Last month we held our first ever Women in Engineering event to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, welcoming students from the local Regent High School to the Somers Town energy centre in Camden.
The aim of the day was to take the students on a project lifecycle journey with female members of our team demonstrating how we create a scheme, from winning a project all the way through to operating and maintaining solutions.
The students were given an insight into how a project comes together and the roles required to make the schemes a success. Our team explained how they have progressed and developed in their careers, the various routes into the industry and what makes their roles enjoyable, to inspire the students into a career in the engineering industry.
The students then got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Somers Town energy centre to see a real life project in action and learn how the scheme generates and distributes heat, hot water and electricity.
This is the first of our initiatives to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, with further events planned later in the year.
23.07.19 by Katie.Addison
| New build residential / mixed use
It’s Heating Up on Energetik’s Heat Networks
We’ve hit a major milestone on Energetik’s Ponders End Heat Network by reaching Heat On for the temporary energy centre at the mixed use ‘Elements’ development, Enfield Council’s Alma Estate renewal scheme. The first residents of this landmark regeneration scheme are now moving onto the development, which will include over 1,000 homes for sale, shared ownership and council rent, shops, a gym, a medical centre and community facilities.
The temporary energy centre was prefabricated entirely offsite onto a transportable trailer and then delivered to the site as a whole to serve the first properties of the Elements development before the main energy centre is constructed in a later phase. This eased the installation onsite and increased the project efficiencies by reducing construction timescales. Once the main energy centre is constructed, the temporary energy centre can be reused by Energetik on future projects, as well as provide back-up energy for periods of maintenance to the main energy centre.
The Ponders End Heat Network will see two separate new-build developments, the Elements and The Electric Quarter, connected to one single energy centre via a district heating link which is set to start construction later this year.
Rob Callaghan, Vital Energi’s Regional Director for the South, explains, “The installation of the temporary energy centre went smoothly, with the trailer situated neatly in the car park of the development. We’re now busy preparing for the district heating installation ready for the construction of the main energy centre which will serve a total of 1,162 properties when complete.”
Ian Guest, Energetik’s Technical Director, added, “The Ponders End Heat Network is Energetik’s largest scheme to date, and demonstrates our commitment to creating a scalable energy infrastructure for Enfield. By connecting two developments to one shared energy centre, we’re showing how it is possible to work strategically with multiple partners and programmes, and maintain a high standard of delivery.
“With Vital Energi’s support, our staged approach to installing heat generation using two temporary boiler plants allows us to economically deliver heat to the developers’ different build programmes whilst the main low carbon energy centre is built, and will then provide additional resilience to our business in the longer-term.”
This is the second temporary energy centre currently operational on the project with the first being installed by Vital at The Electric Quarter to temporarily serve the first 60 properties constructed on this development, which celebrated reaching its first year of operation at the end of 2018. The 800kW temporary energy centre was also prefabricated offsite and delivered as a completed plant room to fit into a small area initially intended to be a bike store.
Our work with Energetik spans back to 2015 when we first started working on the Arnos Grove Heat Network satellite scheme. With our support, Energetik’s intent is for each network to expand in its area of Enfield and, in the future, connect the three satellite schemes to the larger Meridian Water Heat Network which will be supplied with low carbon waste heat from a local Energy Recovery Facility.
01.07.19 by Katie.Addison
| New build residential / mixed use
Luxury London Development’s Energy Centre Takes Shape
The energy centre is taking shape at Redrow’s latest site in Southall, The West Works, following the delivery and installation of the final pieces of the plant, including an 185kWe CHP engine and two 8,000 litre thermal stores.
The deliveries had to be done considerately as there is only one haul road in and out of site meaning that access is very tight. Additionally, to move the plant into the energy centre, we needed to coordinate with Redrow to leave out a section of louvres in order to accommodate the plant installation.
As the haul road is very narrow with little room for manoeuvre, an in-depth delivery schedule was also created. We delivered the thermal stores first, which were installed to the rear of the energy centre, and then delivered the CHP, which was installed to the front of the energy centre.
Project Manager Billy King, explains, “The tight site conditions were challenging and so required a lot of planning to complete the deliveries and installations successfully. We now have all major plant installed and can now install all the necessary low temperature hot water pipework, flues, and BMS to the energy centre. Riser and lateral installations are well underway and will eventually connect all four blocks with a total of 313 apartments and 3 retail units.”
The West Works is a mixed-use development located in Southall and is scheduled to be completed late 2019. The development will consist of 302 studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The first residents are due to move in over the next couple of weeks.
Encouraging Women into Engineering Should be a Top Priority
The number of female engineers in the UK is rising. In a recent nationwide WISE study, the percentage of women in engineering has risen from 9% in 2015 to 12% in 2018. Although there has been steady progress made, we want to improve this growth and encourage more women to consider a role in engineering and add their skills into the industry, along with exposing the career paths for existing female engineers to allow them to have a greater role in the sector.
At Vital, we are above industry average with 18% of our workforce being female, increasing from 15% in 2017, and we are optimistic that this will continue to grow. Increasing engagement and exposure to the engineering industry by displaying the exciting opportunities available in the sector is key to achieving this.
Paul Kay, Building Services and Design Director, explains, “The opportunities in the engineering industry go far beyond the perception of heavy industrial plant and equipment, or wearing overalls and manufacturing items on the shop floor. Engineering is about tapping into your creativity to shape the future, utilising and applying renewable technologies, and discovering solutions for issues that we may not even know exist yet.”
Engineering offers the opportunity to be involved with innovations and schemes that have the potential to change the norm. Take Mária Telkes, for example, who, along with numerous other notable achievements, worked with architect Eleanor Raymond to create the first solar-heated house in 1948, paving the way for the solar panels we commonly see today. An innovation that has greatly assisted in the growth of the renewable energy market.
In order for the industry to continue to grow and develop, a collaboration of male and female engineers is needed. Each different person can bring their own ideas and unique skillset to explore methods beyond what is currently thought possible to constantly improve everything around us.
The roles available in the engineering sector include job titles such as Mechanical Design Engineer, Quality Assurance Engineer, Project Engineer, Electrical Design Engineer, CAD Engineer, Planning Engineer, Energy Optimisation Engineer…the list goes on - and these are just the types of roles fulfilled here at Vital, the wider industry has even more on offer. Each of these jobs fulfil different duties including designing, assessing, managing, monitoring, operating, maintaining, and planning engineering innovations, so there is little room to be bored.
And there are so many ways to enter the industry. Be it through Graduate Schemes, placements and internships, apprenticeships, or studying part-time for your university degree whilst working full-time within the sector, there’s an option to suit all.
But, why engineering?
Graduate Design Engineer, Lucinda Walker Tully, explains, “A career in engineering is good as there is such a wide range of opportunities within the industry that you are sure to be able to find something that you enjoy. Working on projects which produce a tangible outcome also brings a high sense of satisfaction. There is always something new to learn and technology is always advancing which makes it an exciting sector to be a part of.” Read her story by clicking here.
Emma Holden, Graduate Design Engineer, adds, “I enjoy the variety of different projects that I have the opportunity to work on as nothing is ever the same which keeps it interesting and lets me learn new things every day. I’d encourage a career in engineering because it is a very relevant and important industry to be a part of, especially given the current situation regarding climate change. You get to design, build and influence projects that have positive impacts for clients, customers and the environment.” Read her story by clicking here.
At Vital, we want to take that step further, as it is not enough to just tell someone that engineering could be for them, we need to show them. Over the coming months, we will be bringing our female colleagues together to take students behind the scenes of our energy schemes to allow them to learn more about the work that goes into our projects and how the equipment operates, to help shape future careers.
We endeavour to engage and educate local students on our projects to show them the creativity that goes into engineering, such as offering work placements and apprenticeship opportunities on many of our projects including the University of Strathclyde and the Leeds PIPES Network.
Engagement can happen at any age. Even giving primary school students a taster into the world of engineering can raise young people’s interest in STEM subjects and be beneficial when later encouraging a career in the industry. We’ve found that opening the doors of our energy centres and giving tours to a range of ages is the most effective, which is why we regularly invite guests to our sites across the country such as the biomass scheme at the University of St Andrews and the two CHP energy centres at the University of Liverpool.
Encouraging more women into engineering should be a top priority to help raise the profile of the industry, grow the skillset, and potentially change someone’s future. But, being open-minded to the possibility of becoming an engineer is the first step to unlock your potential and maybe even spark a career passion that you didn’t know was there. Seizing every opportunity is the second, so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
24.06.19 by Katie.Addison
| New build residential / mixed use
Vital Continue at Greenwich for £2.7m Extension
After delivering the design and build of the energy centre and district heating scheme for Greenwich Square in 2016, we have a further £2.7m contract to connect an additional 325 properties to the network.
We have designed the low temperature hot water systems and are supplying, installing and commissioning this and the domestic water and boosted cold water systems, and risers and laterals into eight apartment blocks, with the halfway point of the project already being reached. We are connecting each block to the existing district heating network that we previously completed in 2016. Additionally, each property is benefiting from the installation of our own heat interface unit to allow residents to access reliable heat and hot water.
David O’Neill, Project Director, explains “Work is progressing well onsite with four of the eight blocks completed, three in progress and one more to start. We have been successfully working towards Mace’s new process called BIM 360 which assists in capturing quality assurance processes. This, and our positive presence onsite has seen us be recognised for two awards from Mace – a group award for the team and an individual award for Vital’s Kareem Shukir.”
Maces’ Construction Manager, Jack Clark, added “Kareem has embraced the system and has ensured he snags his own work before offering it up to the Mace team as well as keeping on top of all the quality assurance documents.”
Greenwich Square is on the site of the former Greenwich District Hospital, offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and townhouses. This is the second phase of work to create a total of 686 new homes and we are expected to finish onsite in November 2019, with the final properties open to the public by August 2020.
International Women in Engineering Day 2019: Meet Lucinda Walker-Tully
Lucinda Walker-Tully is currently completing the 3 year Graduate Scheme as a Graduate Design Engineer in our London team which will see her complete modules in all areas of the business before deciding on her final career path. Here’s her story…
“I always enjoyed STEM subjects at school and had a passion for the environment, so I chose to study Energy Engineering at university. I completed a placement year in industry working within rail and building services before joining Vital almost a year and a half ago. For the first 9 months of my time with Vital, I was working on site as a Project Engineer before moving into the Design department where I am currently based.
“I am involved with producing a number of different calculations for projects, such as load or pump sizing using software such as EPro and AutoCAD. I have been heavily involved with the creation of a new water treatment specification which has been interesting and rewarding.
“I enjoy my role as I like to put theories and information I learnt at university into practice for real world scenarios, and I get to be involved with projects that produce tangible end results which often improve a local area.
“A career in engineering is good as there is such a wide range of opportunities within the industry that you are sure to be able to find something that you enjoy. Working on projects which produce a tangible outcome also brings a high sense of satisfaction. There is always something new to learn and technology is always advancing which makes it an exciting sector to be a part of.
“To those deciding upon their career, I would advise that you choose subjects that you enjoy and challenge you, and keep an open mind to opportunities – when I was at school, I didn’t know half the jobs I would later come across even existed! Seek varied advice from your peers and seniors, especially those who have gone down a similar route to one you may be pursuing. My placement year was invaluable so make sure you take any opportunity for experience, even if for nothing other than to find out what you don’t like.”