Becoming an ICE fellow in 2022
Seeing bridge designs go from preliminary sketches to physical structures
Working on the emergency repair of a bridge that'd been hit by traffic
A day in my life
You often never truly know what you'll be doing, as you can get a wide range of challenges and questions on any given day.
But a typical day could involve a combination of:
- team meetings,
- answering questions and mentoring junior team members,
- attending client meetings to assist with problems they may be facing,
- undertaking structural modelling,
- designing calculations or drawing in CAD,
- managing finances for projects or businesses, and/or
- attending site surveys.
Hopefully a cup of tea (or something stronger) is involved somewhere along the line.
Seeing your work become reality on a scale as massive as a bridge is an experience only civil engineers can experience, and it really takes your breath away.
We asked Doug…
I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…
It allows you to do things and go places that are considered impossible to the general public, all while spending your time benefiting society.
Your work will bring a physical and tangible benefit that you can point to for years after and know you played a part.
What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego?
I made a Lego 'Robot Wars' remote controlled robot, with an electric motor and pneumatic flipper!
Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…
A juggler! You never know what challenges you’ll face, be it technical or with money, people, clients, machinery, or weather!
What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?
The opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects across the country, each bringing a range of challenges, but all benefitting society.
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
Working on site as well as in an office is brilliant.
Working outside gives you a great sense of freedom and you’ll often make great friends with those you’re working with on site.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
Not one project in specific, but to live through the building of the rail network in the UK would’ve been fascinating.
A lot of challenges were encountered for the first time in history, using new materials and methods.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
That bridges are stationary and everlasting. They’re not!
They move, they flex, and they need care and attention throughout their lives – please don’t drive into them!
Any personal causes or hobbies?
I have a passion for the history of engineering and how it developed into what it is today.
In my spare time I’m also a volunteer for a great canal restoration charity, the Friends of the Cromford Canal.
I also have my own engineering website where I offer engineering advice to students and industry practitioners.
Doug's career path
I studied maths and physics at A-Level, but then took a year out to work in the industry before studying a master’s degree at university.
Taking a year out between sixth form and university was a great experience, and really helped to show me that civil engineering was the career for me!
- I’ve worked on HS2 designing a new 120m span bridge crossing the M6.
- On the Windy Harbour project, I was responsible for the check of a new steel footbridge, a two span concrete bridge and retaining structures, and the design of a new fibre reinforced polymer structure.
- I’ve led a design team of 40+ bridge engineers working on bridges and heavy civils projects across the country. A particular highlight was the emergency repair of a bridge that’d been hit by traffic.
- I’ve designed an 80m-long steel arch footbridge in the Midlands.
- I worked on the preliminary design of structures for Thames Tideway Tunnel.
- I worked on the assessment and strengthening of a historic, 105m-long steel motorway bridge.
- I worked on the inspection and assessment of a wide range of structures in the UK rail network including masonry arches, steel bridges, footbridges, station canopies and steel viaducts.