Interview with Mechanical Estimator - Women in Building Services (NI)

Interview with a Mechanical Estimator - Women in Construction (NI)

 25th Apr 2019

Mechanical Estimator - Women in Construction


My name is Sarah McGimpsey, I’m a Construction and property Recruitment at Corvus Recruitment. I’ve developed an interview blog series with Women in a variety of roles in the Construction industry. This series aims to inspire the next generation and increase the number of women choosing a career in all sectors of the Construction industry.


The interviews I’ve conducted will provide an overview of current experiences of women in the industry and their motivations for choosing the Construction industry.  This interview is with Mechanical Estimator, Nicole Wharry. Learn how Nicole got into a career in Building Services and what she enjoys about working in the industry.



Interview with Nicole Wharry, Mechanical Estimator in Northern Ireland




What is your current role?


My current role is Mechanical Estimator for Harvey Group PLC. I have experience in the Building Services Industry for over 14 years.


What attracted you to choose a career in Building Services Engineering?


To be honest, I didn’t know such jobs roles existed when coming up through school/education. I started to get interested in mechanical building services when I started as an office junior in W J Hoggs back in 2005. I was intrigued to learn about how air/water behaves and why we have the various technologies & solutions to get it to do what we want it to do. It was then that I developed a genuine interest for building services and from then, there has been no looking back and I am still learning every day. I think that’s why it intrigues me so much as you are continually learning about how systems work and new technologies available on the market.


Can you tell us about your career journey?


I started in W J Hoggs back in 2005 as an office junior. I was only 17 years old and dropped out of my A-levels to take the role. I come from a “worker” background meaning that my parents were big believers in learning through experience and never pushed me to pursue higher education. Anyway…. in Hoggs my role consisted of answering telephones, filing, purchase orders etc. but I was always asking questions and before I knew it, I was pricing up ventilation solutions for mechanical contractors. Unfortunately, 4 years into my career at W J hoggs the awful downturn in the economy hit and I was made redundant in 2010. 


In 2012, Harvey Group were looking for an Administration Assistant. I instantly leapt at the chance of getting back in the Building Services Industry and applied for the vacancy. Very fortunate for me, I was invited to an interview and offered the job. I started as “Estimating Assistant” in March 2012 and have been here since. My role developed over the years from “Estimating Assistant” to “Commercial Co-Ordinator” and then to “Mechanical Estimator” in 2018.  From the day I started in Harvey Group, for the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to do with my career which was to become a Mechanical Estimator. 

Quote from Mechanical Estimator, Nicole Wharry - " For the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to do with my career which was to become a Mechanical Estimator" - Women in Building Services Engineering series


What do you enjoy about working in Building Services?


The fact that you are continually learning. I have now set a personal “career goal” to learn as much as I can and hopefully get to a point where I am giving advice/training to someone starting out in their career, although I still have a long way to go myself in terms of learning. Also, each project is unique and different, so I find that part quite exciting too.


What do you think could be done to encourage more women into Building Services or Engineering in general?


For starters, more awareness is needed in education of the roles that are available within the construction trade. I know when I was in school, I thought to be in the “building services industry” you had to be a plumber or electrician, which isn’t necessarily the case as you can see from my experience.


Quote from Mechanical Estimator Nicole Wharry - "I would like to see more women choosing a career in the industry and get to a ratio of 50:50 one day"


What changes have you noticed or would like to see within the industry?


I would like to see more women choosing a career in the industry and get to a ratio of 50:50 one day.

I have noticed a major change in building services over the past 14 years and that is that we are becoming more “eco” friendly.  This is a great thing and I can’t wait to see how this will develop throughout the rest of my career.


What would you say to young females today thinking of a career in Building Services?


I would say “go for it”!

If a career in Building Services is truly what you want, get involved and help us attract more females to this male dominant industry. 



By sharing more female’s stories, I hope to increase the number of girls and women who will consider a career in the Building Services Industry. 


If you’d like to share your story for my next blog, you’re in the market for a new job or need help with a vacancy, please get in touch.


028 9091 2874  |


More interviews in the WIBSE series-

Ulster University Building Services Student, Jade McGee - Read here

Electrician, Ciara Rooney - Read here

Quantity Surveyor, Claire Cairns Read here 

Commercial Co-ordinator, Ellen McGuinness - Read here


Harvey Group and Corvus Recruitment in Women in Building Services Northern Ireland

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