Paul Wood, 28, is a contracts engineer at specialist contractor Freyssinet's operations division
Route to job
I graduated from Napier University Edinburgh in 1991, with a BSc in civil engineering. My first job was with Lothian Region Council Transportation Department, where I worked for three years. Under local government reorganisation, I then transferred to East Lothian Council where I was involved in the detailed design, contract preparation and site supervision of the A1 trunk road dualling project - Dunbar Phase I.
Freyssinet was subcontracted on this project to install the concrete slab joint connectors. On completion of the dualling contract, I decided to leave ELC to pursue a career in contracts engineering. At the time, Freyssinet was advertising a vacancy in NCE for an additional contracts engineer to work in its operations division. My application was successful, and I started work with the company on 10 March 1998.
My expectations were varied. I anticipated lots of travel and the opportunity to manage and administrate contracts within the operations team.
After developing a strong contractual and technical understanding of many aspects of
structural repair and post tensioning, I am now involved with more complex engineering challenges. The company's involvement with large repair and structural strengthening contracts as principal and subcontractor enables me to use my skills in hydraulic jacking, post tensioning and bearing replacement.
My role as contracts engineer allows me to develop working details and methodology for many types of contract using the in-house skills of estimators, structural engineers and quantity surveyors. My principal responsibility is to develop contractual programmes and method statements, and to procure specialist plant, materials and labour for contracts delegated to me. Once a contract has been established, I am also responsible for overseeing the general, day-to-day management of the site.
Gain as much experience as possible in the many, varied aspects of civil engineering. This does come at a price, however, in terms of long working days and nights, hours behind the wheel of a car, tight deadlines and pressure to perform. This said, the work I do is very challenging and rewarding, and many of the skills I have developed in the workplace can be put to good use in other high pressure situations.