The Engineers Collective

"The Engineers Collective: Exploring Future Impact" podcast.

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Lianne Lawson

Latest Episodes

Celebrating 40 years of the Thames Barrier

Celebrating 40 years of the Thames Barrier

This month’s episode is dedicated to celebrating 40 years since Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Thames Barrier in London, the engineering marvel that protects London from disastrous flooding. We speak to two engineers who worked on its construction, which commenced nearly half a century ago.

Rory O’Grady was a section engineer for Costain on the project between 1975 and 1980 and has just published a book called We Gave A Dam: The Epic Race To Build The Thames Barrier, which recollects the people, struggles and ingenuity that contributed to the creation of the landmark infrastructure.

We also have future ICE president Richard Bayfield who spent six months in the very early part of his career on the barrier as an assistant planning engineer for Costain.

Together they discuss the Thames Barrier’s creation, its legacy and what its future looks like.

Prior to that, host Rob Hakimian and NCE reporter Thomas Johnson briefly discuss the announcement of a General Election in the UK and what that means for the country’s major infrastructure projects and policies.

Francis Scott Key collapse and Everton's new stadium - Plus ICE President Anusha Shah on biodiversity and nature based solutions

Francis Scott Key collapse and Everton's new stadium - Plus ICE President Anusha Shah on biodiversity and nature based solutions

In this episode of The Engineers Collective we speak to ICE president Anusha Shah about the importance of biodiversity net gain (BNG).

This year has seen BNG of 10% become mandatory for new developments. Shah has committed her year in office to pushing the agenda of nature-based solutions in civil engineering. The two themes are intertwined and she explains how they are essential for driving forward sustainability in the built environment and are essential in how construction must be shaped moving into the future.

Prior to the interview, NCE editor Gavin Pearson, news editor Rob Hakimian and report Tom Johnson discuss some of the biggest stories of the last month. There is a chat about the Francis Scott Key collapse and what we have learned from the engineers they’ve spoken to, Tom talks about his chat with Jacobs about San Francisco’s hugely ambitious $13bn plan to protect against inevitable sea level rise and finally the trio discuss the latest developments at Everton FC’s new stadium on Merseyside.

Implications of the budget, new reservoirs on the way and mining in Yorkshire, plus PAS 2080 and systems thinking with Mott MacDonald

Implications of the budget, new reservoirs on the way and mining in Yorkshire, plus PAS 2080 and systems thinking with Mott MacDonald

In this month’s episode of The Engineers Collective podcast from New Civil Engineer we mark one year since the publication of the 2023 update to the PAS 2080 standard for carbon management in infrastructure.


We’ve gathered representatives from Mott MacDonald, the Department for Transport and Anglian Water to gain insight a series of roundtables held by Mott MacDonald where industry stakeholders discussed and debated how PAS 2080 should be implemented in their businesses and projects.


DfT head of systems Tom McLenachan tells us about the systems thinking outcomes from the roundtables, Mott MacDonald water and infrastructure technical principal Heather Marshall discusses the procurement outcomes from the debate and Anglian Water @one Alliance carbon sustainability manager Alex Herridge provides insight on the decision making outcomes from the discussions.


Prior to the interview portion, NCE editor Gavin Pearson, news editor Rob Hakimian and reporter Tom Johnson discuss some of the month’s biggest stories, touching on the lack of infrastructure in the recent Budget and Anglian Water’s development of its £2.2bn Fenlands Reservoir. Lastly, Tom tells us about his recent visit to the Woodsmith polyhalite mine in Yorkshire.


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In the news: climate, rail reform, and space weather? Plus, building theworkforce of the future at the Constructionarium with Julia Stevens

In the news: climate, rail reform, and space weather? Plus, building theworkforce of the future at the Constructionarium with Julia Stevens

In this month’s episode of The Engineers Collective podcast from New Civil Engineer we speak to Julia Stevens, the chief executive of the Constructionarium, about how the facility is preparing budding construction workers and engineers for life on a work site.

Stevens tells us about the Constructionarium, a 7.5ha site at Bircharm Newton in Norfolk, which features a range of work areas including scaled down rivers, lakes, stabilised flatlands, mountainous terrain. We hear about the rigorous week-long courses which encompass everything from pre-construction documentation to client engagement to the actual construction task itself. In this way, participants experience the true breadth of what it is like to work for a contractor.

Prior to the interview portion, NCE editor Gavin Pearson, news editor Rob Hakimian and senior reporter Tom Pashby discuss some of the month’s biggest stories, touching on the draft Rail Reform Bill, the potential impacts of space weather on infrastructure and the need for resilience in the wake of the news that global temperatures breached the 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels barrier for a year straight.

How hydrogen could ‘electroshock’ the energy transition, with Arthur D Little

How hydrogen could ‘electroshock’ the energy transition, with Arthur D Little

This month’s episode of The Engineers Collective from New Civil Engineer focuses on the role that hydrogen could play in the global effort to transition to a zero-carbon world.

International management consultancy Arthur D. Little recently put out a report entitled Hydrogen: The electroshock to the energy transition and in this episode NCE acting news editor Rob Hakimian is joined by three experts from the consultancy to discuss just how this might happen. They discuss where it’s already being used, the barriers to greater adoption, the UK’s recently published hydrogen strategy, National Highways’ commitment to using hydrogen plant on its landmark Lower Thames Crossing road tunnel and much more.

Read Arthur D Little’s full report here.

Prior to the interview portion, Rob is joined by NCE editor Gavin Pearson and reporter Tom Johnson to discuss some of the stories from the civil engineering world that have caught their attention in the early portion of 2024. They discuss Thames Water’s controversial Teddington Direct River Abstraction, the government’s pledge to work with the tidal range sector and Balfour Beatty’s ill-fated attempts to carry out net zero construction at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

What does ‘transforming infrastructure performance’ mean?

What does ‘transforming infrastructure performance’ mean?

The new episode of the Engineers Collective podcast is out now.

This month’s episode focuses on ‘transforming infrastructure performance’.

The UK’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) released two papers, in 2017 and 2021, called Transforming infrastructure performance in which it set out a vision for the future of infrastructure delivery. This process embeds the use of modern tools and greater project integration to make delivery less expensive and less unpredictable, while increasing safety, learning, efficiency and future readiness.

Since then, there have been regular Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) live summits where stakeholders from government, consultants and engineering contractors convene to discuss the developments towards – and hurdles that stand in the way of – reaching the IPA’s vision for infrastructure delivery by 2030.

This year saw TIP events in both Singapore and London, organised by Bentley Systems and supported by Turner & Townsend in association with the IPA.

This year’s summits focused on the implementation of digital tools, artificial intelligence, creating more synergy between delivery bodies, utilisation of modern methods of construction, the need to upskill and maintain talent, decarbonisation and much more.

More about the lessons shared at TIP and videos of some of the sessions can be found at

On this month’s episode we have an international panel of experts who were involved in the TIP events in both Singapore and London, to discuss some of TIP 2023’s key themes even further.

Alongside NCE assistant news editor Rob Hakimian, the panel includes Bentley Systems senior international director of infrastructure advancement Mark Coates, Turner & Townsend director, infrastructure and design management lead Glenda Ho and Turner & Townsend director of portfolio management Liam Bray.

The panel starts by discussing what TIP is and why it is valuable, before moving onto some of the meaty topics.

Opinions are shared on how AI can be used to support supply chains a sustainability before the discussions turns to how firms can further their adoption of new technologies.

There are some interesting comparisons on the way infrastructure is delivered in both the UK and Singapore and how the two nations are approaching the challenge of net zero.

There is also a debate about whether it is the clients holding back the implementation of new technologies in construction or whether the blame lies elsewhere.

The panel then concludes by discussing what concrete steps need to be taken to ensure the industry is on course to meet the IPA’s expectations by 2030.

The value of place making in construction and engineering

The value of place making in construction and engineering

This episode focuses on the value of place making within construction and engineering projects.

Place making is the practice of ensuring that a project goes beyond functionality and delivers something that benefits the society in which it is being constructed. It is ensuring that there is space above and around it for public use, which will bolster a community with new resources.

Fitting in the requirements of a client while also providing wider benefit for the community can make place making feel like a difficult jigsaw, but it has wide-ranging knock-on effects that make it worthwhile. These include improved mental health, physical health, pride of place and economic uplift. These are long-term positives for a broad swatch of society.

We’ve seen plenty of placemaking within cities with the likes of the Battersea and Nine Elms developments around the Northern Line extension or the creation of MediaCity at the previously derelict Salford Quay docklands. However, these types of regenerative projects can also be smaller but just as transformational in smaller locations.

The guests joining NCE assistant news editor Rob Hakimian on this month’s episode have plenty of experience in place making initiatives.

Alex Scott-Whitby is the founder and director of Scott Whitby Studios, the architectural firm that walked away with the Place Making Initiative of the Year award at this year’s British Construction Industry Awards for its Jubilee Pool project in Penzance – a project that is discussed in the podcast.

Alongside Alex is Chris Short, iconic bridge director at Arcadis. Chris’ work also sees him sit on Arcadis’ infrastructure group, which focuses on urban development – something that he is passionate about.

In this conversation, Alex and Chris discuss the importance of place making and how it should be embedded into projects. They talk specifically about the ScottWhitby Studio’s Jubilee Pool and the benefits it has brought to the people of Penzance. They also discuss the makeup of the current urban landscape and how it can be redressed to better serve the public.

The discussion also takes a broader view to discuss the implementation of place making; who has the responsibility to make sure it happens and what is the best way for those working on a project to bring it into a design. Lastly, they look to the future to imagine what towns and cities might look and feel like in the future if place making is instilled in all future developments.

The importance of collaborative reporting to ensure structural and fire safety

The importance of collaborative reporting to ensure structural and fire safety

Safety is paramount in construction. Safety of the people who work on constructing a scheme – and safety of those people who will eventually make use of the scheme.

On this month’s episode of the Engineers Collective, NCE assistant news editor Rob Hakimian is joined by CROSS scheme manager Paul Livesey to discuss the history of CROSS, how it has grown and its importance in today’s construction landscape.

In the conversation, Paul talks about the establishment of CROSS, the sector’s response and how it has developed over its nearly 50 years in existence, bolstered by support from the ICE and IStructE. They discuss how it has proliferated internationally in countries such as Australia and the USA.

Paul also reveals how the publication of the Hackitt Report into the Grenfell tragedy was a watershed moment for CROSS and changed the organisation’s visibility and remit. There is also discussion of the significant input that CROSS has had in the RAAC crisis that has recently been in the mainstream headlines in the UK.

They also discuss the importance of other reports from recent years on CROSS and Paul gives advice, encouragement and instruction to those who feel they would want to report something to the organisation to spread awareness.

The Engineers Collective is powered by Bentley Systems.

Bentley Systems provide innovative software to advance the world’s infrastructure – sustaining both the global economy and environment – for improved quality of life. Its industry-leading software solutions are used by professionals, and organizations of every size, for the design, construction, and operations of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, mining, and industrial facilities.

Find out more at

How cloud based data management is improving delivery of major infrastructure projects

How cloud based data management is improving delivery of major infrastructure projects

Over recent years we have all seen our pictures, music and other prized documents migrate to the cloud, which has presented a new kind of convenience and accessibility.

The same is true in the construction industry, where some projects have seen vital documents, plans and information become stored on a shared cloud. This increases the ways that these documents can be accessed and also ensures that everyone is working from the same update, rather than sifting through various downloaded versions that might not tally with what other people on the project are referencing.

In this episode, former NCE editor Claire Smith and NCE assistant news editor Rob Hakimian are joined by AtkinsRéalis chief geotechnical engineer Simon Miles and AtkinsRéalis senior 3D geological modeller and spatial data specialist Stephanie Boffey-Rawlings to discuss the adoption of cloud-based data management in the ground engineering sector specifically.

Claire starts the podcast with some interesting figures about uptake of the cloud among geoprofessionals, collected from a recent survey carried out by subsurface software firm Seequent. These show that the desire for the transition to the cloud is there, but there are perceived barriers.

We then move on to our discussion with Stephanie and Simon, who start by giving an overview of how cloud-based data management is used on civil engineering projects and the benefits it brings such as a single source of truth and greater collaborative working. They also discuss their own experience with overcoming the barriers to its implementation, but the ultimate benefits it has brought in comparison to traditional data management.

Stephanie and Simon later discuss specific projects, such as the M25, and how it augments every stage of a scheme from design through to delivery. They discuss the lessons learned and how receptive people have been to the change.

Finally, we look into the future to discuss where cloud-based data management could guide the future of civil engineering.

The Engineer’s Collective is powered by Seequent, the subsurface software specialists.

Around the world, teams are using PLAXIS, OpenGround, Leapfrog Works, and GeoStudio to design, build and operate safe, sustainable, and long-lasting infrastructure, from roads to rail, bridges to tunnels, and buildings, dams and levees.

Find out more at

Bio of The Engineers Collective

The Engineers Collective podcast is a platform that discusses the future of engineering and how it will impact our daily lives. As cities grow, resources become scarce, and infrastructure struggles to keep up with demand, innovative solutions are needed. The podcast features members of the New Civil Engineer editorial team and industry experts who share their insights and opinions on the latest trends, challenges, and innovations in engineering.

From roads and railways to water and electricity, engineering plays a crucial role in our daily lives. The podcast offers a glimpse into the work of engineers who are responsible for designing and maintaining the infrastructure that supports our economy and environment. The show is sponsored by Bentley Systems, a software solutions provider used by engineers, architects, constructors, and owner-operators to improve project delivery and asset performance. The Engineers Collective is a must-listen for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the engineering industry.

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