Ernest Etim, Assistant Resident Engineer, N56 - Mountcharles to Drumbeigh scheme
I spent the past nine months working as an assistant resident engineer on the construction stage of the N56 - Mountcharles to Drumbeigh scheme in Donegal.
The experience has given me a better appreciation of the central role engineers play in all phases of a roads project - from design to handover - and just how much our work impacts on society.
During my site rotation, I learned how important teamwork is in terms of keeping a project on programme. The timeframe for addressing requests from the contractor tends to be quite short, particularly when decisions are needed to solve a construction or design problem. The employer's representative (ER) team has to get together, identify the key issues and delegate tasks to various team members within the time available. These decisions can have an immediate impact on the construction process and the general public.
I was given responsibility in my role on site, but I also got a lot of support from the more experienced team members, including the senior resident engineer. He supervised my work on, for example, maintaining as-built documents. I collated as-built data from the contractor, which I cross-referenced to the site team’s own records. I adopted methods of taking notes to easily identify on what day personnel or equipment was used during the construction of the many elements of the scheme. I also applied this approach to recording the tests I observed, as well as carrying out site inspections.
I was encouraged to ask questions to understand what was required of me, particularly when it came to dealing with the public and communicating with the contractor and the employer. For example, when carrying out inspections and assessing requests for information, I sought clarification from the senior resident engineer before engaging with the contractor or landowners.
Over the course of my site rotation, my understanding of how to implement ROD’s quality and safety management systems (QMS) improved. For example, I familiarised myself with the ROD QMS and project manual for the scheme in relation to the various QMS procedures, including those for correspondence, site inspections and preparation of as-built documentation.
Now that I am back in the office, I have a clearer understanding of how to incorporate health and safety considerations into my designs. I am also giving greater thought to constructability based on my site experience.
Miguel Angel Hidalgo – Assistant Resident Engineer, Royal Canal Premium Cycle Route
I am working on the site of the Royal Canal Premium Cycle Route at present. ROD has been appointed as the detailed designer, employer’s representative and site supervisor for the scheme, which makes it a very interesting site rotation for a graduate engineer like me.
My job is to assist the resident engineer in completing the daily tasks, including keeping daily records of site works, writing weekly reports, undertaking site inspections and solving the day-to-day site issues.
At an early stage in my site rotation, I participated in supervising the execution of steel sheet piles and bored CFA piles. The experience helped me to understand the construction sequencing of both steel sheet piles and bored CFA structural foundation components and furthered my knowledge of how to design for works to be constructed safely and efficiently.
My colleagues in the office, Andrew O’Connell and Thomas Leonard, are a great source of day-to-day support, which has made my work much more manageable. I also get to work alongside one of the technical directors at ROD, Patrick Grennan, so I have plenty of experienced engineers to learn from.
Even though I am only a short time into my rotation, I have already had the opportunity to liaise directly with the client, Dublin City Council, in relation to progress on site and expected completion dates. I have also learned a lot about contract documents and construction methodology.
I am looking forward to being on-site for the construction of the foundations, the approach embankment and the lifting in place of the new Royal Canal Viaduct, which will connect to the ROD-designed Newcomen Bridge and effectively extend the cycle path to Guild Street. I am hoping the experience will help me decide on whether to make the bridges team my home when I complete the graduate programme.
About ROD's graduate programme
Our two-year graduate programme is designed to develop well-rounded graduates whose work can make a positive difference to our clients, our partners, our team and the wider community.
We believe that good engineering skills can be taught, but unless those who possess them also have the ability to communicate effectively, their value is limited.
We have built an on-site rotation into our programme to give graduates the opportunity to learn the social and communications skills they need to work in teams, grapple with contractors’ issues and deal with clients and communities.