefit my career, had a good company structure, and had sound processes in place to enable the delivery of projects. Beca ticked all of these boxes which made the decision to join a no-brainer.
2. On your first day at Beca, what stood out to you?
The sheer scale of Beca as a company, especially the Auckland office. Being solely focussed on engineering within the building’s sector, I wasn’t aware of how far Beca’s reach stretched into different markets all over New Zealand and Asia-Pacific.
3. How did you find the relocation process?
Immigration New Zealand, together with Beca, made the process of applying for a work visa extremely simple. The process is very well defined and clearly documented on the New Zealand Immigration website where I was guided every step of the way. At no point in time was there any ambiguity or confusion on documentation to provide or what to do next. A pain free process from start to finish.
Beca provided support for the actual relocation from Cape Town, South Africa, to Auckland, New Zealand, which I considered as going over and above the norm. Amongst other things, they provided advice and arranged for plane tickets, shipping of my belongings, in transit insurance and temporary accommodation.
Arriving in New Zealand I was amazed at how friendly and engaging the people were. This makes all the difference when leaving your home country and relocating somewhere else.
4. What sort of projects have you been involved in?
Over the past couple of months I have been involved in projects including healthcare, hospitality, residential, retail and commercial. My involvement has been across all stages of a project’s lifetime, from concept design to construction monitoring as well as fault finding on existing buildings. As the workload is so varied I don’t do the same thing for more than a few hours at a time which keeps things exciting and engaging at all times.
5. What has been your favourite accomplishment at Beca?
When first starting at Beca I was concerned that due to the size of the company, my suggestions for possible improvements to processes would not be considered. I was very quickly proven wrong when I realised that one of the reasons why Beca has excelled was due to their eagerness to tap into the experience that their employees bring from around the globe. As an example, I believed that the delivery and consistency of fire protection deliverables could be improved. After I spent some time formalizing and documenting my intentions, it was presented to senior technical staff after which it was agreed to adopt my strategies.
6. What gets you out of bed every morning?
I get very excited when I’m in an environment where I am able to apply what I know while also learning new things. Beca is such a place and I’m excited to come to work every day, knowing that when I leave, I’ll leave with more than I arrived with that morning.
7. How does the work you do ‘make everyday better’ for our clients and communities?
I enable my clients to construct the buildings they want which provides the community with spaces they want to spend their time in.
8. What does the next 12 months hold for you?
Over the next 12 months, I see myself becoming more familiar with the local New Zealand building industry. From building relationships with clients, contractors and other consultants to gaining more confidence in applying local standards and design practices. I am also excited to see the projects I am busy designing now come to life.
9. What advice would you give to someone thinking of relocating to New Zealand?
Leaving the country you call home is never easy, and saying goodbye to friends and family can be hard. This is something that each person considering moving countries should be prepared for. New Zealand is however a country of immigrants, and most people can relate to your situation and are always happy to provide support when you need it. My wife and myself were warmly welcomed and made to feel at home since arrival and I have no doubt that in no time at all I will call New Zealand my home.
10. Beca is looking for Fire Protection Engineers to join our team. What are you looking for in a new colleague?
I value a positive outlook over and above all other character traits of a colleague. Colleagues should support one another through challenging times and reinforce an attitude of optimism, regardless of the circumstances. A strong sense of responsibility, taking ownership, drive and exceptional work ethics are also high on the list. Technical ability can be taught, personality can’t.