Our People: An interview with Loukas Karampogias

Loukas Karampogias

Role: Senior Quantity Surveyor
Office location: Aldwych, London
Joined the team: January 2021

Why Base?
Base combines professional quantum expert witness services with traditional quantity surveying services. This mix fits my professional growth strategy: I work and train to specialise in dispute resolution, although I do see myself as a holistically developed professional, committed to applying best practice and adding value using my expertise.

Where did you work and what were you doing previously?
I previously worked as a licensed civil engineer in Greece having undertaken a five-year full-time degree. Whilst my technical expertise is construction structural engineering, I quickly became aware that I was more interested in managing projects than designing structures. I found myself representing clients and managing projects alongside studying for my MBA and becoming a member of the Technical Chamber of Greece.

Since 2015 I have worked in London, primarily on large-scale high-end residential and commercial developments and as part of the project team for a competitive main contractor. My responsibilities have included project procurement, cost control, and change and risk management.

What do you feel you bring to Base?
I bring an encompassing understanding of construction, shaped through a combination of diverse but also specialised work and education, as well as a teamwork-oriented approach, a proven commitment to researching and applying best-practice standards, and a continuous aspiration to generate value and solve problems for my clients, for Base, and for society.

What are your career aspirations for the future?
In an ideal world, I would like to be a dispute resolver by practising as an adjudicator, mediator and quantum expert. My current work for Base and my commitment to lifelong education are aligned with these aspirations. For example, I am currently awaiting my results for the RICS Diploma in Adjudication in the Construction Industry.

How do you see the industry changing in the future?
As with most industries, construction is disrupted by the introduction of new and emerging technologies, the consequences of climate change and the requirements for sustainable development. Our capabilities to control and manage work and to work more efficiently using advanced technology means we have never been more developed. Mobile connectivity and machinery operated remotely or through artificial intelligence are sure to change the entire construction landscape: how we work, what resources we use, and the efficiency of these resources.

At the same time, the construction industry is a polluting one and it is ethically, and in many ways, statutorily obliged to acknowledge climate change and apply sustainable practices in its operations. Design for construction, construction operations and building management are changing and must continue to improve radically to meet the most significant challenge of our civilisation: the protection of the diversity of life on our planet and the resources of future generations.

How do you see yourself fitting into those changes?
In a world of change, I always seek to identify the needs that drive change, to continuously learn, and to materialise those changes that bring benefits. My mindset of continuous learning and creativity will hopefully be helpful for my clients and for the society that I live and work in.

Do you have an accomplishment that has shaped your career? 
I decided to seek international challenges outside of my country of birth and my initial education and work experience. My subsequent work and additional studies helped me to add those five initials after my name: MRICS. To me, they signify a commitment to working under the best global standards in cost management, procurement, and dispute resolution, among other services.

What was your biggest non-career-based accomplishment and why was it important to you?
The recognition received within the Toastmasters International community, a community of volunteers that meet and practise communication and leadership. I have several Toastmasters awards and although not professionally recognised qualifications, they signify that I have participated in and supported a community that values communication and encourages each one of its members to become supportive listeners and find their voice. Even though Toastmasters meet to develop their communication skills, they spend much more time listening to and supporting their peers. I think that these values are critical in our society.

In a world of change, I always seek to identify the needs that drive change, to continuously learn, and to materialise those changes that bring benefits. My mindset of continuous learning and creativity will hopefully be helpful for my clients and for the society that I live and work in.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced at Base so far?
The biggest challenge I have faced so far relates to working on an international ICC arbitration and being able to add value to the work on a project which was active before I joined. This was compounded by the challenge to be an effective team player in the decentralised working environment of the pandemic. At this point, I would like to note that the rewards of addressing those challenges equal their size and gravity.

I would also like to focus on the most peculiar challenge that I had to tackle while working remotely: learning, experimenting and understanding the diverse function and value of Microsoft Teams for team bonding and coordination in a professional environment.

What did you learn from it?
Working on a large international dispute has improved my professional knowledge.
Addressing the challenges of remote working, has, for most of us I think, improved efficiency and work/life balance. Although not ‘one recipe fits all’, hybrid workplaces are more adaptable and consequently benefit from a more productive and committed workforce.

What would your biggest piece of advice be to those starting in the industry today?
Always ask yourself why: why something is happening, why something is proposed as the correct action, why something is perceived as valuable. Start with the relevant best practice standards to guide both your questioning and your answers.

I practised Chinese Wing Chun Kung Fu for years. In addition, I am a recreational tennis player and have completed two marathons, including the authentic race from Marathon to Athens.

What motivates you?
To be a force for good for the people close to me and society in general.