Building Foundations with Alex Rummens
He stumbled into engineering and would love to design his own house one day. But what can he as an engineer do to create a greener and more sustainable planet?
In this month’s Building Foundation, we speak to Webb Yates Engineer’s Senior Building Services Engineer Alex Rummens.
Why did you choose a career in engineering?
To be honest I very much stumbled into engineering post A-levels, as I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. I think engineering appealed because it opens up such a broad range of possibilities for different areas of work, that you wouldn’t necessarily get with other careers.
Which product or building has most inspired you and why?
Maybe the Fender Stratocaster. It was invented in the 1950’s and they are still selling almost exactly the same product to this day – Proof that it pays to get it right first time.
Which Webb Yates Engineers project that you’ve worked on are you most proud of and why?
Probably the Observer Building in Hastings. This is a former printworks building of a local newspaper that is currently being converted into a mixture of commercial, residential and community space. We have designed a heat network for the building, using air source heat pumps, with a focus on making it sustainable for the future.
It’s an interesting old concrete building in the centre of Hastings that has remained empty for decades and there seems to be a real local interest in the work we are doing. Hopefully it will be a focal point in Hastings when complete – you will even be able to see the sea from the rooftop bar!
As someone working in engineering, what can you do to contribute to a greener and more sustainable urban future?
Making sustainability (such as improved building fabric performance targets) at the core of a building design, so that it is implemented throughout and budgeted for, rather than it being an afterthought.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would love to design my own house - although I would need to call in some favours in building it!
Where is your favourite place to be?
Back home in Shropshire in the countryside, preferably on my bike!