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Craddys were delighted to have been involved in the extensive refurbishment of this iconic building in the heart of Bristol: Eagle House. Craddys helped to deliver an open-plan office space within an expanded structural envelope through the addition of a steel frame top-storey extension. A double height auditorium was formed from basement and ground floor opening up works, with a visually impressive central glazed stair core. The staircase was facilitated by modifications to the existing external atrium. Thank you to Lorenc Design for sharing these great photos with us.

Interior Designers: Lorenc Design

Architects: Stride Treglown

Craddys are proud to have been shortlisted at the Willmott Dixon Supply Chain awards 2019.  A wonderful evening in Exeter, attended by Directors Colin Davidson and Huw Jones.  Despite not winning, we are proud to be recognised for our efforts and continue to strive for improvement.  Role on the 2020 awards!

Craddys Summer Social 2019

Craddys exchanged engineering hats for sailor’s hats as we set sail around Bristol harbourside for our annual summer social. Before taking to the open water, we were treated to a feast of homemade pizza (provided by The Horse Box) and partook in light hearted (very non-competitive) field sports such as archery, croquet and rounders!  A wonderful way to bring summer to an end and celebrate the team efforts so far this year.  The weather wasn’t half bad either.

Homemade Pizza provided by The Horse Box //

Bristol Boat Trip provided by Bristol Ferries //

National Autograss Championships 2019

A successful weekend for our very own Chartered Structural Engineer, Senior Project Engineer, part time mechanic and race driver. This was Joe’s first National Racing Championships, racing in front of a roaring crowd of 10,000 keen spectators; take a bow Joe. Joe’s objectives of completing all 3 races in one piece and finishing in the top 30 were well and truly met, with just a small dent in the bodywork to remind him fondly of his weekend triumph. Joe even led briefly during his first race until he (quote) “hit a wet patch”… racing driver excuses! Craddys continue to support Joe for the remaining season and wish Joe the best of luck with future ventures!

Introduction to Engineering Day at Craddys: International Women in Engineering Day 2019.

What is International Women in Engineering Day?

International Women in Engineering Day (IWED) is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering. With it still being a largely male dominated industry, IWED highlights the amazing career opportunities that women have within the industry. Craddys are always proud to support the campaign and this year celebrated the event by inviting female students from local secondary schools to visit the office to find out more about structural and civil engineering and to encourage them to think about a career in the industry.

Craddys Introduction to Engineering Day

Our goal was to provide the students with a greater insight into the industry so that the students could consider engineering as a potential future career. One insight into engineering was provided by Director, Colin Davidson, who talked about his path into engineering, through his career to his position today of Managing Director of Craddys. Other staff, including Directors and female engineers at Craddys, prepared several workshops to introduce the students to various areas including structural design, flood risk and highway design.

For the structural elements, students were challenged to build a strong and tall tower using only paper and cellotape. The strength of the towers were tested by a powerful wind load (in the form of an office fan) and measures were taken to strengthen the towers. Interestingly, even though each group was giving the same materials, the towers built by the students varied greatly in design and construction method. Some withstood the testing better than others!

The flood risk workshop included a demonstration using a model of a housing estate (built by our ingenious workforce) and lots of water! Our engineers demonstrated how building in a flood zone can cause engineering challenges and then invited the students to find strategies to reduce the risk of flooding. The highways workshop offered the students the chance to try out some tracking software, driving around a virtual industrial estate navigating corners and roundabouts and ideally avoiding mounting the payments.

After lunch with some of the staff, the students were given the opportunity to walk around a building using the latest virtual reality software. Lastly, the girls were able to interact with the engineers in the office who talked them through various live projects and their impact on the built environment and answered any questions the students had about the projects and life in general as an engineer.

We hope that the girls enjoyed their time and now have a greater awareness into the industry! We could have some new local graduates in a few years to come!

LABC Awards – Best Affordable Housing

Craddys are delighted to have worked on the Southview Park, Sparrow Street project with Stepnell Construction Ltd, Wiltshire Council and BBA Architects and winning the LABC Best Social or Affordable new Housing Development in the West award. The recognition of high quality design and construction is fully appreciated. Bring on the National finals!

Craddys are proud to announce that we have been awarded the Constructionline Gold standard, demonstrating our commitment to achieving and delivering the highest standards.

Constructionline is a register for pre-qualified UK building contractors and consultants which is highly regarded by the construction industry.

The enhanced audit data set goes beyond the data collected by PAS91 to include Environmental Management, Quality Management, Equalities and Diversity. It ensures we abide to legislation in areas such as Modern Slavery, Anti-bribery and Corruption, and Equal Opportunities.

In addition to our gold membership, we have been assessed and awarded an Acclaim SSIP certificate which demonstrates our commitment to Health & Safety legislation.

International Women in Engineering Day 2019 is being held on Sunday the 23rd of June. This is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. In celebration of this day, one of our female engineers Cristina has given her thoughts on women in this industry and her advice to inspire others.

What lead you to take up a career in engineering?
I was good at maths at school and I knew that maths ties in with engineering and science. The main driving factor in my choice of a career in engineering has been that the world demands more engineers every day and that STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are rewarding and respected jobs. During my career I realised how reductive that view was. In an engineering job, you’ll never face a shortage of challenging problems: an engineering career exercise your brain, develops your ability to think logically and to solve problems, skills that are valuable throughout life and not only when solving engineering problems. Creativity is very important too, as it allows engineers to improvise and confront new situations. This makes every working day interesting and can lead to a quite good level of satisfaction, which is very important if we think of how much time of our life we actually spend in the office.

What would you say to inspire women to take up this career?
Engineering is a great field to get into. Engineers are practical, they like to take things apart and see how things work: if you’ve got that type of mentality, whether you are male or female, then getting to do that in the workplace is a dream job. It’s also worth highlighting the variety of career opportunities that a degree in engineering offers: the majority of today’s college graduates will have more than one career during their work life, and engineering can provide a strong foundation for almost any one of them. The opportunities in engineering range in sector – Automotive, Aerospace, Rail, Construction, Water, Chemical and that’s only naming a few. Although engineering is still an uncommon choice for a woman, there are actually no barriers in many workplaces between genders: that’s because skills will be enough for people to realise that you know what you’re doing, no matter if you’re a man or a woman.

What do you think needs to be done to encourage more women in take up a career in engineering?
Women in STEM are generally underrepresented, and this is particularly apparent in engineering.
I believe that there is a gender stereotype issue, which often begins in primary school. Ideally girls at a young enough age should be encouraged to consider a career in engineering, and to do so parents, teachers and careers services need to be equipped to signpost engineering as an option. Stereotypes can also be challenged by exposing girls to examples of women who have succeeded in STEM, making it easier for girls to envision themselves following a similar path to success.

A little about Huw.

Huw attended the University of Wales Swansea and graduated in 2006 with a B-Eng (Hons) degree in Civil Engineering. He started working for Craddys immediately and undertook the IStructE technical Report route to chartership in 2011. He passed first time. He became an Associate in 2012 and has been a Director of Craddys since 2017.

Huw’s personal reflections on the exam process.

The first word of advice I would give any candidate is ‘Preparation’. In addition to my private study, I attended a locally arranged six week evening course, along with the intensive one day course at the Institution headquarters in London. These courses were invaluable, helping with exam technique, general development and introducing me to other Engineers in my local area.

The main area of focus during my preparation was the exam folder. I was keen not to rely on the fact that the exam was open book, taking in countless text books and folders. Instead I prepared one A4 size folder, with all information summarised into precise sections that followed the exam format. I resisted the urge of taking in any additional information, not even the Engineers Pocket Book! If it wasn’t in the file, I didn’t need it.

Time keeping was a major factor and it’s critical that you stick to your plan. My exam plan was as given below, but it’s important to understand that everyone’s will vary dependant on strengths and weaknesses.

9:30 – 10:00 Key issues & assumptions

10:00 – 11:00 Scheme 1

11:00 – 12:00 Scheme 2

12:00 – 12:15 Scheme Recommendations

12:15 – 12:45 Client Letter

12:45-13:00 Review Scheme (Check brief, list standards used & key elements to be designed)

13:30-14:45 Design Calculations

14:45 – 16:00 GA Drawings

16:00 – 16:20 Details

16:20 – 17:00 Method Statement & Programme

Choosing the correct question was, in my opinion, the biggest challenge of the day. When you sit down and first look at the paper, your head is spinning with ideas and you’re eager to get going. Seeing other people put pen to paper can be incredibly distracting, but taking the time to choose the right question will benefit you in the long run. Getting an hour down the line and changing really isn’t an option. I chose to use the first 30 minutes to list key issues and assumptions, and also used this time to discuss general issues such as fire; disproportionate collapse; boundary conditions and site restrictions. Writing a little bit about a lot of things can go a long way in creating a good first impression with the examiner.

I have always favoured the use of sketches, and relied heavily during the exam on the use of colour. Everything I had read in the build up suggested that if you make a good impression, with a well presented script that is easily interpreted, you will only benefit. I noticed that some candidates took in drawing boards and all sorts of technical drawing equipment, although this may benefit some people, it would have been far too time consuming for me. I used primarily free hand drawn sketches, GA’s and details, only really using a ruler when absolutely necessary.

One area I think many people struggle with is the lack of time. For instance, you will not have the time to produce detailed calculations checking bending, shear and deflection of a beam. I chose rather to check only the governing factor (long span beams = deflection) then simply writing a statement saying that I would check the other items given the time. The examiners understand the time constraints of the day, having been through it themselves, so simply telling them that you would do something will demonstrate you have a good understanding of Engineering principals.

I think some candidates can also put too much emphasis on the drawings and calculations, forgetting that the letter, method statement and programme represent a good portion of the marks. I felt that these were areas where I could easily pick up marks, and targeted them from the start. Too many people exceed their time limits on the drawings and calculations, leaving the method statement and programme for the last 10 minutes. I did not want to fall into this trap, and dedicated a full 30 minutes to the letter and 40 minutes for the method statement and programme. Yes you need two distinct schemes, yes you need good drawings, yes you need calculations, but why neglect the other aspects of the question when they could make up the difference between passing and failing?

To conclude, I feel the exam is fair, and contrary to what some people think, if planned well there is just about enough time to answer all parts to a satisfactory standard. You might not get everything in your head down on paper, but if you remain focused, work methodically, and most of all don’t panic, before you know it you will have your two solutions and should be feeling far more confident.

Simon Pitchers becomes a Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers after years of engagement with the institution as a trustee, member of Council and a member of various advisory groups. Simon has been transferred to the highest grade of membership – Fellow, giving him the letters “FIStructE” to replace his existing “MIStructE”. Simon said “It has always been one of my ambitions and I am delighted to have been accepted as a Fellow of the Institution”.

Simon Pitchers moves from Director to Consultant to reflect his reduced involvement with the practice, Simon has relinquished his position as a Director of Craddys and has moved to the position of Consultant. “This is a great move for me”, Simon said, “it enables me gradually to work towards complete retirement, whilst still being able to finish off projects on which I’m already involved. I’m still available to clients and colleagues during normal hours but I have more time to think about the work in which I’m still involved. I’m very lucky – it’s the best of both worlds.”