Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

CROSS Forum: why very few questions are dumb, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 22 November 2018
  • 18:00 - 20:00
CROSS Forum: why very few questions are dumb, London

About this event

At the heart of many engineering failures and disputes is the absence of good communication. Too often we hear designers and constructors lament "if only I had known that at the time". We are all part of a complicated process that creates, plans, designs, builds and operates structures of one form or another and as part of that process we create interfaces. It is at these interfaces that many of our engineering failures occur, be they actual or contractual.

The speaker, a member of CROSS, has worked on many major pieces of infrastructure worldwide, as a designer and builder and, in too many cases, as an expert witness. A number of these projects will be presented highlighting how important communication is in achieving safety in design and construction and how it can be managed effectively. As a part of the construction process we must ask questions to make sure we understand; we need to be brave and ask what may be perceived as "dumb" questions - all too often the "dumb" question flushes out misunderstanding, miscommunication and scope gaps. It is from these gaps that our failures are born.

Following David’s talk, two early careers members will then present on a CROSS report of their choice and the event will conclude with a panel discussion with all three speakers followed by a drinks reception.


18:00 Registration

18:30 Welcome

18:35 Why very few questions are dumb

David MacKenzie, Executive Director at COWI

19:20 CROSS Report 665 Lack of masonry wall ties

Susan Kvalheim, Associate at PBA

19:30 704 Who takes responsibility for preventing a failure?

Kishore Ramdeen, Graduate Civil Engineer at Highways England

19:40 Panel discussion

20:00 Close & drinks reception


David MacKenzie FREng BE MS CEng FIStructE MASCE MHKIE

Executive Director, COWI

David MacKenzie

David is responsible for the strategic and commercial leadership of the UK bridges and special structures group of COWI. He is directly responsible for many of the firm's bridge projects, and maintains a hands-on approach to technical project work. He leads the Design Joint Venture for the Mersey Gateway Bridge project and is part of the Design Joint Venture Board for the C2/C3 stage of High Speed 2.

He is the Project Director for the firm's work on the operation and maintenance works on many long span bridges worldwide including the Queen Elizabeth 11 Bridge at Dartford. He leads the firm's work on special structures, having worked on projects such as Project Boomer, the UK's tallest structure, Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport and the BC Place re-roofing project in Canada. He is extensively involved in the codification of design loading for bridge structures, with particular emphasis on bridge aerodynamics and pedestrian dynamic effects. He has also acted as an expert witness on a wide range of structures and carries out due-diligence studies for major international banks.

David's project portfolio has taken him across the globe and he has developed in-depth knowledge of aeroelastic effects on bridge decks, seismic retrofitting of concrete structures and complex structural analysis, including dynamic response.

Susan Kvalheim

Associate, PBA

Susan is a chartered engineer with over 11 years’ experience within the industry. She has experience in a broad range of construction projects, typically operating as project engineer. This experience includes work on education, offices and commerical and residential schemes, ranging from medium rise apartments to complex city-centre refurbishments. Susan is also responsible for training and people development for the office and regularly runs in-house structural design workshops for the junior staff.

Kishore Ramdeen

Graduate Civil Engineer, Highways England

Kishore graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2014 and has been working in the industry for the past 4 years. Through secondment opportunities, Kishore has worked on a range of high profile infrastructure projects including Crossrail, Lower Thames Crossing and HS2. His experience has seen him deliver heavy civils works for the Crossrail 530 contract in Woolwich and Plumstead, develop quality and assurance processes for the Lower Thames Crossing project, work alongside senior leaders and manage key stakeholder relationships during a placement supporting Highways England’s Chief Highway Engineer. Kishore is currently seconded to WSP where he is designing for several HS2 work packages and local authority schemes.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Shelly-Ann Russell

e: societyevents@ice.org.uk