“Architects want to make outlandish award winning fancy buildings, and building services engineers are in the background making their ambitions come true.”
This is how I started to explain my job to friends and family, but that’s not entirely true, there is a bit more to it than that. Due to the increase in environmental awareness, there is a big drive in creating greener buildings.
Large scale developments can only be successful if clients, architects and project managers work closely with the engineers, understanding what each other requires during the design period and share the same ambition for the finished result.
The building services team at Mott MacDonald consists of electrical and mechanical engineers. We work as engineering consultants, using our shared experience and knowledge to advise clients and architects on the best solution to make sure their development is efficient, economic and comfortable for the occupier. Mechanical engineers cover a broad spectrum of services, from heating and ventilation to water supply and drainage.
My main interest is the use of low to zero carbon technologies and ensuring that developments meet various energy standards beyond what’s mandatory in the Building Regulations such as BREEAM or the Code for Sustainable Homes.
What do Mott MacDonald do?
Mott MacDonald is a global management, engineering and development consultancy, although I only understand a handful of the disciplines that our engineers and other multiskilled staff cover.
This diversity really attracted me to Mott MacDonald, as I found that my degree gave me a broad understanding and if I want to pursue a different aspect of engineering, this is a good place to understand your options.
How did you get your job at Mott MacDonald?
Like a typical student, I decided that graduating after years of hard work is best celebrated by spending time traveling and forgetting all that I learnt. A few of my friends had started work with engineering consultants, some in building services.
I was impressed by the variety of work that they were faced with everyday and the scale of the projects they were involved with. Friends who worked for Mott MacDonald encouraged me to apply.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working out of the office on site and with design teams, providing variety in my work. In a day I could be number crunching with various engineering calculations, problem solving when faced with an issue on a project, creating computer models of buildings or CAD drawings, or writing a report advising a client or architect about our proposals.
What are the most stressful parts of the job?
The importance and quality of my report writing has increased dramatically since leaving university.
We are being paid to make conclusions about designs and research, therefore these have to be accurate as developments often have multimillion pound budgets. Good time management skills are also vital to keep on top of all these projects.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
Chartership is the next big step for majority of engineers, which takes at least three years. Mott MacDonald offers help on finding the engineering association best suited to your discipline and the best course of learning to take (CIBSE is the renowned association for building services).
I will continue to strive to gain knowledge from my colleagues and talk with representatives from various companies that we deal with. I enjoy traveling to various countries, learning about different cultures and stunning environments, so the possibility in the future of working abroad with Mott MacDonald is very appealing.
What was the interview process like?
I found the interview with Mott MacDonald in Cambridge was almost relaxed, rather than picking holes in my CV and testing knowledge it was more important for them to learn about me and my desire and inform me exactly what building services and the role entailed.
Any advice for the interview process?
Learn about what the company does currently, including a brief overview on all the different areas of consultancy, no need to go into the many years of history.
Knowledge of the particular job and division you are being interviewed for goes without saying, but it is very important that you demonstrate a personal interest in the aspects concerning the job.
What ‘soft skills’ have you found useful?
Communication skills are very important, from talking to sales reps chasing an order to talking to architects. I feel that through university and previous employment I have learnt how to communicate professionally and carefully choose my language when talking to people with varying levels of knowledge on the topic.
Through my education I have developed strong skills with Microsoft Excel, which have been very useful for engineering calculations and analysis of results.