Name: Oliver Batchelor
Occupation: geotechnical engineer, Keller Ground Engineering
Route to the job:
'I started work in 1994 as a site engineer with Foundation & Exploration Services, two days before finishing my finals in geological engineering at Queen Mary & Westfield College, London. I worked on the CTRL ground investigation and other smaller projects, before leaving to study for an MSc in engineering geology at Imperial College in 1995. After graduating, I joined Keller Ground Engineering working on a compensation and jet grouting contract as part ofthe Docklands Light Railway Extension. I then worked on an embankment stabilisation project for London Underground Ltd, before taking on an officebased position. '
'My role as a designer and planner ofspecialist grouting and piling schemes means I see an extremely wide range ofprojects. Recently I have looked at schemes ranging from sealing leaking sheet piles to multi-million-pound projects for the proposed CTRL London Tunnels. My typical day ranges from providing the initial point ofcontact for customers to designing and pricing schemes, visiting engineers to discuss projects, negotiating new contracts and liaising with site personnel. '
Highs and lows:
'Many consultants and employers still see price as a dominant factor in selecting a contractor without fully investigating the proposals. It is satisfying when you convince someone that the added value that can be brought to their project by innovative and skilled engineering is worth what may initially appear to be the extra expense. '
'Apart from seeing England win the Ashes next summer, and continuing my progression towards becoming a chartered engineer, I'd like to work overseas.
It would be interesting to learn how techniques similar to those used in the UK are applied in other parts ofthe world and how the adoption ofeven small changes may lead to more economic solutions at home. '
'Although I have spent a relatively short period ofmy career so far on site I consider it to be invaluable. As a designer and planner ofpiling and ground treatment projects there is no substitute for actually touching and seeing the materials you are working with, and talking to the people who drill the holes or inject the grout. And you should never be afraid to ask how things work. '