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I work as a graduate structural engineer for the Building and Places team in Manchester. A project that I have really enjoyed working on was the development of a college where construction will begin next year. Our team took the architectural plans and transformed it from preliminary 2D sketches of a typical internal floor before modelling the entire college into a 3D analysis model using Tekla Structural Designer. This involved producing numerous hand calculations during the initial stages, where I designed beams, trusses, columns and slabs in accordance to design codes before passing on marked up floor plans to our Lead BIM technician who would then built a structural 3D Revit model.

I’ve learnt that the software we use are only as good as its users and I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand engineering outputs and analysis using simple hand calculation before carrying out a 3D analysis; otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to verify whether the analysis model results are correct.

The best part of the design was the initial stages, where I designed and assessed the college in both concrete and steel before producing a structural model of the preferred option which was a steel frame building. I produced calculations for columns, and beams in both steel and concrete so we could compare the two framing options which we presented in an end of stage report. This was the most fun part for me because I got to experiment with different design ideas and concepts before the architectural grids and layouts were finalised. 

A really positive experience that I’ve had with AECOM is all the support I’ve received from my line manager, senior engineers and technicians. They’ve helped me understand the practical side of structural engineering and how to apply the theory that I’ve learnt from university into structural engineering projects.