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Ifan Rowlands

Ifan Rowlands

managing director and co-owner, Cadarn Consulting Engineers Ltd.


Project Management, Structural, Design


My highlights

Becoming a Fellow of the ICE

Delivering STEM seminars on behalf of Careers Wales at local schools and colleges

Sitting on the ICE North Wales Executive Committee as vice chair

A day in my life

Every day as a civil engineer is like solving a puzzle, a crossword or, in some cases, literally re-inventing the wheel as the wheel needs to be re-purposed.

Every day, we are presented with situations by our clients which require us to innovate, and to be inventive, creative and practical as we attempt to give answers and resolve issues.

Although one person in civil engineering may be a small cog in the construction industry, our impact as individuals is far reaching.

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

Robert Jones, highway inspection and area engineer for the Isle of Anglesey Highway Authority in 1996.

I was very fortunate to have work experience with the Local Highway Authority. During the two-week placement I surveyed railway and highway bridges, and was involved with the resolution of highway flooding issues.

Robert Jones has since retired. However, his calm and controlled manner of approaching an issue, using practical application of methods for their resolution, really stood out and inspired me to become a civil engineer.

We asked Ifan…

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…

Civil engineering, in my view, is the most exciting, challenging and rewarding professional career. It combines the thrill of problem-solving using experience and academic methods with creativity in designing and constructing vital infrastructure that improves the lives of everyone.

Every day is like being handed a pack of random Lego pieces and being asked to create something functional with it.

No day is the same and no situation or design that’s required to overcome an issue is ever the same.

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

Over the years I’ve constructed many Lego sets, from Star Wars to pirates, and also created my own Lego sets from random pieces.

These days I enjoy helping my young sons build their Lego sets and often get mistaken for being a big kid myself after hours of Lego immersion.

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

A husband, a father, a mentor and a leader that has a passion for civil engineering. 

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

The challenge of solving any given situation and the comfort of knowing that, although as engineers we don’t have superpowers, our knowledge and experience help improve lives and make the world a better place. 

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

I love that, although one person in civil engineering may be a small cog in the construction industry, our impact as individuals is far reaching.

Not only to improve the lives of humans but also to enhance and protect the environment.

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

The iconic Menai Suspension Bridge. It was constructed in a time when rules and guidance were being written.

The ingenuity of the engineer to make use of relatively local materials and break new ground through innovation was paramount.

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

That it’s not for everyone.

Anyone can be a civil engineer, regardless of their background, gender or ethnicity. All you need to be a civil engineer is the drive to want to make a difference to the lives of others.

Anything else?

I think it’s very important for civil engineers, regardless of where they are within their career, to acknowledge the importance of their roles in wider society.

We need to impart the knowledge we've gathered onto others through mentoring and by taking part in educational knowledge sharing with schools and academic institutions.

After all, what use is it to anyone if you, as an individual, have worked out how to complete the Lego set but then show no one else how to?

Build a bridge to move people or trains across the Menai Strait in Wales

Menai Crossings

Build a bridge to move people or trains across the Menai Strait in Wales

Ifan's career path

My pathway to becoming a civil engineer, albeit not the standard route, is one which I would very much advocate.

Following A-Levels, I started a year in industry in 1998 with W S Atkins.

I was then employed as a civil engineering technician for a Local Highway Authority and studied a HNC and BEng Hons in civil engineering part-time as a day-release student.

After completing my degree, I was employed as a graduate engineer and progressed to senior engineer, principal engineer and now managing director.

This route allowed me to gain practical experience while gaining my academic qualifications.

Major projects

  • Colwyn Bay Pier: I was an expert witness in the assessment and demolition of Colwyn Bay Pier for Conwy County Council
  • SuDs Approval Bodies (SAB): I obtained the first successful SAB approval in North Wales
  • Titan: I demonstrated that a historical steel portal framed building, built by shipwrights in Liverpool docks, could be repurposed

I'm also managing director of Bingham Rawlings Partnership, which is responsible for the design of iconic structures such as the Wrexham Football Club stadium.