Meet the members - Dan Evans

Dan shows that you can veer from “traditional” routes and still achieve CEng. With support from a professional registration advisor (PRA), he’s now close to achieving the final competencies he needs for application.

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Dan Evans

After a focus on electrical and electronic engineering for three years at Cardiff University, Dan Evans felt that perhaps he wanted a career in a different sector of engineering. He spent some time after graduation as an IT sales consultant, but not feeling a connection to the job, made the decision to take time out and go travelling.

It was during this time that he found an appreciation of project management.

“I found myself travelling”

 “Travelling around South East Asia, Australia and America, I had to do a lot of work planning the day to day travels,” says Evans. “We had such a short time in each place so we had to cram in as much as we could. I discovered that I enjoyed sitting down, planning routes and finding ways to achieve things. When I came back I looked for project management types of roles within an engineering company.

“I went to work for a utilities management firm as a new connections engineer/consultant. My role was to complete site visits on existing telecommunications masts being fed by generators and investigate options for permanent power solutions. These options would be priced and the most favourable option would be carried out by a team of qualified electricians under my management.

“Following this I decided to completely change my career path and joined the project management division of the building group Interserve. My first project was as a graduate engineer at a £12 million new prison house block extension at Nottingham. Here I had to quickly learn all aspects of civil and structural engineering as I was part of only a two strong engineering team. I had a very steep learning curve in the company's QA procedure and had to check every aspect of the buildings installation as well as enforcing site health and safety rules.”

Working on different projects at Interserve, Evans found a passion for the job and continued to learn more engineering and management skills, and in turn competencies.

Gaps in competencies

It was then however, that Evans recognised there was a gap in his learning - he was lacking certain competencies necessary to achieve chartered engineer status.

“I enlisted the help of Andrew Houston, an IET PRA. We met at Savoy Place and discussed my options and he gave me great, constructive advice,” he explains.

“A lot of the work I get involved with at Interserve was health, safety and environmental, programming and project management related. A lot of what I was doing was basically checking the architect and engineers (structural, civil, M&E etc) drawings and ensuring that the subcontractors were building to the correct drawings and specification and applying my own knowledge and experience to advise.

“But it was competencies A and B I was lacking. Houston explained that from reading my CV he couldn’t tell that I was using my own initiative and innovative ideas to solve problems, and advised a secondment that would help me work towards these.

The solution – secondment

“Following this I secured a design placement with the engineering consultancy Ove Arup,” Evans continues. “I've since developed a much deeper understanding of electrical engineering through working on various projects assisting in the design and co-ordination of multi-serviced buildings and using building guidelines to value engineer lighting and power schemes.”

Evan’s time at Arup is now coming to an end, but his secondment has helped him substantially.

“I’ve spent the last year working for the ‘other side’ in the design office,” he says. “Interserve was very supportive as the company likes to send out the engineers for a year with a design firm just to enhance their appreciation of what the designers do.

“At Interserve, the engineers usually land on a construction site during the enabling works, get the drawings and then oversee the  project through to final fit out. I’ve now got to see what happens before our arrival. Even better, thanks to timing the when I leave here I’ll be continuing on the same project, but from the construction management site.

“It’ll be so different from what I do now. At the moment I go to work at a design office and carry out my responsibilities as appropriate to the project I'm working on.. When I go back to the site, It’ll be back to safety boots, hard hats and hi-viz vests. I think it will be really interesting to have seen the design right from conception through to completion.”

The final countdown

Although still working towards his chartered status, Evans has managed to achieve the missing A and B competences via his advised secondment at Ove Arup. He’s keen to share his story with fellow engineers, proving that you do not need to follow traditional routes to chartership such as joining consultancies or mechanical and engineering contractors.

His final aim is to get another year of experience under his belt as a fully-fledged construction manager and then he feels he will be in the perfect position to apply for chartership.