My name is Anastacia and this year I am undertaking a placement year in Couch Perry and Wilkes engineering company as a part of my BSc Environmental Science. In my previous post I explained some main tips on how to secure a placement; this post will be devoted to my experience and thoughts so far.
What do the Couch Perry and Wilkes Building Consultancy team do?
Couch Perry and Wilkes is an Engineering company with a focus on design and integration of mechanical and electrical; daylight and lighting; and sustainability services. In total there are eight offices around the UK with the main office being located in Birmingham. My workplace office is located in Leeds City Centre, where I can enjoy a picturesque view of the astonishing River Aire. The company is proud to specialise in contemporary engineering techniques to deliver sustainable solutions focusing not only on energy efficiency but also on financial and environmental aspects to fulfil client’s needs.
At the Beginning…
My first week was all about finding my feet and asking a wide range of questions. In first month of my placement there have been two staff night outs, which were full of fun and excitement. This was also a good way to build networks with Couch Perry and Wilkes employees as well as with architects, project managers and engineers from other companies.
Another good point is that company is keen on providing Continued Professional and Personal Development to its employees, and it is great that the majority of the skills and knowledge gained from training and seminars are relevant to my course and can be applied in the future.
Oh and there has also been a lot of sport involved. Every Monday the bravest of us gather together to play football with architects. This is a good way to improve team working skills. To my biggest astonishment, the majority of my fellow workers are also big fans of rugby. Just to let you know, I knew nothing about rugby before, so all the rules and main facts were explained by my fellow workers, when we watched England vs Fiji game in a bar as well as attended Leeds Rhinos vs New Zealand Kiwi game.
Most of my work so far has been working with the IES VE, AGi 32 and AutoCAD softwares. AutoCAD software is used by architects and engineers to develop drawings. I then use these drawings to build a model using IES VE software. This software helps to assess whether the building will overheat and if yes by how much (overheating analysis)(actually this model has got many other functions). After that I use the same software to run a Part L (energy efficiency) analysis and then produce a preliminary EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). These two tests are required to be performed prior to building a building to show the compliance with the building regulations.
After that I use the same AutoCAD drawings to build a model using AGi 32 (Lighting Design Software) to run a Lighting analysis. This software helps to predict and calculate the likely amount of light that will be delivered based on user-set input data. This analysis is essential to show that people present in the building will get sufficient light to perform their duties.
As you probably know it takes a while to actually develop design and build a building, so the majority of the projects I am working on are on their preliminary stages. So far I have produced overheating and energy efficiency analysis, and Lighting analysis for two higher education buildings, a secondary school and a dwelling. It should be noted, however, that on practice it all seems a bit harder than described here. This is mainly because parameters and design of the future building can change multiple times before the final approval. In this case I can sometimes end up with producing up to 20 models for just one building.
But actually it is all fun. I have never though that small details can matter that much, for instance, the whole overheating analysis can be screwed because of simple things, like solar exposure or location, or a Lighting analysis can fail due to too deep room depth, and etc.
In overall I have to admit that my year in industry is running perfectly so far and I enjoy absolutely everything about it. It is a very big challenge to step into the professional world, but I am really looking forward to this year and the future projects I will be involved in.