Read our latest Budding Brunels Professional Interview - Stone Consultant

Robert is a Consultant - Read his story:

Robert Merry is a self-employed consultant with a specialism more interesting then it may sound at first – stone!  In the following interview, he tells us exactly what he does and how he ended up working in such a niche part of the construction industry.

Tell us about yourself:

Who are you, what’s your job, and what company do you work for?

I run a small company called The Stone Consultants. Our work includes; project management of sub-contract stone projects – mainly interiors in high end houses in Central London, acting as an expert witness for stone work, advice and guidance on construction contracts, and quality management. I also do a small amount of lecturing on estimating for the Stone Federation.

Tell us about your position:

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

My role varies.  I mainly survey problem stone contracts and undertake project management which includes site visits, valuations, programming and attending site meetings. I am also involved in report writing and research.

Do you get to go out on site and do practical work?

I go to site, but don’t do any practical work.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interaction with other people and the satisfaction of completing a job.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

Paperwork and record keeping.


Tell us about how you got where you are now:

What did you study at university?

I didn’t study at university level. I changed career and started in a fireplace company, then started Interior Marble Fabricator and ran that for 17 years as owner and MD, then I started the stone consultancy.

Did you see yourself working in the built environment when you were 16?


What advice would you give to your 16 year old self?

There are many areas of the industry, some go unnoticed and unsung. Once you start, the opportunities are endless and it all depends how high you want to climb. There are no qualifications for being a builder, but there are lots of opportunities to become a qualified builder or qualified within the building trade. Look around any building and see how many different components you can see and ask yourself ‘ how did all those come together to make this building work and who decided which ones and why? Who supplied them? How did they market their product? Is it safe? Is it ecological? Is it legal? How much does it cost? Who designed it?’

Then ask yourself if a building could be insulated with sheep’s wool and heated by a biomass boiler and then look at the Eco Build website.

Who builds roads, flood defences, hospitals, parliaments, schools, houses, industrial estates, bridges, airports, shelters, science buildings, libraries, churches, mosques…and more?

When you’ve found something you like about buildings, then start to ask ‘how could I do that? How could I get involved?

What did you learn at school that you’ve found to be relevant within the role?

Geometry – Pythagoras’ Theorum, diameters and radii. Use of English.


Tell us about your plans for the future:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The company is growing. I would like to have associates working with clients at the same level as I do. I see myself building a small Building Consultancy company.

What do you know about Chartership in your field?

I took the experienced practitioner route to Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) membership in 2011 – two years, two exams and 6 essays later I became a full member. It is very important to belong to an organisation that is chartered.   Chartership is recognised as a bench mark and says something about the person with Chartered status.



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