Central Piling MD breaks ground with Ground Engineering

Steve has now notched up more than 21 episodes as host of the “Breaking Ground” podcasts dubbed “the voice of the geotechnical industry”, on Ground Engineering’s website at www.geplus.co.uk/podcast.

Also supported by the Ground Forum, the umbrella body for the ground engineering sector, the podcasts cover a wide range of ground engineering related topics. Key themes include sustainability, design, commerce, diversity, Health and Safety, welfare, construction techniques, education and industry challenges.

In the latest episode, Steve talked to Jacobs engineering geologist Carla Martín Clavé who was the 25th Glossop Award winner for her work highlighting the role of engineering geology in the energy transition. Clavé completed her PhD in underground gas storage in salt caverns at the University of Nottingham, sponsored by the British Geological Survey.

The UK has 9 days of gas storage, compared to 100+ days in France.

She has also done a lot of volunteering work related to the energy transition – or the move away from a system based on fossil fuels to a system based on renewable energy systems and cleaner sources of energy – and has collaborated with the European Association of Geosciences and Engineers.

“The transition away from fossil fuels will be slow due to lack of infrastructure and investment.”

In another episode, Steve chatted to Balfour Beatty finance analyst Rebecca Penn, Knight Piésold senior engineer Martin Griffin, and Plowman Craven head of client engagement Gary Evans about neurodiversity. They discussed some of the types of neurodiverse conditions, the most common of which include dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, dyscalculia and dysgraphia.

“Notoriously, the recruitment process filters out Neurodiversity people”

The guests also delved into their experiences of being neurodiverse and working in the construction industry, and how having a neurodiverse team can positively affect your organisation and make it more effective. They also looked at the support systems and resources that should be available to neurodiverse students and employees.

In a third episode, Steve talked with Stantec geotechnical services lead Alex Petty who is from the UK and is now leading teams in Western Australia. Alex moved to Australia in 2011 and was initially offered a role as a geotechnical engineer with Aecom in Perth. He described the work as an “eye-opening experience” and talked about some of the exciting projects and unique geology found in that part of the world.

There are skills shortages in Australia’s civil engineering sector too!

Alex, who is keen on sharing knowledge and best practice on social media, is particularly passionate about the link between geology and geotechnics and how understanding the fundamentals of geotechnics at various stages of a project can really benefit construction solutions.

The more you spend on geotechnical investigations (and these can be as low as 0.1% of the total construction costs) the less chance there is of cost overruns on a project as there are fewer unknowns and issues.

To hear the podcasts for yourself, go to: