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UCL Students Visit Crossrail Bond Street

12 June 2014

The Costain Skanska JV and Crossrail team working on the Crossrail Bond Street Station work site recently welcomed a group of undergraduate students from University College London, giving them a first-hand look at the biggest rail project in Europe and some of the challenges facing the team.

Over two visits, nine undergraduates in their first and third years were welcomed by Clive Glasspool, Costain Engineering Manager, who gave a presentation on the piling work that was undertaken on the previous Costain Skanska C411 project. The topic was chosen because it aligned with the subject currently being studied by the students, which highlighted the practical issues faced on site.

“There is no substitute for seeing how theory is put into practice, particularly when you’re doing such a practical course like Civil Engineering, that is why it’s so important that we give students an opportunity to see the work we do,” said Clive.

At the new Eastern Ticket Hall construction site, the students watched the team commence top down construction, seeing how a newly concreted ground floor slab was undermined, as well as the excavation of the basement, with spoil being excavated via a mole hole using an innovative clam shell excavator. Additional works included the preparation of the secant pile retaining wall and their reinforcement connectors, the breaking down of temporary piles and the welding of steelwork on the plunge columns to support the next basement slab.

Clive, together with Costain engineers Paul Hutton and Winny Oshodi, gave the students an insight into what attracted them to the civil engineering industry, explaining how their degree course shaped, informed and benefited their present roles and responsibilities. With an eye on the future, the team also discussed how best to make the most of their future opportunities after their degrees.

Clive expanded on the range of opportunities available within the industry and how a modern day engineering company, like Costain, contributes to the industry. Helen Macadam, C412 Skanska Site Engineer, gave further insight into the opportunities she has had in her career to date, particularly in relation to the different responsibilities and challenges she has experienced.

The students saw first-hand the scope, scale and logistical challenges facing the team, particularly working in a built up environment, and how it related to their studies.  

“It was a great experience to see real-life applications of what we have learned in Structures and Soils in Year 1. Additionally, the insight of the young engineers’ experience on how to get your career started was valuable to us,” said Magdalena Kupfersberger, a first year MEng student in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Dr Dina D’Ayala, Course Tutor and Head of Structures at UCL, commended the team for hosting the event.

“The site visit connected with the subjects students are studying right now and offered practical insights into the reasons behind the theories they are exposed to. I thought the presentations were also instrumental in clarifying the mammoth task of working in a busy city centre location, and some of the novel solutions you are implementing, not just from the point of view of design but also of construction. Thanks you again for your hospitality and help,” said Dr. D’Ayala.




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Costain Communications Department
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