As summer is full of sunny warm days as opposed to rainy winter days, it is the perfect opportunity to get out of the office by going on site visits to gain more practical experience.
On site I get to meet a wide spectrum of professionals ranging from project managers to welders or brick layers. I am able to observe various phases of construction, as well as witnessing the responsibilities of site mangers when handling plant, labour or materials. This gives me a better insight into construction processes which is a huge advantage for me when undertaking design work. This is because I have a better understanding of how to design certain elements that can prevent issues on site.
Site visits are also a very useful experience as they enable me to get a bigger picture of what I am expected to deliver as a Design Engineer and ultimately increase my fundamental understanding about civil and structural engineering. I also find that site visits enhance my work performance as I need less supervision, I ask less questions and am able to deliver the work quicker too.
The most recent project I was fortunate enough to work on was a new building for the Plymouth Studio School which is a local school for 14-19 year olds combining academia with sporting excellence. I became involved fairly early on in the design stage which began with attending a design team meeting where project phases were discussed with the client, contractors and designers. I then produced drawings which were part of the design and later used in the construction of the building. Further on down the line I went to site with my line manager at the construction stage of the project to check the construction details were according to the drawings that we had produced. I also had the opportunity on site to speak with the site manager who was able to provide me with further information about the construction materials and methods they had used on site. It was very rewarding to be part of this project from the very beginning when design discussions began, to then be able to witness the construction of our work on site. It also feels good to know that this project will be a direct benefit to the local community by enabling education of the local youth and young adults.
The knowledge I have gained from this project is also directly related to the dissertation I am planning to undertake in the next year of my degree. From witnessing the full process of the project I have a better understanding of the project phases, what they entail and typical issues that arise in the industry.