ExpertiseDesign, Construction, Project Management
Selected as ICE President Andrew Wyllie’s Future Leader 2018/19
Working on the detailed design of the 1.8km Cross Bay Link Bridge in Hong Kong, which will significantly improve traffic for a million residents
Travelled to London, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong to meet with the ICE President and industry leaders
My working day
Before everyone’s day gets busy, I like to take some time in the morning to catch up with my colleagues. Communication and teamwork are very important to our work.
I’ll then work on urgent and important tasks, such as updating work drawings that the contractor needs for construction and preparing a design submission.
Around midday, I’ll review the project programme, checking design reports, accessing compensation events, meeting with the client to report the progress of works.
Throughout the day, I will get calls from the contractors working on site with queries regarding our design. I work closely with various parties to find the best solution to problems.
This involves close liaison with the client and other stakeholders to investigate any impact to their properties, meetings with the quantity surveyors to discuss cost and contract-related issues, reviewing the as-built site condition with the land surveyors, and checking the 3D models with the BIM (Building Information Modelling) manager to avoid clashing of any utilities or structures.
My career inspiration
My career has been inspired by two people, Professor John Burland CBE and Dr Robin Sham CBE.
Professor Burland is best known as the engineer who ensures the stability of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Learning about his achievements made me realise that engineers play very important roles in many high-profile and extraordinary projects, which can define a city, and even a country.
I grew up in Hong Kong, and I’m always amazed by its long-span bridges. Dr Sham designed some of my favourite bridges in Hong Kong, such as the Kap Shui Mun Bridge. He believes bridges “connect people and places both physically and emotionally”. This really inspired me to become an engineer who helps to improve people’s lives.
We asked Eric…
What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?
No two days are ever the same for civil engineers so it’s difficult to get bored.
I used to think that civil engineering was all about the technical expertise and overcoming construction challenges.
I soon learned that civil engineers are also involved in budget control, contract management, public consultation, stakeholder liaison, city development planning, and much more.
Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?
A Google image search on “civil engineers” shows that we are men in hard hats, set against a background of heavy plants and construction sites. It appears to the public that civil engineering is a dull, unsociable, and male-dominated community.
The above is far from true. Our profession is one with a great history of transforming lives and shaping a better world.
Our job is to improve society, and construction is just one of the ways to achieve that. We’re using smart technology to build sustainable cities around the world, providing infrastructure to connect people and places, and addressing environmental issues on a global scale.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
It’s definitely the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong. With a main span of 1,377m, it’s the world’s longest bridge carrying rail traffic.
It’s a landmark of Hong Kong and the most prominent element of the Tsing Sha Highway. The Highway is the only roadway linking Hong Kong International Airport to the urban areas. The bridge is therefore of significant importance to the whole transportation network in Hong Kong.
Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?
Civil engineering is challenging and exciting.
Our contribution can be seen in so many ways in everyone’s daily life, and this gives you immense satisfaction.
From a well-planned smart city to structures that define a nation; civil engineers are vital in creating these and turn ideas into reality.
The world is a blank canvas for civil engineers, and a career in civil engineering allows you to leave a mark on the world forever.
I studied maths, physics and information technology A-Levels and was accepted onto the Imperial College London MEng Civil and Environmental Engineering with a year abroad course.
I did my final year of study in Australia as an exchange student at the University of Melbourne.
I was awarded a QUEST scholarship with VINCI and did internships on the Crossrail project and the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road project.
I also did an internship with MTR on the Express Rail Link project in Hong Kong.
After graduation, I joined AECOM’s Global Long Span and Specialty Bridges Group and was based at its Hong Kong office. I recently started my work on a construction site, supervising the construction of cross-boundary facilities and roads connecting mainland China and Hong Kong.