July 19, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

Esh-Stantec joint venture offers key career development opportunity for civil engineer

A civil engineer has made the switch from pre-construction design to a live construction project, with the opportunity made possible through the collaborative joint venture between Esh Construction and Stantec. 

Savannah Lawrence, 27, joined Stantec as a graduate civil engineer in 2021 after completing her degree in Civil Engineering at Newcastle University. She was afforded the opportunity through a placement on the Durham Transfers project, midway through 2023.

She said: “I knew I wanted to work for a joint venture business because I’d done that on my year out and saw the value of gaining both construction and design experience first hand – being able to build on early contractor engagement and collaboration makes the process much smoother. Stantec often gives opportunities to developing professionals to gain experience and work towards chartership, which is something I want to do.”

Having worked with the design team on the core concepts for the Durham Transfers project, it was perfect timing for Savannah that the Esh-Stantec placement coincided with the project’s start on site. She added: “I was fortunate enough to do half a year in the office doing the job’s design and then following that through when it mobilised on site, joining the team from January 2024. I was in the right place in my career to take the next step into the site side of things, which allows me to keep working towards chartership.

“I act as a line of communication between the teams to help respond to any queries or issues from either the Esh site team or the Stantec design team in an efficient manner.”

Work on the Durham Transfers project, an 18-month Water Improvement National Environmental Programme (WINEP) scheme, began in June 2023. It will boost the performance and flexibility of the wastewater network and wastewater treatment works in the Plawsworth, Pity Me and Brasside areas of County Durham, as well as improve the water quality of the Blackdene Burn. It includes around 6km of new sewer pipe installation, construction of two new pumping stations and trenchless operations to pass beneath the East Coast Main Railway Line and the A167.

For David Pratt, divisional director at Esh-Stantec, Savannah’s successful placement is testament to the joint-venture opportunities afforded to employees. He said:

“Our joint venture partnership is fast approaching 10 years of collaboration and our relationship continues to grow stronger. The Esh-Stantec model is thriving as we enhance our Framework portfolio with Northumbrian Water and that comes from an investment in our people, and giving them the best chance to develop in the roles, across all construction and design elements.”

In January, Northumbrian Water appointed Esh-Stantec to its Living Water Enterprise, a highly integrated, collaborative delivery vehicle made up of the water company and 12 supply partners responsible for delivering large-scale construction programmes. It’s an appointment that Savannah claims can only aid her personal development as she strives to become a chartered civil engineer, learning key lessons through Esh-Stantec’s blended model.

She said: “There are things I’ve seen on site that I’ve later thought I’d probably do a different way from a design perspective next time because I’m seeing it as a real life, live project.

“Personally, I’ve found that coming out and seeing the actual scale of a project on a site or an operative within an excavation that you’ve designed, is a totally different experience to seeing drawings on a screen and holds so much value.

“The partnership between Esh and Stantec has provided such a collaborative space but equally it’s helped me build key contacts for the future.”

Esh-Stantec was formed in 2015 by North of England contractor, Esh Construction, and Stantec, a global provider of sustainable design and engineering services, to deliver capital schemes through Northumbrian Water’s Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Framework.