What our students say
Subject of study: Building Engineering BSc Honours, graduated 2012
Current employer: Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Current job title: Building Services Engineer
Why did you choose the University of Westminster to study Building Engineering?
Westminster is the only university that teaches the Building Engineering course and is accredited by the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE). I am also using my experience at the University of Westminster to work on my Chartered Institute of Building Services (CIBSE) profile, along with my experience working for Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.
What did you enjoy about the course at Westminster?
The course at the University of Westminster leads students into a path which evaluates a number of different topics within the field of construction. Building engineers are expected to review commercial, management and technical aspects as part of the course. In addition, students are given the opportunity to question and discuss ways to improve construction activities. This can be in terms of sustainable development, cost saving or ways to meet time deadlines. The building engineering route gives students the opportunity to decide which path to take after graduation; this could be as a building services engineer, structural engineer or as a building control surveyor, to name a few routes.
How has your career developed since graduating?
My career in the construction industry started in September 2007. My initial role was as a Trainee Building Services Engineer at Lorne Stewart Plc. whilst undertaking the Building Engineering BSc degree at the University of Westminster. The course was completed on a day-release basis over a period of 5 years. During this period, I combined on-site experience with my University studies, graduating in 2012 with First Class Honours. In September 2012, I started a postgraduate course in Building Services and Management. In January 2013, I decided to change my career path slightly; moving from Lorne Stewart Plc. to Sir Robert McAlpine. I am currently working on a high-end residential project in Kensington, before moving onto the New London Embassy in Vauxhall.
What does your current role involve?
As a Building Services Engineer for Sir Robert McAlpine, I am entrusted to manage sub-contractors to complete a project; within a budget, on time and to an exceptional standard. Specifications, drawings and employer’s requirements are issued at the beginning of the project. These documents tend to provide the basis of the project, and the expectations of the client. Building services engineers should also be able to review designs, be good at solving problems, and have good leadership qualities – particularly at commissioning stage!
How has your experience at the University of Westminster helped you in your career?
The University of Westminster has helped my career significantly. The Building Engineering course included a building services element and explored the requirements of an individual who works for the main contractor. This is particularly useful for my current role at Sir Robert McAlpine. Also, it is important to be aware of other project interfaces within the building industry, which may have an impact on the building services package.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
After completing my studies at Westminster, I was nominated for the Worshipful Company of Constructors, Constructor’s Prize – with the support of the University. I was then awarded this prize in February 2013, and have since become a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Constructors.
Subject of study: Building Engineering BSc Honours, graduated 2009
Current employer: Kier
“I chose Westminster because it is the middle of things in London and it’s connected to the projects that go on across the capital. I think my decision to come to Westminster was influenced by professionals recognising that Westminster’s modules are complementary and interlink with the real world of construction and the market place. Westminster gives you a comprehensive awareness of the real world of construction, the demanding industrial hours and workload, the need to be organised and deliver to a high quality on time and take personal responsibility.
The best things are about Westminster are:
- The central London location.
- The course was practical and set around London so you could get out to the environment to look at the work the lecturer was talking about. You can learn from the big construction projects happening in the area.
- Lecturers keep up to date with the technology and contracts practice of the industry in all sectors.
- The Personal Development support at Westminster makes students aware of the requirements of employers for professional accreditation – I am now flying through my PDP with the CIOB which means I can sit my full CIOB accreditation in Feb 2013. Kier were also able to come to the university to interview me here.
- The best bit is the diversity of staff and students and the knowledge exchange that goes on whilst you are here. People at Westminster are diverse and come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions.
- The group work and presentations are fundamental to building your confidence for the business world.
After Westminster I was employed by Kier and sent out to Dubai for 6 months working on the Jebal Ali Port on infrastructure work. This project was part of the expansion to link Dubai and Abu Dhabi as a trading centre for the middle and Far East, part of the main UAE transport hub plans.
When the work finished I returned to London and was transferred to the tendering team for Crossrail, working as an engineering specialising in the technical submission elements of the bid: quality environment and health and safety. I am now in business development seeking new clients and business opportunities.
Recently we have been awarded Chelsea River Bridge for Network Rail so I am returning to site work to build up my site experience in heavy engineering and infrastructure and increase my management skills across the heavy engineering trades. Kier has been brilliant for training – since joining them I have been on over 15 courses that have helped me with my career.”