Chestnut Grove Academy Science Fair

Chestnut Grove Academy in Balham hosted a Science Fair on the 22nd of March, for their Year 9 students (13/14 year old). Ramboll was represented by two graduate engineers, Neophytos Yiannakou and Mohamed Saleh. It was a great opportunity for the students to get familiar with the work we do at Ramboll and all the interesting stuff we are working on in our daily basis.

We were particularly impressed by the enthusiasm of these guys, sharing their dreams and aspirations of becoming F1 engineers, sustainable urban planners and aviation designers. We came across some tough questions that certainly demonstrated their extensive scientific knowledge on certain aspects of engineering.

We feel rewarded by this experience as we believe in the educational and social character of Ramboll. Engaging with the students was a great experience and we are pleased to have contributed to their development. We would certainly do it again if the opportunity arises.

Students Inspired by Foundation Event

On the 17th December 60 year 11 and 12 students visited Ramboll’s London Office to take part in a series of activities in aide of inspiring them to tackle the world’s challenges and following a career in engineering. The day was organised with the Inspiring Futures Foundation, of which Ramboll has a long running partnership with.

At the start of the day students were given a vibrant presentation from Ollie Wildman, an associate in the London structures team, introducing them to the world of engineering and what it’s really like working at Ramboll. They then took part in a networking session with a range of our Ramboll graduate and design engineers across the business; who shared experiences both at their time in the industry and their reasons for choosing engineering as a career path. After a tour around the state of the art office facilities in the afternoon the students were set a challenge in teams to design and build a prototype emergency bridge to link an isolated town washed away from recent flooding. Each group performed well, establishing a teamwork approach to develop a design, cost it, build it and present their idea to the group. Many bridges fared well to the testing of each bridge at the end of the session.

Inspiring Futures Day2

Inspiring Futures Day3


The students thoroughly enjoyed the day; being given the insight into our industry and also from the opportunity to empower themselves in the design challenge. We hope to continue our long running partnership with the Inspiring Futures Foundation and commit to inspiring the engineers of the future.

See Inspiring Future’s blog post about the day here and for any questions please contact Alan Roper ( or Ollie Wildman ( Special thank you goes to the graduates and colleagues who assisted in the networking event and office tours.

Tacloban Charity Project: London Update

For the past nine months Philippe and I have been offering technical engineering support for the design of the dormitory structure in Tagpuro in the aftermath of super-Typhoon Yolanda. For more information on the project visit our previous blog post here and the Workshop blog here.

Prior to Typhoon Yolanda, the local design code stated a wind speed of 250kph should be modelled. Yolanda created wind speeds of 320kph over prolonged periods of time, meaning the codes became outdated. When you have such high wind speeds it’s really important to understand how it is likely to behave around a structure. The protruding rafters of the dorm block create chaotic wind behaviour which is best modelled using a wind tunnel or Computational Flow Dynamics (CFD).  We worked in conjunction with Chris Ochyra, an expert in Advanced Engineering from Ramboll’s Southampton office, to model the wind around our four buildings. It’s important to account for the topography and land features in the local geographical area which means the CFD boundary conditions are critical. The ANSYS CFD model outputted values for the pressure coefficient (Cp) which we converted to member and area loads and applied to the global structural SAP model. We modelled the structure with and without louvre panels which allowed us to understand whether it would be best to open or close these removable panels during high-wind scenarios.

We found that the lead engineering practice (based in Manila) underestimated the loadings upon several key areas and we hence undertook a thorough review of structural members. This highlights the importance of using CFD for analysis because the values they had taken from literature were far too low and members could have failed during high winds.

The Philippines and Tagpuro is also susceptible to earthquake and is therefore important to ensure the building behaves well under seismic loadings. A seismic review was carried out in coordination with Davide Pedicone. Davide has worked extensively on the seismic rebuilding after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in Northern Italy and in California. His experience has been invaluable for this project.

In the dormitory building, the three large concrete cores provide the building’s stiffness and strength. In between the cores the building is based on a series of timber frames, rafters and purlins. The loads generated from their seismic mass will be transferred through to the cores and down to the foundations.

The results from the seismic model highlighted some of our concerns about lateral drifts (in excess of 150mm!) and the adequacy of the design of the bracing. The bracing is provided by large timber cross beams in the transverse direction and by the purlins in the roof. In light of our seismic study we have recommended additional diagonal steel bracing rods connecting the roof to the core which will limit drift to an acceptable level (8mm). In seismic design, members are designed beyond their elastic limit during large earthquakes. The result is some plastic deformation and damage such as cracking. The timber cross bracing was designed fully elastically to avoid a loss of strength or stiffness and so maintain the integrity of the building in an earthquake. In earthquakes it is also important to design for redundancy, or in other words the loss of key members.


Graduate Induction Programme 2015

In September 2015, Ramboll graduates attended a two-day induction programme, which took place in the London office.

The first day of the programme began with an introductory speech by Steve Canadine, Managing Director of Ramboll in the UK. It was followed by presentations from senior members of staff, who gave a brief summary of their career and their job role within Ramboll. There was also an overview of the various CSR projects which are organised by Ramboll Charities Panel.  Later on, graduates participated in a seminar relating to Ramboll values, during which they exchanged views and opinions on what these mean to them and how they can incorporate them into their job role and daily tasks. The day continued with a presentation on ‘Innovative Leadership’.

As part of the Copenhagen trip, graduates were asked to complete a ‘Graduate Design Challenge’, on which they were briefed during the induction programme. Graduates were given the task to design an integrated solution for an existing public realm within a dense city of their choice. The solution should consider sustainability, social integration and green spaces. Graduates were divided into teams of 5-6 people from different disciplines and offices in order to allow them to combine their various skills from the different sectors. The first day ended with a tour around several historic pubs of London.

On the second day there were short presentations from colleagues working in the various disciplines and Resources Groups within Ramboll. The day continued with an interactive discussion about ‘Competitive Platform’, during which graduates were given the opportunity to express their opinion and ideas on various issues and propose their suggestions. The graduate induction programme ended with a session on building client relationships. During this session, graduates were divided into groups of 6 and were given the task to undertake a role play exercise. The scenario they were given was such that they would meet potential clients and they would have to convince them to appoint Ramboll in new projects.

The graduate induction programme was a great opportunity for graduates to get to know their colleagues from the other Ramboll offices, learn about Ramboll’s Resource groups and broaden their understanding of the Ramboll values and Competitive Platform. Positive feedback on the session was received from the graduates!



(words by Sotira Georgiou)


St. Pauls High School Visit

On the 11th June 2015, a group of Year 10 school girls and teachers visited Ramboll’s London office, and were greeted by three of the London Education Officers, Anish Patel, Alan Roper and Riccardo Pedroni for an afternoon. This school visit is an annual event run between Ramboll and the school, and has proven to be a high success and an enjoyable and insightful afternoon for everyone involved.

The afternoon began with initial icebreakers, followed by a Ramboll Presentation describing the company, values, disciplines and major projects. Following this, representatives from various disciplines; Fire Engineering (Aurelie Pereira), Acoustics (Momo Hoshijima), Geotechnical Engineering (Mona Haghani), Facades (Miriam Butti), Building Services (Amipon Batham), Environmental Consultancy (Rachel Navin), Structural Engineering (Riccardo Pedroni) and Civil Engineering (Alan Roper) delivered short presentations on what they do and how they came to work for Ramboll. As a coincidence the majority of the representatives were female, and feedback after the event showed that the school ‘loved meeting all of the female engineers and hearing their inspiring stories’.


A group task was the set, which was to design a structure as tall as possible from marshmallows and spaghetti, with groups being assigned. The key aspects of this were to gain an engineering knowledge of how high rise structures work in principal, and also key team work and communication skills. The task was well received and an enjoyable end to the day, which was followed by an office tour, and the school have got back in touch regarding continuing the event next year which we hope to again be a success.

2014-2015 Engineering Education Scheme

Back in September four Ramboll graduates took part in the annual Engineering Education Scheme. The scheme is run annually and aims to encourage more Year 12 students to take up engineering as a career. Ramboll mentored a team of students from Wimbledon High School (WHS), continuing the long-term partnership with the school.

The graduates, James Tearle, Anish Patel, Riccardo Pedroni & Philippe Ayache, set five students from WHS the challenge of designing a new bespoke staircase to form the main focal point of Ramboll’s new office in London.

The students had no experience with engineering before the scheme and were mentored through the 6 month process from September to March. Initially they developed concept ideas and undertook relevant research such as material properties. By Christmas, the team had assessed all their design contributions to the project and developed a design that they all agreed to progress further.

Capture3          Capture2


In the New Year the team attended a residential workshop at the University of Surrey. The two days were a valuable experience for the girls as they were able to see laboratory material testing which allowed them to see practically what they had researched about material properties. The team also constructed a scale model of their design so they could better understand how their structure worked.

In April they presented at the regional final at BP Sunbury and were able to explain to the judges the various engineering work that they had undertaken during the scheme. The girls have gone on to present at the regional ‘Big Bang’ competition and have progressed to the National Science and Engineering Competition. Two of the students have also since undertaken work experience placements with Ramboll this summer.

Tacloban Charity Project: Work Experience Student Takeover

Myself and three other work experience students were part of the Ramboll Structures Department in London for one week from 29th June. One of the projects we worked on was the Tacloban project, one of the charity projects Ramboll supports. Ramboll is currently working on this project alongside a local architect and engineering practice in Tacloban.




Tacloban is the capital of Leyte, Philippines. 360 miles southeast of Manilla, it has a population of 221,174 and is the most populous city. Typhoon Haiyan (2013) was very destructive and claimed the lives of 10,000 and affected about 11 million. With wind speeds of roughly 310km/h (195mph) many homes, schools and the airport were severely damaged. The following storm surge was reported to have reached up to 5m and when combined with the low lying land of Tacloban (the airport being some 5m below sea level) the results were disastrous.

The chances of a similar disaster occurring are very high, as the Philippines is located in a disaster hotspot and has many hazards, such as typhoons due to the warm ocean water, high humidity and low atmospheric stability.

The Tacloban charity project consists of 4 buildings which must be designed to withstand a similar disaster and provide a shelter, education and a clinic to the people who live there. However, the design process is not easy as there are various constraints with regards to the area. Firstly, Tacloban is extremely prone to hurricanes and typhoons. These involve winds of up to 320 km/h. One can see how this factor makes the designing and building of these structures difficult, as not only must the buildings be made to resist such high speed winds when complete, but they must withstand the conditions during construction too. In order to accommodate these high pressures, Ramboll has used features such as a hip-roof that is ideal in hurricane-prone areas. This is ahiproof roof where all sides slope down to the walls with gentle slopes, increasing its ability to withstand high winds as there are fewer sharp angles.

Another constraint faced is the lack of roads in the area. Tacloban is a rural area that is very poorly developed so does not have main roads. This make the transport of construction materials difficult as the required large vehicles cannot travel on the current dirt roads. Hence new infrastructure within the local area must also be developed.During my work experience at Ramboll, I have made detailed models of the structures that are going to be built to aid as many people as possible by providing them with healthcare, shelter and an education.

study centre model   foundation plan study centre

The other work experience students and I initially looked at the plans of both the study centre and the clinic. We then worked out the effective areas of the columns in the structure and calculated the load exerted on each column, using load values provided in the code.This data will then be used to design the timber perimeter columns.

Following this process of calculating loads, we moved on to look at the wind pressures exerted on the faces of the buildings. We used the pressure coefficients and the wind models created for us, along with Bernoulli’s equation, to find out the average maximum and minimum pressure exerted on each face of the building. This information was then added to the digital model and used to ensure that the building was strong enough in these certain areas. Working with the structures team and the other work experience students on this project was thoroughly enjoyable and gave us a true insight into the world of engineering.