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Chris Landsburgh

Chris Landsburgh

Environmental and sustainability manager, Wills Bros


Water, Construction, Environmental Management, Carbon


United Kingdom
Career highlights

ICE President's Future Leader 2019/20

BRE’s graduate scheme gave me insights into a variety of engineering projects all over the world

Gaining a position at Wills Bros Civil Engineering as environmental and sustainability manager

How I became a civil engineer

With the skills gained from my degrees and experience from the Building Research Establishment (BRE), I gained a position at Wills Bros Civil Engineering now leading the environmental and sustainability department.

BRE’s graduate scheme allowed me to gain an insight into a variety of engineering projects all over the world which were looking to push the boundaries of best practice.

These included projects in the Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and some close to home like Crossrail and HS2.

I've worked on a number of classified major projects in my position at BRE.

This has allowed me to gain an insight into the operations and thought processes behind the engineers constructing some of the UK’s largest and most significant projects.

Civil engineering has the capacity to make positive change for the better through continuous innovation and collaboration.

A day in my life

Each day is never the same as the last!

I'm both office and site-based and responsible for developing our suite of environmental and sustainability management plans.

I regularly travel to our sites to check on progress. I liaise with everyone in the organisation from the managing director, project manager, design teams, the agents, to the general labourers.

One day I could be designing the temporary drainage for our sites, another I could be calculating the embodied carbon contained within a section of pavement.

On another day, I could be knee-high in mud on a site dealing with an environmental emergency.

Having a varied and changing working environment and dealing with an array of expertise and abilities allows me to fully appreciate the engineering problems from many different angles.

Chris Landsburgh using a drone on site.
Chris Landsburgh using a drone on site.

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

The one thing I love about civil engineering is the willingness industry has to make positive change for the better through continuous innovation and collaboration.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

The myth I want to bust in engineering is that contractors only care about the bottom line.

Our organisation puts social and environmental enhancement at the top of both their vision and values and this is demonstrated through the delivery and commitment to continuous innovation on these projects.

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

Living in a city like Glasgow, design and innovation surrounded me throughout my life.

From Glasgow’s grid-like street designs to its historic shipbuilding docks, it's home to some of the most famous infrastructure and engineers in the world.

There have been a number of influential people who have inspired me to drive forward in the civil engineering sector.

From Pete Bonfield at BRE to Jonathan Wills at Wills Bros, both have inspired me with their drive and determination to excel within industry.

They've each provided me with multiple platforms to become a future leading engineer, and I hope that in time I'll have the same chance to provide graduate engineers with similar opportunities.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

As a proud Glaswegian, there are numerous areas of engineering history I would have liked to have an insight into, specifically working on the shipyards on the River Clyde to the Glasgow Subway System.

As two infamous and very different engineering wonders, I would've loved to have had an insight into the engineering mindsets and hardships faced by those working on both.

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

I have a genuine passion for the environment.

My role as a civil engineer and environmental manager at Wills Bros gives me the opportunity to be involved in various aspects of sustainable infrastructure.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

Being a civil engineer is a fantastic career.

From being involved in the design of a project to overseeing delivery, or literally constructing the asset itself - each phase of works provides you as an engineer the opportunity make a contribution to both the built and physical environment.