ExpertiseDesign, Construction, Geotechnical
Obtained a master's in civil engineering from University College London in 2018
Became a chartered civil engineer in 2022
Won the Hong Kong Emerging Engineers Award in 2022
A day in my life
I’m part of the geotechnical team within SYSTRA, based in the Birmingham office.
Being construction phase support of the designer in the HS2 projects means I’m mostly site-based to provide technical support to the contractor team.
I also support assurance during construction to verify that works are being built in line with the design.
Every day has different challenges that need an investigative mind and problem-solving skills.
The greatest part of geotechnics is finding specific solutions that adapt to uncertain geological hazards and risks, and then verifying the solution's effectiveness in practice.
You will never fall behind the times if you choose [civil engineering].
We asked Charles…
I would recommend a career in civil engineering because…
A career in civil engineering is a truly rewarding one. This profession requires different skillsets and continuous learning along with advances in technology from other fields.
You will never fall behind the times if you choose this career.
What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?
I used to have the privilege of living next to a building I designed.
Every morning looking out from the bedroom and seeing the people enjoying the building, you get a sense of pride and ownership that gives you the energy to take on all challenges at work.
At the end of my career, I can look back at the projects I’ve been involved in, and each one will remind me how they have provided happiness to humanity.
Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?
I would love to work on some highway structures and drainage works.
Having good ground is just the first step, and the highway and drainage engineers are unspoken heroes in making sure the land is assessable and free from hassle.
Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.
The skills required as a civil engineer are not just about maths and physics.
What are you doing to help fight against climate change?
As a designer, I ensure new assets are designed in an optimum manner with robustness against extreme climates, specify solutions and materials that contain the lowest embedded carbon through their whole life cycle, and even recommend eliminating assets that would have low efficiency.
These are effective measures from a higher-level perspective to fight against climate change.
Charles' career path
I was educated up to the BEng level in Hong Kong and obtained an MSc degree in the UK as further learning.
I started my career as a structural engineer for a short year, but eventually trained and settled in geotechnical engineering.