How a rugby-playing builder set-up an all-female construction business

Rugby and construction: two sectors women certainly don’t get enough attention for their efforts in. Fortunately, one business owner is paving the way for a female future in these industries.

Philippa Tuttiett started her construction outfit Female Builders and Interiors (FBI) shortly after graduating from uni, and has represented Wales at international rugby tournaments multiple times. Not bad huh?

Philippa, 31, is a multi-skilled career-driven role builder who coaches young entrepreneurs for the welsh government and has also appeared on UKTV and Channel4. How can she possibly have time for all this?

We caught up with her to find out.

1. How did you know you wanted to be a builder?

I was very lucky that my father would let me work with him from a young age. I didn’t really have a direct interest in building but I enjoyed working practically and loved spending time with my dad. Through my teenage years he started to teach me more skills – carpentry, plastering, tiling – and although I enjoyed that type of work I was very much set on completing my A-Levels and completing a degree. I wanted to get into marketing and advertising.

2. How did you get started?
3. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far?

When I was working at Tuttiett Builders, every day we would go to the builders merchants to get materials for the site. I was always quite a chatty child so my father would pick up a magazine called The Professional Builder and give it to me to keep me quiet! I collected hundreds of these magazines! in 2013 I was the first female builder to be featured in this magazine.

4. Talk us through your day…

5.30am: I’m up, breakfast with the laptop for emails and general admin work.

6.30am: I hit the gym.

8am: Back home for a quick shower and change of clothes, and then it’s off to work. As I set up my company at 23 the Welsh movement asked me to come on board with them as a role model for young aspiring entrepreneurs, so often I will dive away from site to a local school to deliver a business presentation. then it’s home at 5pm.

6pm: I’m back out with training myself, although I have now retired from international rugby I still play club rugby with Bristol in the English Women’s Rugby Premiership and I also coach Cardiff Blues women’s team. Then it’s home at 9pm for food and bed.

5. What are the best things about doing what you do?

The variety, with building I’m lucky to be a multi skilled builder so one week I could be fitting a kitchen and the next week I’ll be roofing. Then I have my sports and teaching with the welsh government.

6. What are the worst?

The mess! because I get pretty dirty at work and train before and after. I sometimes shower 4 times a day!

philippa tuttiett wales womens rugby builder7. What do you think people don’t realise about your job?

That you can be really creative with it. I say I’m a builder and people think I lay bricks and that’s it. As a builder you get to meet different people, complete a variety of tasks through the week and work with the customer to help them design their dream kitchen or bathroom. Its very rewarding.

8. What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the industry?

Get as much experience as possible. It’s very hard to keep working if you are only know a single trade, try and complete as many qualifications as possible and keep your options open. You will be far more employable if you can complete two or three trades on site.

9. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

Realise how lucky you are. You are fit and healthy and all the people you love are fit and healthy. You will achieve and be happy, don’t get too focused on grades, attitude is the most important thing. As long as you are trying your best you will still achieve. You have some very exciting times ahead!

10. What are your career goals?

I’d like to grow my company into a property development business and now I have retired from international rugby, get more involved in coaching and mentoring. I’m passionate about supporting women in sport and growing the publicity around it.

Want to know more? Contact Female Builders and Interiors here, and follow Philippa on Twitter here