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Tabindah Akhtar, 26, graduate engineer, London

Careers profile

'Being in a co-located office with British Waterways and the contractor Edmund Nuttall has taught me a lot about working as an integrated team and the benefits this can bring to project delivery.

We have a three year framework arrangement with British Waterways, which we want to extend to five years, undertaking projects like canal and lock restoration, bank protection and footbridges.

The initial projects followed the 'traditional' approach where the consultant produces a design for the client, who then passes this on to the contractor. It became clear during the construction phase that we had missed opportunities for value engineering by following this process. However, as the integrated team became established and relationships developed, I was able to involve Nuttall from the briefing stage of the project. This helped to give all parties ownership of the project from the outset, and to identify optimum solutions.

We're now based at British Waterways' office in Paddington Basin.

When we moved there the BW people made a conscious decision to mix us. I sit with my colleagues from Halcrow, but we have BW people all around, which means at a social level it is much better.

I think co-location really works well, and there's no reason why it couldn't be done everywhere else.

Mainly I'm involved in project management - juggling lots of small projects. When a bridges project comes in I contact the bridges team in Swindon or London. There's a whole network of people who do BW work.'

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