Civil engineering students are building their futures!

The investment currently taking place across campus – and beyond – will have very tangible benefits for staff, student and visitors when they are opened over the coming months and years. But one group of students are benefiting from the projects going on right now, with civil engineering undergraduates being able to visit real construction sites, answer challenging problems, and even complete their placements, right here on campus. For these students, the construction projects are not only building their campus – but helping to build their futures, as they gain invaluable experience which will help them with their studies now and their careers in the future.

Here, some of them describe their experiences on our construction sites.

Sam Griffiths (civil engineering, 2016)

Sam works with Carillion at the library site


George Bence (civil engineering, 2015)

George worked with Balfour Beatty at Chamberlain


My placement was at the Chamberlain Student Residence, University of Birmingham for eight weeks over the summer holidays with Balfour Beatty. I was assisting the two Site Engineers in their day to day tasks.

I learnt how the Site Office operates and was updating the site files with the most up to date drawings. I wrote the weekly newsletter that was distributed among the local residents.On site I used a Leica TS06 and TS15 total station most days to help set out different parts of the Tower Block and check the levels of concrete slabs after they had been poured. I also used a dumpy level to place datums on the inside of Block C to help the workers level the bathroom pods and pre-cast concrete sections.

On day one I realised I had no idea how a site worked, now thanks to a brilliant team that I worked with I am now able to make a positive contribution.  It gave me an insight into what working as a Site Engineer for a Contractor would entail (such as longer working hours) and having to think on your feet when things do not go to plan. I learnt about the chain of command on site and how all the different roles such as the Engineers, Site Foreman, Quantity Surveyors and Design Co-ordinators have to communicate and collaborate constantly to get the job done.

The interaction between the main Contractor and all the Sub Contractors is vital, so that the best quality work is achieved and all the different Sub Contractors are able to carry out their own work without getting in each other’s way.

From my placement I have learnt how to use AutoCad (2014) and Leica Total Stations TS06 and TS15. Both of these skills will be useful in my future either as a Consultant or Contractor. I achieved 100% in my Red CSCS card test for a Technical, Supervisory and Management Trainee and on site could see that Health and Safety was the highest priority.