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David Vanneck

David Vanneck

senior civil engineer, Pringuer-James Consulting Engineers Limited

Expertise

Design, Water

Location

United Kingdom
My highlights

Working on sustainable drainage systems

Leading civil design in a dynamic structural engineering firm

Getting chartered with the ICE

A day in my life

I meet with the company directors weekly to see what projects are coming which require civils design work and discuss progress of ongoing projects.

I give new projects to members of my civils team and ensure everyone has the right amount of work for the week.

I progress the designs of projects which I’m responsible for.

I talk to my structural design colleagues to coordinate my designs with theirs.

I have client meetings online or in client offices.

I go to site during the design and construction phases.

I network with prospective clients and prepare fee proposals for potential new work.

About weekly, lunch is provided either for a technical talk or for a company update meeting.

About monthly, the company have a social event after work or occasionally a company away day.

I keep fit by cycling to work and going to a gym during some lunch breaks.

As a chartered member of the ICE, I’m a professional whose advice is respected and sought.

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

It’s difficult to say, but the bridges across the Tyne in my university town of Newcastle provided some inspiration (of course I had already chosen the degree at that point).

We asked David…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

Civil engineering is about building things and building the future. It’s creative and imaginative, therefore positive and infinite.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

I’m not sure, but my young son makes Lego ‘machines’, the purposes of which he hasn’t yet explained to me.

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

husband, father, guitarist, traveller, friend.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

The ceaseless opportunities to learn, collaborate, invent, build, imagine and have fun.

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

It’s all about communication and risk management.

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

The next one. Or, Bazalgette’s London sewers.

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

That it’s boring and for boys.

Has civil engineering helped you overcome any personal hurdles/difficulties?

Given me some sense of purpose and achievement (I get some from elsewhere as well of course).

What motivated you to become professionally qualified? 

As a chartered member of the ICE, I’m a professional whose advice is respected and sought.

What does being professionally qualified with the ICE mean for your career?  

I’m very employable and enjoy some freedom in what direction I want to take with my career.

What’s the best thing about being professionally qualified with the ICE? 

The community.

I was helped immeasurably by numerous engineers who went before me on my journey to chartership.

They gave me their time generously and expected nothing in return.

I feel privileged to have passed this favour on to engineers after me on their journeys to chartership.

How did the ICE and your employer support you to become professionally qualified? 

My employer paid subscription fees, provided training and relevant work. The ICE provided advice, technical talks and forums.

What do you value most about being an ICE member? 

The professional community.

How has being a member helped your career? 

Career progression and respect.

Anything else?

Rock’n’roll.

Create a sewerage system that channels it away from central London

London sewer system

Create a sewerage system that channels it away from central London

Build a bridge or tunnel to cross the river Tyne in north east England

Tyne Crossings

Build a bridge or tunnel to cross the river Tyne in north east England

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is part of a 3-stage project to cut river pollution and clean up the Thames.

Thames Tideway

The Thames Tideway Tunnel is part of a 3-stage project to cut river pollution and clean up the Thames.

Crossrail – also known as the Elizabeth line - is a new railway through London. With the capital’s population set to reach 10 million by 2030, it’s designed to improve a public transport system already struggling to cope.

Crossrail - the Elizabeth line

Crossrail – also known as the Elizabeth line - is a new railway through London. With the capital’s population set to reach 10 million by 2030, it’s designed to improve a public transport system already struggling to cope.

HS2 is Britain’s new zero carbon, high-speed railway, and the UK’s flagship transport levelling up project. It's the biggest rail investment ever made in the north of England and is Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

High Speed 2 (HS2)

HS2 is Britain’s new zero carbon, high-speed railway, and the UK’s flagship transport levelling up project. It's the biggest rail investment ever made in the north of England and is Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

Create, develop and maintain an international airport for London and the south east

Heathrow Airport

Create, develop and maintain an international airport for London and the south east

David's career path

  • A-levels: physics, maths, chemistry, art
  • University: combined bachelors and masters (4 years) in civil and structural engineering
  • Chartered Engineer and member of the ICE (CEng MICE)

Work-wise, I started out working for Anglian Water designing sewer connections and retrofitting sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) to reduce the number of sewage discharges into rivers.

I then moved to a team in which I designed drainage, highways and infrastructure for numerous projects, from smaller developments to hospitals to the mega projects to the right.

Since I got chartered, I’ve moved to a very small company where I enjoy leading civil design in a dynamic structural engineering firm.

Major projects

  • HS2
  • Thames Tideway
  • Heathrow Expansion
  • Crossrail