I committed to the Civil Engineering industry from school by starting as a trainee technician with Hampshire County Council. Three years later I was an undergrad at Portsmouth, postgrad at Imperial College, London, and after graduate training in South Yorkshire, was employed by the University of Sheffield to undertake original research into ‘The Response of Materials to Impact Shock Loads’ for 3 years, and this resulted in a successful PhD thesis. This demonstrates the opportunity for development, and breadth of scope which Civil Engineering affords. I have worked on a variety of projects apart from roads and bridges, including: Nuclear; Defence; Tunnels; Rail; London Underground; Power Transmission; Industrial Buildings; Historical Buildings; Carbon Fibre Strengthening of Cast Iron; Design and Prototype Gantry with Extruded Aluminium Sections; Incrementally Launched Aqueduct.
The essential skill I have gained and honed since leaving school in 1974 is problem solving and implementing engineering principles practically. Ideal for undertaking investigations and providing practical, reliable and cost effective solutions!
David migrated from the UK to Melbourne in 2003, and after positions in two major consulting firms, started his independent consulting firm in 2012, to offer professional services in structural civil engineering investigation, design, and as a Proof Engineer prequalified with VicRoads.
Learning from the Failure of Cantilever Sign Gantries in Victoria
Ten years ago, David investigated the failure of a large cantilever (>12m) road sign failure at Corio, and the findings resulted in modifications of that gantry and over a dozen others on the Geelong Road, as well as input to a new VicRoads Technical Note for the design of future cantilever sign gantries. The findings of the investigation were presented at the Austroads Bridge Conference in Auckland in 2009. The key principles identified from the investigation learnings were re-visited in this presentation.
Professionals involved in safety critical work especially must be particularly aware of the purpose, use, and limitations of Codes of Practice, AND also inform themselves of the published reports of failures related to their field of practice to ensure their own work is safe. Published American work on this subject dates back to 1995 at least, and the issues were known and discussed well before that time.
Civil engineering is a serious business to be undertaken by competent, informed, and diligent professionals. There is a lot that needs to be done in this profession in Australia.