Our Women in Hi Vis - Erin Schymitzek

‘Our Women in Hi Vis’ is a series highlighting the awesome women shaping a new narrative of what it’s like to work in the construction industry. As the Interface Programme Assistant, Erin Schymitzek's work is often behind the scenes but plays an important part in how we function as an alliance. We caught up with her to learn more.

Tell us about your role at Piritahi?

As the programme assistant in the Interface team, my responsibilities include tracking and reporting on milestones that impact the delivery of design and planning submissions to Council. I also coordinate the internal process undertaken by our delivery team when responding to project briefs from our client.  

My day-to-day activities are really people based – helping to build and maintain strong relationships between our design, planning and compliance and construction teams, while getting the updates I need. Working across these teams also means I’m always learning new aspects of the trade and that’s something I really enjoy.

Tell us more about ‘interface’ and what your team does at Piritahi?

Our team’s key function is forming and maintaining a healthy workflow between Piritahi, Council, council-controlled organisations such as Auckland Transport, Healthy Waters, Watercare and with our client, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities. We focus on pre-construction, working closely with contractors from council organisations to ensure our EPAs and design submissions meet the requirements from the get-go. This plays a big part in making sure our construction works start on time and that build-ready land is delivered as promised. Doing all this at scale and pace means more homes can be built, faster.

What are EPAs?

EPA stands for engineering plan approval. This is when our engineering designs for things like roads and stormwater networks are submitted to Council for sign-off. Once we have our resource consents and our EPAs granted, our constructors can start works on site!

What do you enjoy about your role and the industry?

I’d never planned to work in the construction industry...but I really enjoy it! I work closely with and alongside all our project managers and have learned a lot about how things work through these relationships. It’s awesome to witness on a daily basis how all the different moving parts within the alliance work together as one.

On top of that,knowing that I’m contributing towards something tangible that will make a real difference in the community is a great feeling.

Erin stepping out of the office for visit to the Northcote site.

What do you enjoy about working at Piritahi?

I love the people and the collaborative nature of how we work. Everyone is approachable and always willing to help where they can. It creates a really positive environment. We’re a hard-working bunch but always up for a chat and a laugh too which is great. My role has also evolved a lot as Piritahi has grown so I continue to learn new things and am kept on my toes.

Have you faced any challenges working in a male dominated industry?

I haven’t faced any challenges in that regard and haven’t been in a situation where I’ve felt out of place as a female. Everyone I’ve personally dealt with has been down-to-earth and if anything, I think it’s quite amusing being the only woman in a room at times. Looking back to my younger self, I would never have thought I’d be in a meeting room full of men of all ages, many experts in their fields, and feel confident in myself.

I strongly support women getting into construction whether it’s out onsite or in the office and I’m looking forward to seeing how the industry will develop as more women come on board.

What are some goals you have for the upcoming year?

At the moment, a big focus is working to create some really useful ways for both us and our external stakeholders to better manage our pre-construction deliverables. This means tracking our performance trends and identifying activities that can be streamlined, where quality can be improved, and the people that are key to our success.

Apart from that I want to just keep learning. Piritahi provides an incredible environment for developing skills and experience - we get to interact with great people and are exposed to the unique and complex operations of an alliance. It’s awesome to be part of and I look forward to celebrating the wins this year!

Keen to be part of the team at Piritahi? Check out our careers page for more information and current opportunities!