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Muhammad Talha

Muhammad Talha

Design Manager Riyadh Metro/ICE Country Representative for KSA (Saudi Arabia)

Expertise

Design, Construction, Project Management

Location

Saudi Arabia
Career highlights

Becoming an ICE Chartered Civil Engineer

Worked on Birmingham PFI project, one of the largest PFI projects in Europe

I've worked on two of the largest metro projects in the world (Dubai and Riyadh)

My working day

My day starts at 8am and finishes around 6.30pm.

I start with checking my workflows on a data portal which is used by the contractor. This is where all design submissions are shared with all stakeholders. I check what design submissions have been made and then review these with comments. I usually spend the early hours of the day reviewing these and issuing my comments on the same data portal.

Around midday I spend time with my team members and discuss daily progress and issues.

After midday, I report to my managers and highlight to them daily progress on the project. I attend numerous design meetings in the remaining part of the day and liaise with multi-disciplinary teams of engineering managers, including the Transit, Project Control, Document Control, Contractual, Legal, Risk, Interface and Operations & Maintenance, to ensure all design synergies are captured and addressed.

I supervise a multi-disciplinary team of engineers to lead the management of the design which includes the thorough review of contractor’s design for a complex rail project. The work includes reviewing the basis of design, geotechnical information, permitting procedures, drawings, reports, specifications and all other work necessary in assuring a fully operational rail system that meets all clients and project requirements including schedule, quality and safety standards.

Another career defining project was working on the Birmingham PFI project which covers a huge variety of work to improve and maintain Birmingham’s roads and public infrastructure.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also ... A bassist and music composer.

Muhammad in front of one of Ridyah's metro trains
Muhammad in front of one of Ridyah's metro trains

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

Civil engineers can command handsome remuneration packages.

The key is to diversify your skills and build upon your experiences.

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

Eiffel Tower and Burj Khalifa.

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

Every day is a new challenge and the feeling that my actions and decisions have a direct impact on the public realm.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

Civil engineers are the comfort providers. It’s the mother of all engineering disciplines.

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your own design getting built on site. It’s an amazing feeling when you drive around a city, street or road and see a building or bridge which you’ve designed.

Civil engineering offers a very diverse range of opportunities. Civil engineers have a major responsibility and they play a vital role in infrastructure development and maintenance.

Education

After finishing school, I studied basic engineering in a college for two years (equivalent to A levels) and then pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. After working for a few years, I decided to specialise and completed my master's in steel structures. Post-graduation, I started working in highway structures and bridges. I was put on a training agreement with ICE by my employer. I was training to become a Chartered civil engineer and I had to gain diverse experience to achieve that. It took me about five years to complete my training and get my membership with ICE. To become a good civil engineer, you need both design and construction experience. You also need good business skills to become a good manager who can deliver on time and cost.