A day in the life - Aki Liyanage, Structural Engineer, Auckland Structural
Studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland.
7:00 AM – My alarm goes off and I force myself out of bed. I’m not a snoozer!
8:15 AM – After some breakfast, I leave my apartment in Central Auckland which is cruisy 5-minute walk away from the Beca office on Pitt Street.
8:20 AM – I arrive at the office and go through my emails and plan the work ahead for the day.
8:45 AM - I round up my work mates and we all make our way to the coffee machine and have a catch-up.
10:00 AM – Being a Monday, we have our section morning meeting which consists of 70+ structural engineers and drafters! We discuss business wide Beca projects our team is involved with or work we are bidding for. We also discuss and share technical, health and safety, client service excellence moments, any interesting lessons learnt on projects, or life in general.
10:30 AM – We then break up into our teams (15 - 20 structural engineers) and discuss resourcing for the week ahead. This is a great opportunity to see who’s available and who’s a bit over loaded – this makes sure that everyone has the support needed. This is also a great time to catch up with the team and see what everyone got up to over the weekend!
11:15 AM – We have weekly lunch time sports which is a great way to break up the day and to get the blood pumping! We are fortunate at the Auckland Beca office to be close to some great sporting facilities which we can compete in a variety of sporting competitions. I look after the Structural Frisbee team and we call ourselves the “Manubanubs” - don’t ask why though... it was named that long before I joined! It’s a great sport to be involved in and a great way to get to know the wider section as we are such a big team. We have players from intern level right up to our section manager and technical directors playing!
12:00 PM – We also have weekly training sessions; this can include trainings on technical design to presentations on well-being. These training sessions can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours towards your membership at Engineering New Zealand and eventually chartership.
1:00PM – As a structural engineer I get to work on a range of tasks which is great as it keeps it interesting. This ranges from Structural design (making sure things don’t fall over!) to monitoring the construction of projects. A large part of my work also involves seismic assessments of buildings and strengthening design. So far, I’ve done structural design for the Luna Rossa team Italy base for the up and coming America’s cup, a Temple in Auckland, several projects for the University of Auckland, several seismic assessments (one in Papua New Guinea!) and the construction monitoring for the New Zealand International Convention Centre. Being at Beca I have had the pleasure of working with some great engineers and designers who have worked on some iconic structural projects in New Zealand and internationally (the Sky Tower, Duo Tower in Singapore and several University of Auckland structures to name a few).
5-5:30PM – I usually wrap up around this time and try to summarise what items are complete and what items are outstanding to make sure they are done in a timely manner. As we are a big team, we usually have great support and help in the section, so I don’t feel too pressured or under the pump.
5:45 PM – I usually head to the gym around this time. It’s a great time to unwind, get a sweat up and collect your thoughts after a productive day.
7:00 PM – My partner and I usually cook a nice meal around this time – and we always make enough for lunch the next day. I enjoy cooking everything from Sinhalese food to Italian! Whatever we feel like on the day. This is a great time to catch-up on how each of our days have been. She’s in the medical field so we normally have two very contrasting days! But it keeps it interesting. We sometimes chuck something on tv, recently I’ve been subjected to The Bachelorette NZ…
8:30 PM – I usually call my parents who are currently living in Brunei and update them with what I got up with and the projects I am working on.
10:00 PM – Around this time we wind down, read a good book and make our way to bed. Time to recharge and reset, ready for the new challenges and projects for the next day!