As part of our 60 years celebrations, we asked Liz Brown, Partner at CampbellReith to talk about the best bits, the highlights and the wonderful moments!
Q: Your vision, our world is the vision for CampbellReith – what examples do you have that show how CampbellReith is making a difference to the world?
In 2017 CampbellReith won the NCE100 award for our Contribution to the Engineering Profession. We were shortlisted for our support for the inaugural Innovate Guildford fair, and won the award after our presentation to the judges demonstrated the depth and breadth of CampbellReith’s contribution. As I pulled together evidence for the presentation, I was blown away by the extent of colleagues’ activities!
For example, the ‘Adopt a School’ programme where our staff input in to teaching modules, take students to construction sites, attend parents’ evenings, and lead mock interviews. Also the ICE initiative ‘Engineering your future’ where, for a number of years, CampbellReith has presented civil engineering as one of a series of workshops to 6th form students.
We have staff who lecture at universities, colleagues who undertake voluntary work where they contribute their professional knowledge, colleagues who support their professional institutions by being reviewers, others who present at conferences and more!
CampbellReith supports our staff in these activities, leading initiatives or giving time and materials. Our contribution raises the profile of engineering, opening it up to more people, as well as enthusing our staff and helping their development.
Q: What has been your favourite project since you started working at CampbellReith? Why?
There have been many rewarding projects such as the UCLH Proton Beam Therapy Centre, the district hospitals in Ghana, and Mount Pleasant with its Mail Rail tunnels. But possibly my favourite has been our work at Royal Albert Basin.
In 2005 CampbelReith was appointed by the London Development Agency to design the remediation of this former industrial site next to the Royal Albert Docks. The project involved land quality, civil engineering and geotechnics. I led the geotechnical input which included significant earthworks and ground improvement in challenging ground. In 2010 we then assisted Notting Hill Housing in their bid to the LDA to develop part of the site for affordable housing. NHH was successful and CampbellReith went on to provide pre-construction engineering services for several hundred new homes. Our involvement continued when we supported NHH in a successful bid for a further development parcel in 2017 and, again, provided the engineering input.
“Royal Albert Basin is my favourite because, in a way, my career has developed in tandem with the site, evolving from providing geotechnical designs to unlock a valuable site, to leading multidisciplinary engineering services for a successful housing regeneration”
Q: What has been your most challenging moment over the years in your role and at CampbellReith? How did you and the team overcome it?
There have been many technical challenges and I have been incredibly lucky to work with people who have the knowledge and commitment to master new skills. My biggest challenge probably came in 2015 when we were appointed by Camden to audit Basement Impact Assessments. This brought a sudden large volume of work and changed the geotechnical team from being mainly a support discipline to being a significant work generator it its own right. Working with Camden to establish the audit procedure, managing the influx of work, and training the necessary staff were extremely challenging. But again, my colleagues and peers excelled, becoming familiar with new procedures, planning policy, new construction and analysis techniques to help deliver what continues to be a successful contract.
Q: This year, you launched Vision 2020. What is your vision for the future of CampbellReith and for the future of your discipline? What will your discipline look like in the next 5-10 years?
Digital technology will continue to radically change engineering. I hope one of the next developments in ground engineering will be the widespread full integration of the ground model with structural models. Too often we still see information being exchanged as pdfs! As more and more monitoring data are collected, the profession also needs to find a way to share and use this information to refine our designs. If we are to minimise our impacts on the environment, this is a sure step to more efficient design.
“For the best possible future, I hope the ground engineering discipline in 5-10 years’ time continues to look as diverse and dynamic as it is now, if not more so!”
Q: In one sentence – how would you describe how CampbellReith has made a difference to the world?
Our longstanding contribution to the engineering profession as recognised in the NCE100 Companies of the Year Awards.