Interview | Noel Gorman, Civil Engineer
Noel Gorman left his position in a large multi-national engineering consultancy firm to join DBFL Consulting Engineers in 2015. After only 2 years working in DBFL, Noel has already started to design whole civil engineering projects; he accredits this quick progression to comprehensive training, and exposure to a wide variety of projects in DBFL. Noel discusses his experiences in his career working in one of the oldest engineering disciplines:
What inspired you to become an engineer?
Civil engineering is vital for society. Civil engineers have been shaping our cities for centuries, helping to develop the new and to protect the old, which I found fascinating. But more than anything, I wanted to be involved in developing ways to help improve the lives of others in our society. When I realised that I had a natural flair for construction studies and technical drawing in school, this further cemented my decision to pursue this career path. I felt excited by the idea of commanding a project from drawings and numbers on a sheet of paper, to physical real-life structures.
What are your daily duties?
Civil engineers plan, design, construct, operate, maintain, and adapt a variety of facilities and infrastructures that we depend on every single day- such as our roads, railways, tunnels, bridges, and energy and water supplies. There is really no such thing as a typical day in my line of work. I work closely with other construction professionals and design team members, such as architects, to ensure that a project is progressing properly and efficiently. I analyse the site locations of various projects and consult with our clients and contractors. My time is split between the office and the site, depending on the project I am working on.
What do you like most about being a civil engineer?
It’s a very rewarding job, in that the results are tangible; I love being able to physically see the project after it has been constructed and knowing that you were a part of it. The entire journey of a project, from all the challenges that arise to devising solutions to solve these problems, is rewarding.
“It’s a very rewarding job, in that the results are tangible; I love being able to physically
see the project after it has been constructed and knowing that you were a part of it.”
What are the main challenges of being a civil engineer?
Complex design problems in which building costs, government regulations and a multitude of other factors must be taken into consideration. In a sense, it’s quite a humbling profession as there is lots to learn from each project.
What kind of person makes a good Civil Engineer?
A practical, logical person with good communication skills. This is important as civil engineers need to correspond with a wide array of individuals from different professional backgrounds throughout projects. All civil engineering projects are the product of multi-disciplinary teams, so strong communication skills are crucial.
Who benefits from your job?
A society could not function without civil engineers; Everyone benefits from our job through the roads they drive on, the houses they live in, the drainage that provides wastewater and surface water management. Civil engineers literally shape the world we live in.
“A society could not function without civil engineers…Civil Engineers literally shape the
world we live in”
What are some of the projects you’ve worked on? What is your favourite project that you have worked on?
I have worked on residential developments, roads, ports and airport projects.
My favourite project is the Devoy Link Road as I have been involved from the compliance process to construction stage. I am currently undertaking design co-ordination and I am the DBFL Site Representative. The project involves the construction of a Link Road, 42m long culvert, roundabout and signalised junction.
How is sustainability integrated into your job as an engineer?
Sustainability is no longer just a desired objective, it is an essential one. I integrate sustainability to my job through my drainage design and the material I specify on projects, I always integrate SUDS into my drainage design to provide a sustainable solution which replicates the pre-development drainage scenario.
What do you think is going to become the biggest challenge for engineers in the future?
The biggest challenge for engineers in the future is to provide the infrastructure required for the growing economy in a sustainable and efficient manner.
What characteristics does your company look for when hiring young engineers?
DBFL seek out enthusiastic people with a “can do” attitude. They also seek out engineers who are self-motivated, as engineers never stop learning. Engineers must combine their own practical skills with an understanding of the ever-changing financial, sociological and political world.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to go into engineering?
My advice for someone looking to go into engineering is to learn as much of the technical skills as possible in their early career and wait to move to a project management at a later stage.