Interview: BIM Engineer (Structural) – Bharvi Shah

In this month’s article we are going to give an insight into working with LSY Engineering Consultants Ltd as a structural BIM engineer.

Why you got back into engineering

I studied Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University and I chose this degree simply because I had always been passionate about engineering and at the time I felt like Chemical Engineering suited me the most. I never had a specific or set plan of what I wanted to do, but I wanted to be working in an industry where I would always have room to grow and learn new things.

During university I took a year long placement where I worked at Pirelli Tyres as part of their Project Engineering Team. I found this so interesting and had a very helpful and friendly team to work with. I vastly improved my AutoCAD skills which later helped me in my final year of university and in my job right now.

After graduating, I knew I wanted to live in London and quickly realised that a lot of the roles I thought I wanted to do were not in London. I then took a leap of faith in a role in recruitment where my niche was the Irish Construction Industry. I’m glad I did this, because it greatly improved my communication, resilience and problem-solving skills whilst also improving my confidence which helped me in my personal life too.

Although I felt like something was missing, I wanted to challenge myself, I wanted a more dynamic role working as an engineer and have the balance of being on site, in the office and meeting new people. I finally decided to take that step and started working at LSY.

What it’s been like jumping into a new industry

In the start it was a bit overwhelming but mostly exciting – it was a massive learning curve but it was a challenge I wanted to take for my own personal and career growth. As time went on I found I could already apply my existing skillset to this industry and I started picking up bits at a much faster pace than I had expected. I tend to work well under pressure and manage to keep calm in stressful situations which has definitely made this process easier for me.

Chemical engineering compared to structural engineering

There have been some modules I learnt that were relevant to structural engineering making it less foreign to me – and I believe with engineering it’s more about how the mind works – how you can apply your existing knowledge to solve problems. So while you are dealing with different situations in a different environment you are still using the same engineering concepts and ideas.

When I started working at LSY I focused on the BIM side of things, in terms of software, I was already comfortable using AutoCAD as I had experience with it during my degree and work placement so this made it easier for me to pick up on using Revit.

Difference between recruitment industry and engineering.

The main difference is with engineering you are able to see the results of your work from the start till the end of a project – and you know what to expect for the end result as you are working alongside a team where you are all collectively part of the decision-making process. In recruitment however, you can’t predict when or if you will see the end result in the work you put in, sometimes the candidates you have put through may not get a role, sometimes it might be weeks or months before your candidate gets a response or a job offer and sometimes the process may move quickly and you have a response within a week. While you have some control over the process, a large part tends to be quite unpredictable.

With both industries I have found you do have to be able to work well under pressure. Though there is a difference in that. With engineering it’s usually with deadlines or when you are trying to learn something new that you might not get at first, sometimes it can be frustrating, but getting past that is very important. You need to be able to manage expectations well and be organised as you are often working on multiple projects at once with multiple deadlines to meet.

In recruitment you need to learn to be resilient and handle rejection well, where I’ve found the highs are high and lows are low. You are usually under pressure from both your clients, candidates as well as internal pressure.

With both industries though, no day is the same, you are exposed to so many different and interesting people and you are able to use your skills that you’ve learnt in your day-to-day life.

How you have found a 4-day working week concept

I do really like it and prefer it to the traditional work week. It makes you work more efficiently, you are still covering the same amount of work, but you have more time in your personal life as well, giving you a better work-life balance. I find I come back to work a lot more refreshed and much more motivated.

Parts you most enjoy about the job.

I like that it is dynamic, so no day is really the same. I am able to see the projects I’m working on in-person which truly makes a great difference when trying to figure out why or how to solve the problem, and in the process meeting so many new and different people.

Another thing is apart from my role as an engineer I am able to be involved in the business as well and take initiative on items such as business development, events, marketing, financials etc and this gives me a better understanding and appreciation of the business as a whole.

It is a flexible work environment so I can choose to work from the office, a café if I’m in between site visits or even from home which accommodates you to work as efficiently as possible.

Probably the most important factor is that I am learning so much, I get a lot of support from the team at LSY who have been incredible as well as self-learning which I enjoy. I strongly believe in the concept of “Kaizen” which is a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement, which is something that the LSY team excel at and strongly support.

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