What inspired you to become a structural engineer?
As a child, I enjoyed deconstructing things and building them back, primarily to understand how they work and how components are connected. These included radios, turntables and computers.
Thinking back, it seems that my father was my main inspiration, who as a civil engineer, showed me every side of the construction industry from sketching and modelling to site scheduling and pouring concrete.
Later, I chose research in structural engineering, as it is at the intersection between theory and practice and outcomes of my work can have impact on how structures will be designed.
What are the greatest achievements of your career?
I have had the opportunity to be part of world-leading research groups, publishing around 40 peer reviewed papers in journals and conference proceedings as well as technical reports.
These include investigations focusing of hybrid and composite steel-concrete members and connections, dissipative steel elements, FRP-concrete composites and reinforced concrete components, both under static and extreme loading. More recently, I have been awarded the ‘2019 Best Research Paper Prize’ in IStructE’s Structures Journal.
How would you define structural engineering?
Structural engineering is the engineering discipline that designs the skeleton of our infrastructure such as skyscrapers and bridges. It is at the intersection between physical laws, empirical knowledge, intuition and mathematics. It plays with materials and geometries to shape everything that is manmade, and it is everywhere in our surroundings.
Structural engineering ensures that our built environment is safe for users, that the structures we live in and use every day are able to withstand natural hazards such as earthquakes, explosions, impact or floods, and that they are durable and sustainable.
Who should become a structural engineer?
Structural engineering is for everyone who has an interest in shaping our built environment, has knowledge in maths and technology and has good critical thinking and reasoning skills.
What does Chartered Membership of the Institution mean to you?
Being elected as a Member is a high point of my career, as it is a recognition of my expertise and hard work, and means I am part of the structural engineering ‘elite’.
How do you interact with the Institution?
I am really involved with IStructE’s London Young Members Group and South Eastern Regional Group where I have been a committee member for the past two years.
I have also written papers which have been published in Structures and I am planning to take more active roles at the HQ by joining committees and panels which are related to my academic work.
I regularly attend events at HQ and in my local region. There is a huge benefit to attending these events, particularly in getting a deeper insight into practical aspects of all areas of structural engineering. They are also a good opportunity to meet other members of the Institution.
I am a keen reader of The Structural Engineer as it publishes high quality articles which I find extremely useful for my development. Key sections that I enjoy reading are the ‘Project focus’ and ‘Technical Guidance Notes’, but also find useful the ‘Professional guidance’ section and Verulam.
As my main focus is research in structural engineering, papers from Structures Journal are essential to keep up with new research developments.