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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.”

Easter is celebrated at Craddys by the much anticipated annual Easter Egg hunt and chocolate eggs for all. Smaller chocolate eggs with a number written on them were hidden around the office’s grounds by Directors Huw and Robin, the aim of the game being to find the number correlating to the best eggs. Cristina was this year’s lucky winner of a giant chocolate ostrich egg!

One of our Principal Engineers has spent a few days at a local primary school to help students design their very own ‘Cities of the Future’, to inspire pupils to think about what careers they might like to have and to imagine their own future world. Lessons were taught on future sustainable transportation and the process of planning a city, at the end of the week he acted as the ‘Site Supervisor’ as students made a model of their city of the future. Emphasis was placed on sustainability and making cities a healthy place to live, with environmentally friendly elements being used including wind turbines and solar panels.

Pancake day at Craddys could only mean one thing, pancakes for all cooked by Finance Director Anna!

Craddys are pleased to be taking part in Christmas Jumper Day in order to raise money for Save the Children.

Craddys staff received an excellent and though proving talk from Tom Watson on mental health and wellbeing. Tom raises awareness on mental health within the construction industry and has founded project Get a Grip, this project aims to help end the stigma surrounding this topic and promotes a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

Halloween at Craddys was celebrated with a pumpkin carving competition in the office, staff worked within their pods to fight for the prestigious title of best pumpkin. It was a tightly fought competition judged by the directors, with points gained for spookiness, craftsmanship, originality, teamwork, and of course, compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 operating procedure! Halloween would not be complete without plenty of sweets provided throughout the day, and extra special Halloween treats were given to the winning team.