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Ho Sang Alex Chan

Ho Sang Alex Chan

engineer, AtkinsRéalis


Design, Project Management


My highlights

Moving to the UK to work as an engineer at AtkinsRéalis

Becoming a Chartered Engineer with the ICE

Working on Control Period 7 Wales and Western route for Network Rail

A day in my life

In my role, I often do general or principal inspections with my team, which I enjoy.

There’s a lot of planning to do before going to site, like agreeing on a date with the site controller so we can enter the compound.

I like inspections because they allow me to become more familiar with Wales and the UK.

I also work on the designs of structures.

I’m currently working on year two of Control Period 7, the Wales and Western route for Network Rail.

One of the structures being built is four spans, with different structural elements.

It can be very challenging to look at the drawings to understand the structure, so one thing I’ve tried is to print the plan out and colour in the structural element.

This can help my team and I understand the structure easily. Some might say it’s a waste of time, but we want to do everything right.

Civil engineering is like building something with Lego bricks. We're trying to build structures to make people's lives easy. As civil engineers, we're shaping a better world and future.

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

My friend – they were already chartered with the ICE and they inspired me to go for it, too.

We asked Alex

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

We can and must tackle global warming.

After COP26, it was clear that we must limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Some of this increase is caused by the carbon dioxide that the construction industry emits.

So as civil engineers, it’s time to think of innovative ways to reduce this.

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

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also a leader, guiding people to complete the work in the time given.

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

The need to think deeply about the health and safety element of every project. We want everyone to go home safely.

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

It's helped me in moving to the UK and mastering the language. English isn’t my first language, so I’ve been speaking it with a lot of different people to improve my ability.

Also, when I moved to the UK, my career changed a lot. I knew it'd be hard at the beginning, but I've been positive and have kept asking questions when I don't understand something.

The more you ask, the more you know.

What motivated you, or is motivating you, to become professionally qualified? 

My friends and family encouraged me to become a professionally qualified engineer.

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

Being able to share my knowledge with junior team members and help them solve their problems.

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

It’s an honour to become a professionally registered member of the ICE. It gives me more confidence in my abilities as an engineer.

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

My employer set up a mock interview for me before I did my professional review.

What do you value most about being an ICE member? 

I can tell myself, friends and family that I’m qualified with the ICE.

How has being a member helped your career? 

It’s helping me become a more well-rounded engineer.

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy playing badminton.

Alex's career path

I studied a master's in civil engineering at Swansea University in Wales. I then worked as a civil engineer in Hong Kong before moving to the UK to work as an engineer at AtkinsRéalis.

I recently became a Chartered Engineer with the ICE (CEng MICE).