A conversation with Justin Khoo, senior construction manager at Faithful+Gould, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group.
One of the toughest circuits on the calendar, the Singapore Formula One is an iconic street race that demands rigorous planning and coordination of its track infrastructure. When Justin Khoo joined us to work on the project, despite 20 years’ experience in fit out, he found himself revitalizing his career and renewing his aspirations.
What is it you do on the Formula One program?
Once the roads are closed, I basically handle the installation of track barriers, fences, race curbs, and the circuit’s internal traffic management system. I plan and execute the track barrier works and civil works around the entire circuit with the relevant authorities like the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
My role also includes discussion with the LTA on the road resurfacing in preparation for the next year’s race, and planning track changes from reports or recommendations from the FIA & Formula One Management (FOM). I’m also a liaison between FIA and FOM in terms of assisting and keeping them informed of resurfacing works that are happening around the circuit before they land in Singapore. When they arrive, I facilitate the Formula One works around the circuit, mainly circuit cabling infrastructure.
I’m also involved in planning and executing ground civil works. This package involves the spectator experience – the aesthetic aspects of the circuit. We undertake ground improvement and prepare ground works using temporary protection, like Trakgard, Profloor, granite chips, palm kernels, and lava stones.
As senior construction manager specializing in fit out works, I’m basically our clients’ go to guy when fit out issues or problems arise on site. I’m responsible for finding solutions.
Tell us about your biggest career highlight
The 2018 Singapore Grand Prix – it was the year I took over the role of track & civils manager for the project. It saw me singlehandedly spearheaded the planning and coordination of all the track infrastructure works. The experience taught me a lot about meeting the expectations and demands of the client and stakeholders. It also honed my people management, protocol, and communication skills.
There were challenges, such as familiarizing myself on contractual matters. But with the support and advice of my peers, I managed to come to a better understanding of contract administration and management. It’s one of the great things about Faithful+Gould – you can get answers from anyone in company whenever you encounter an issue.
How has your career grown since you’ve been at Faithful+Gould?
I joined Faithful+Gould in 2015 as track & civils assistant manager on the Grand Prix project. Being more and more involved in contract management and procurement developed my knowledge, competencies and maturity to be the leader I am today. For example, one of my most recent projects had me procuring five tenders to fit out of a chain F&B outlet. I was involved in preparing the briefs, specifications, documents, interviews and also the award process for all five tenders.
Who are your career heroes at Faithful+Gould?
Rick Hancock, for being a very understanding and supportive boss when I was down. Loy Hsieh Min, for guiding me when I worked hand in hand with him. I guess I’ve achieved what I have today through hard work, but also the opportunities that people like Rick and Hsieh Min sent my way. They entrusted me with work, having faith that I would make the right call, plus they always supported me in my career.
What do you love most about your job?
I really am driven by seeing the look of satisfaction on our clients’ faces.