Case Study Showcases: CIOB Fellows in Academia

This CIOB fellowship represents a crowning of my career and recognises my contributions to the Building profession. I am delighted to have received this fellowship, which has boosted my professional credibility.

James Rotimi

James Rotimi FCIOB

Associate Professor at the School of Built Environment, Massey University

Last updated: 8th June 2022

James is an Associate Professor at the School of Built Environment, Massey University, New Zealand. James has over 29 years of tertiary teaching, research and programme governance experience at undergraduate and postgraduate levels from various academic institutions in Nigeria, the UK, South Africa and New Zealand. He also has practical work experience in building supervision in construction organisations and quantity surveying practice in a senior associate capacity in a consultancy firm.

My early days

I come from a family of building professionals. My dad was a Quantity Surveyor who had studied Building at Aston University, UK and later Quantity Surveying through the professional membership route. He ran a QS consultancy firm where I was a frequent visitor. During my visits to his office, he would give me small measurement tasks and take me along to meetings and construction sites. I soon became fascinated and interested in watching the progress of construction projects. I quickly understood how buildings were put together from foundation to completion, who was in charge of what, and I could understand where most of the issues arose on construction sites. I came to understand the role of builders and Quantity Surveyors amongst the various construction parties/stakeholders. My dad was my greatest influence. 

Academic pursuits

I enrolled in the polytechnic for a Diploma programme in Building with this background. My first construction cadetship was in 1984 in Kaduna, Nigeria, with a multinational firm. I had the opportunity to move around various departments fortnightly during my two and a half months in the company. I had the privilege of another four months of industrial training attachment as part of my Diploma programme. Upon completing my Diploma in 1986, I returned as Junior Building Supervisor with the first company where I had my cadetship. After a year of employment, I went back to the polytechnic to complete my Higher National Diploma in Building. To further my academic interest, I enrolled at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria, and completed my Bachelor's degree in Building and a Master's degree in Construction Management. My academic career began at Ahmadu Bello University as a Graduate Assistant in 1993. In 2004, I moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, to pursue a PhD at the University of Canterbury, which I completed in 2010. In New Zealand, I have had involvements in teaching and research with five tertiary institutions. I also gained postgraduate qualifications in Commerce and Education during these academic pursuits.  

My Teaching and Research 

As an academic, I have been involved in training a new generation of Builders and construction managers. I have taught and supervised research on topical built environment issues. I am passionate about developing the capacity of the next generation of built environment practitioners. Thus, I have been involved in and organised symposiums, conferences, and industry engagement activities, and I have been a member of scientific review committees. I have been an examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate research within the various facets of the building profession, both locally and internationally. I have successfully supervised about 30 BSc projects, over 150 Master's, and 12 PhD theses. My research focuses on improving performance within the construction industry, integrating its supply chain, and optimising the achievement of construction and project deliverables. I also have research capabilities in three other research areas: disaster legislation, post-disaster reconstruction, and facilities management. In my career, I have over 200 quality assured publications. I am the founding editor of the International Journal of Construction Supply Chain Management, established in 2011.

Leadership roles

I have led in different capacities. I was Academic Dean - Construction till 2021 at Massey University. My account of professional practice for the fellowship application was mainly based on my role at the School of Built Environment. I strived to provide the best learning experience for our students, which led to the major re-development of existing programmes and the creation of new ones. For example, I secured approval for the first tertiary Diploma and Graduate Diploma qualifications in Facilities Management in New Zealand. Before this leadership role, I was the Programme Director for Master of Construction Management and Engineering Project Management for over six years at Auckland University of Technology. 

This CIOB fellowship represents a crowning of my career and recognises my contributions to the Building profession. I am delighted to have received this fellowship, which has boosted my professional credibility. I feel more confident to continue to develop capacity and inspire my students and colleagues to the opportunities in the building profession. I look forward to giving back to the CIOB at national and global levels. As a CIOB Fellow, there is already an opportunity to mentor other Australasian academics through the direct Fellowship route. At the University level, I become the second CIOB Fellow within my school, which will positively impact our current application for programme accreditation by the CIOB. A CIOB accreditation will reinforce my school’s ranking in the top 200 in Architecture and Built Environment (QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranking). I will continue my leadership on issues that improve the future direction of the construction industry.