October 16, 2017
Congratulations to our Emeritus Chairman Anthony Ward on taking up the role of the 41st Master Constructor with the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery Company on the 4th of October 2017. The Livery Company was founded in 1976 and has over 300 members across all sectors of our industry. It supports Awards and Scholarships in the industry, fundraises for charitable causes and supports the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen of The City in guiding the work of The City Corporation.
October 4, 2017
Tasha Chandler of our Birmingham branch was featured in the October issue of The Structural Engineer publication, selected alongside two others from the institution’s Young Member’s Panel, to wax lyrical on their careers so far in the industry.
“Tasha Chandler is the obvious first port of call if you want to found out about career priorities for young members of the institution. She is the energetic chair of its national Young Members’ Panel and has been an active member of the institution since she first started work in 2011.
She became chartered in 2015 and her early working life has all been about her drive to get professional recognition by passing the Chartered Membership Examination and through the type of work she is given by her employers. She has moved job twice in this quest and is evidence that, within her cohort of structural engineers, there are many who are not prepared to sit quietly and wait for their employers to give them what they want; they will move on and find it for themselves.
Now 28, she is working for her third company and seems to have found her niche for the moment at AKS Ward in Birmingham; one that suits her ambitions and her style of working. ‘I was introduced to AKS Ward by a former colleague,’ she says. ‘I had been looking for new opportunities and AKS Ward, being new to the Midlands, stood out as something different. Through a joint venture known as Corde I share an office with architects and M&E engineers in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. It’s the perfect environment for cross-discipline working, and an example of where the industry is heading as roles become less defined, with the development of BIM and the use of federated models. That was a big attraction for me. You learn so much by osmosis, by simply being around other professionals, and we help each other out even on non-Corde projects.’
Chandler studied engineering at Cambridge and joined WSP in Birmingham after graduation in 2011. ‘I liked the idea of a big company because I thought there would be opportunities to move around within it, but that turned out not to be the norm. I was there for a great two-and-a-half years, including eight months with Laing O’Rourke at its Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) plant, which was fascinating. As well as continuing work on Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital from a contractor’s perspective, I was converting consultants’ in-situ designs into DfMA schemes. From this I learned to understand a contractor’s constraints, such as pallet sizes and demoulding, but I still didn’t feel I was getting the holistic project experience I needed to become chartered.
She then moved to BWB, which had a growing office in Birmingham. ‘When I joined, the other structural engineers in the office left!’ Tasha says. ‘It was either sink or swim and I had a stimulating eight months when I had more responsibility than I was sure I wanted.’ Vikki Klette, an engineer with over 10 years’ experience, then joined the business and Chandler found she was working with someone who could validate her engineering decisions – especially as the projects got bigger. ‘That was a game changer for me,’ she says.
The decision to go for her chartership at a relatively young age was prompted by some encouragement during some time off work. ‘I’d embarked on the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) route as it was encouraged at WSP, and seemed a quicker route to chartership, but I struggled to fit myself into the commercial boxes that it demands. However, the IStructE’s objectives and exam fitted with everything I’d experienced to date. I’d enjoyed engaging with the Midland Counties Regional Group; and this led to being co-opted onto the Young Members’ Panel and then Council – everything just felt so friendly and inclusive.’
When Chandler passed her CM Exam, she was after a new challenge. ‘So I looked around – I had time after all that studying was over. AKS Ward offered me more responsibility to fulfil, a unique opportunity, and I have been there 18 months. Working as Corde with new colleagues to deliver the Kents Hill School in Milton Keynes through construction to handover was certainly a rewarding start.’
Chandler competes in iron-distance triathlons – swimming 3.8km, cycling over 180km and then running a marathon. All that energy has also been brought to bear on the Young Members’ Panel. ‘My region nominated me and I started as a corresponding member. Now I am Chair. We aim to represent the views of young members to the Institution’s Board and Council and we are taken very seriously. When I report our key issues to Council, I get bombarded with questions and interest – momentum is really gathering.’
A particular success on her watch has been the launch and continuation of the successful Young Engineers’ Conference, which just held its second event. Institution support for her career has been good, she says, but could be better. ‘I think the student-to-graduate transition could be better supported,’ she says. ‘My region has been very active in its support, but others are not so lucky.’
Next on the list for the Young Members’ Panel to assist with is ethics, particularly the tricky issue of how a young engineer can highlight something in design they think is wrong. ‘We are finding young engineers won’t go to their boss and point out potential errors. But they need to be given confidence in their own competence and not be afraid to point issues out.’
And the CM Exam needs to move on and be future proofed, she says. ‘It’s designed for the way people used to work, with design calculations and full technical drawings by hand. I understand they are skills we need, but, in reality, in the workplace most people form concept designs and sketches, then go to computer software for the detail. That disconnect makes the exam a larger undertaking than it perhaps used to be, which may be off-putting for future generations, who should be encouraged.”
As published in The Structural Engineer | October 2017
October 2, 2017
Matt Groves of our Hitchin branch is hosting a stand at this year’s Farm Business Innovation Show, taking place at the NEC in November.
Read more about this event here.
September 13, 2017
Our Chairman and founding Director Anthony Ward has decided, after effectively 41 years in Private Consultancy, to retire from his executive role in AKS Ward, with effect from the 1st of August 2017.
He is shortly to take up the role of Master Constructor with the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery Company, which is entirely charitable, and will engage the majority of his time over the next 15 months.
He will retain his ties with AKS Ward, acting as a Consultant, as well as undertaking other roles in the industry, and the City of London’s Livery Movement. We wish Tony the best of success in these and his future endeavours, and we shall be supporting him in his Livery work.
August 7, 2017
CORDE Ltd recently celebrated its third birthday on 3rd August. Technical staff across the collaboration attended a barbecue event at one of our confederates’ London offices in the evening, marking the anniversary in that oldest of traditions, burgers and beers.
Roger Fitzgerald, Chairman of adp and CORDE Director, narrates in more detail about CORDE.
July 18, 2017
Technical Director in our Oxford branch, Oliver Fyson, narrates at length on the intricate design of the steel frame for an Oxford University Department of Chemistry building, currently in design.
June 15, 2017
David Whittaker and Tasha Chandler of our Birmingham office took up the Ironman 70.3 & Marathon Challenge to raise funds for Stroke Association.
The Ironman aspect consisted of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run, which took place on Sunday, 18th of June. The Marathon takes place in Birmingham on 15th October.
David narrates on his motivation for taking part:
“At the start of the year I challenged myself with some friends (one being Tasha) to take part in an Ironman and Marathon for charity. I had never taken part in a triathlon before and had only ever run 13.1 miles. My swimming wasn’t good either as I could only manage a length. Early on in the year I lost my Grandma, so I decided to do these two events in the memory of her. She had a Stroke 15 years ago so it felt fitting to raise money for the Stroke Association who helped her out over the years.
If you would like to sponsor me please see the link below.”
Tasha had this to say following the event:
“I think we were both relieved just to make it over the line! An amazing achievement for Dave in particular after just six months training and a lot of effort put in to learning to swim over an endurance distance. There have been many generous donations so far, but it would be great to get some more as we are getting close to the £1k target. Fitting perhaps that the race was on Father’s day – I lost my father very shortly after he had a stroke in 2008, as well as Dave unfortunately losing his grandmother earlier this year.”
Finishing times on the day were: Tasha 5:57, and David 6:48
Sponsor David at Just Giving. You can also sponsor by texting ‘DAWW86’ followed by the amount you want to raise to 70070.
June 12, 2017
On 8th June Alex, Bradley and Megan from our London Office took part in a virtual cycle race for One Great Day, a charity event held to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and other Children’s health charities nationwide.
Our team cycled two miles on three static bikes at St Christopher’s Place, and at time of participation Alex coming at second fastest male, Bradley fourth, and Megan first fastest female. To show your support for a fantastic cause and our team efforts please donate at Virgin Money.
You can keep up with event updates on the day on twitter: @OneGreatDay1