Julian Bradbury B Eng, C Eng MIStructE FGS Associate Director
I prefer projects with the most difficult ground conditions because that's where you have to think the most. This is what I call proper engineering.
The answer lies in the soil.
Julian is the team's expert on providing engineering solutions to geo-environmental problems.
He says: "Designing beams and columns doesn't do it for me. The thing about dealing with problems in the ground is that there is never a simple right or wrong way. There is a best way and a most cost-effective way." In the past, planning legislation made developers focus on remediating old industrial sites for use as residential housing projects.
Julian was involved in the geotechnical assessment and remediation of sites that had been, amongst many other things, paper mills, tanneries, plastics factories and breakfast cereal factories. Each project brings its own particular challenges based on previous use, working practices and materials used. Now the trend is for bigger developments with integrated shops, schools and surgeries, which means that the wheel has turned full circle and greenfield sites are being used again.
Possilby the greatest challenge lies in retail and industrial developments, as Julian's experience of working for Rolton Group on several Ikea stores demonstrates. The retail giant's new store in Southampton is typical of the real world challenges he faces: the project called for construction on the site of a former cable works which was built in the thirties on reclaimed mudflats above demolition waste from the bombing of the city. The factory itself had been bombed, the site contained unexploded ordnance and there were additional issues with localised soil and groundwater contamination, creating unique issues which were expertly handled to ensure a successful outcome.