Building Foundations with Liam Bryant

Liam web2

He’s a key member of Webb Yates Planeteers, our climate action focused internal taskforce, and an advocate for low carbon design.

Today we chat to associate Liam Bryant about his ambitions to deliver great, sustainable design projects and how he’s working towards a greener and more sustainable built environment.

Why did you choose a career in engineering?

I think I’ve always been heading this way, since I was young. My parents were both technical (and practical, but I seem not to have inherited that…), self-building my childhood home, constantly repairing or rebuilding their cars, so I’ve always been exposed to the importance of engineering and science.

It’d guess it was that and the fact that I love solving puzzles and figuring how something works, I get a huge sense of satisfaction when I suddenly have that light-bulb moment.

Which product or building has most inspired you and why?

I’m going to go for a little bit of a cop out and pick “classical” buildings. As a kid you read about the Romans building the aqueducts, or see photos of the Pyramids and you’re just left astounded that you could build these monumental structures with relatively low-tech tools and a lot of ingenuity. I don’t think that feeling of awe will ever really fade!

Which Webb Yates Engineers project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of and why?

I’d say working on our structural stone schemes. It’s not often that you get to help contribute to designing a “new” (those quotation marks are doing a lot of work) structural type and it’s even better when it offers some pretty impressive climate benefits.

As someone working in engineering, what can you do to contribute to a greener and more sustainable urban future?

I’m trying to find a good way to advocate for low carbon design hard enough on my projects. Often we suggest a design proposal and it gets shot down because the team are a bit risk averse or costs are a concern and sometimes you need to dig your heels in a little to get them to give it a shot. Obviously sometimes their concerns are totally justified, but I’m trying to give that little bit of push-back.

I think this is a key part of anyone’s role, regardless of specialism or discipline, but it goes beyond what any one person can do. It’s really important to get enough people moving in the same direction and its part of why I’ve always been really active in STEM outreach to schools and things like that.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I'm looking forward to delivering great, sustainably designed projects in the future and looking to make this standard across the industry, rather than just a nice to have.

Once we’ve fixed the climate crisis, I’ll go for the bigger challenge of getting Steve Webb to compliment one of my hand-sketches.

Where is your favourite place to be?

Italy, though I’m torn between Tuscany and Venice. Such beautiful architecture, plus the wine and food doesn’t hurt…