Meet the team – Jess Pearce



In 2023 Buckland welcomed Jess to the team. She joined us in May as an engineer and project manager, but also to help us with our focus on sustainability. Here we ask her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

What does your job involve at Buckland?

My role includes everything within the project lifecycle from initial discussion about a project, developing estimates, coordinating design, manufacture and ultimately getting glulam into builds. I am also involved in improving the sustainability and environmental credentials of the company and in time will be working on our Environmental Product Description and looking at ways we can improve.

Do you have any specific qualifications for your role?

My background is in Civil and Environmental Engineering and I have spent the last ten years in the Public Sector at the Environment Agency and Local Authority. Before that I worked in renewables. I am an Incorporated Engineer and have previously held Prince 2 project manager practitioner status.

A lot of my previous work has been in contract management and I have an Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply, and more recently I focused on the environmental impact of construction work and ways of reducing carbon. My knowledge of timber and structural engineering has already rapidly increased through my time at Buckland and I am finding the wonderful applications of timber within construction enlightening.

Why did you decide to go into this industry?

I chose to pursue a career in construction due to my interest in our environment and enjoyment of STEM subjects. Sustainably developing the built environment is important to me and what better way to do it than with timber and glulam?

What’s the most common question you get asked in your role?

The most common question I am asked when putting together estimates is “Can I do this?!” concerning replacing steel with glulam and the majority of the time the answer is yes.

Glulam is a flexible material and its applications are far more appealing (in my opinion!) than some other construction materials. (see more on steel vs glulam here)

The other question I get asked a lot in the initial discussion is how much it’ll cost. The material itself is not costly, it’s the time needed to adapt it to a specific need which puts the price up. I always advise if you’re worried about cost look to simplify what you are after as it will reduce the amount of carpentry and structural engineering which will help you to value engineer. If in doubt though do just speak to one of us and we can offer some ideas to help you realise your build.

What skills do you use in your work?

The main skill I apply daily is organisation – I’m a big fan of a spreadsheet! I also have a lot of knowledge of contracts. Putting together estimates makes up a chunk of my working day as well as speaking to people about their projects.

What are the best and worst things about the job?

The best things are the people and the materials. I work part-time and flexible hours so you might get an email from me at 5 am – don’t worry, I won’t expect a reply then! I love seeing how something that is often only a glimmer of an idea can become a living breathing structure!

The worst is sometimes people get frustrated about lead times and managing expectations can be challenging. Quite often people don’t realise the process to create glulam takes time, especially if it is anything other than straight beams with no carpentry and this is something we have to help people understand.

For any job which requires a form of design, we carry out a structural analysis of the scheme, finalise general arrangements and have these approved by the client. We then create 3D models which often involve incorporating information from other structural elements such as the steel design and these then must be created into machine files. We can’t start manufacture until machine files are complete and, as we tend to function on a “just in time” supply basis, this can mean a slot in the workshop must be available. My advice is if you are tight on time then providing us with as much information as possible when requesting a quote, including scheme drawings, will help a lot.

What’s a favourite project you’ve worked on?

So far my favourite project has been Thackhams Lane in Hampshire. It is a simple project of British larch glulam to create a new pool house building. The use of British timber and full production within our factory here in Devon really appeals to me. This project also ran very smoothly and was installed ahead of schedule which bumps it up my list of favourites – I can’t wait to see the build when everything is complete.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

My two young boys keep me pretty busy and we can often be found out on bikes or in water. I am a keen runner and have also competed in triathlons. I really enjoy food and being in the kitchen, baking and cooking. Wine also features fairly high on my list of enjoyments!

meet the team jess

Jess Pearce

thackhams lane hampshire

Thackhams Lane, Hampshire