Engineering (Geotechnical)
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Megan Packer

Job title: Engineering Geologist

What are your qualifications?

BSc (Hons) – Geology; MSc DIC – Engineering Geology; CGeol

What exactly does an Engineering Geologist do?

An Engineering Geologist’s role primarily focuses on understanding the complexities of the geological and geotechnical conditions and processes in time and space with regards to the particular project (i.e. proposed infrastructure, ground stabilisation, site remediation etc.). This involves development of factual and interpretive ground models and identification of hazards and the degrees of risk factors. Essentially it is to ensure that geological factors affecting engineering works are identified and provided for during the design, construction and monitoring phases.

Examples of work include assessing the integrity of soil, rock, groundwater and other natural conditions prior to major construction projects for feasibility studies; foundation characterization; forensic investigations after a ground failure; sourcing of construction materials; potential reuse of materials or construction waste; and monitoring of conditions throughout and after construction to ensure that structures are stable in the short and long term.

What sort of organisation do you work for?

I work for a specialist geotechnical consulting company based in London who provides advice to a wide range of clients including consultants, contractors, government departments, private and public companies, legal practices and research organisations.

Do you travel within the UK or overseas very much?

I occasionally travel to sites within the UK and overseas however the majority of my current work is focussed within London.

Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?

The most important characteristic you need is to be passionate about understanding the geological and natural environment, and how integral our understanding is to the success of a project. You need to be adaptable to different circumstances, projects and project teams and always be willing to learn about new environments.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the variety of work that I get involved with and the detective work involved with trying to unravel the secrets of the natural environment and identifying those risks which may affect the particular project of interest.

What advice or information do you wish you’d had before starting this career?

Ideally, you should be someone who is proactive, enjoys being outdoors and has a personal interest in the natural environment. You need to enjoy working in a variety of circumstances, be willing to travel and adapt to new situations, and be able to work with teams of people from a wide range of backgrounds. Prior to studying at university I wish I had been aware of the large variety of potential geology degree applications (including Engineering Geology).