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Hideo Ueda, Graduate Structural Engineer, Sydney

University Attended: UNSW
Degree Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil with Architecture)
Year of Graduation: 2021

A day in the life:

7:00 am

My morning alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed to go for my morning run that I know will help me maintain my fitness and get the brain juices flowing for the day. I grab a quick breakfast before I walk to the train station. I’ll usually read on the train to avoid scrolling endlessly on my phone.

9:00 am

I walk through the big revolving doors at the entrance of the office and make my way to Level 7 where I sit in the area which is allocated to the Structures Team. I put my lunch in the fridge and make a coffee with the Nespresso machine in the kitchen area before I read through my emails, check my calendar, plan the day ahead and talk to some of my team members about the work they have for the week.

9:30 am

I join my first meeting of the day with my project team to keep up to date with individual work progress and the overall delivery of the project. We plan out the necessary meetings for the day, allocate upcoming site inspections and work accordingly within the team. I will schedule in a time later in the day with my director and manger to discuss the results from my calculations and software analysis of structural loading on the building.

10:00 am

After the morning meeting wraps up, I look through the documents for the upcoming site inspection for a separate project and write down any important questions or notes for when I am on site. I put on my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and head down to the basement carpark where a co-worker will drive us in the company car to the site.

11:00 am

During the site inspection I am inspecting the steel reinforcement by measuring the bar sizes, lengths, spacing to check if they are in accordance with the design that we’ve submitted. I’ll also be checking the steel quality, previous concrete pours for any defects, identifying the appropriate construction process, and general safety of the construction site too. If there are any problems that are identified during the site inspection, I write them down in my notes so I can follow up the issue with my manger back at the office or give my manager a call if it is an urgent matter that needs solving on the spot.

1:00 pm

Back in the office and time to have lunch! I usually pack a sandwich, and if I ever forget there are plenty of shops available in the city with a variety of cuisines to choose from. I’ll tag along with team members or others who sit close by to be shown around the popular lunch spots in the city. Most people order takeaway lunches and eat either at the Level 5 Hub, an open space with a kitchen and plenty of seats, or the outdoor area on Level 5 of the office to soak in the sun while eating.

2:00 pm

After replying to some emails, I enter a meeting with my director and manager about the structural loading on the building. I present the results from the software analysis from ETABS, identifying the changes I made to the 3D model and discussing the results. If the results don’t show the values that we were expecting, I consult my manager and take notes about the changes needed to be made to the model before running the analysis again.

3:00 pm

I’ll grab a coffee from the Nespresso machine in the kitchen or try to explore the coffee shops nearby the office with my friends to determine where the best coffee in the area is. This will re-energise me for the remaining afternoon which is usually the best time for work in the day. If I have any questions about the issues identified during the site inspection, I will ask my manager for advice on possible solutions. I’ll then compile photos and notes from the site inspection earlier in the day into a report which I will ask a co-worker to read through quickly before sending it to the clients.

5:30 pm

After wrapping up the work and sending out reports, I check my emails once again before cleaning up my desk area (hot desking at work is the norm after COVID-19) and chatting to my team members about their plans for the week or weekend. I’ll catch up with some friends from other departments as well if they are still at the office. This gives me a better insight into each team’s part in projects and how all the teams come together to deliver massive projects which can only be experienced at large companies like AECOM.

6:00 pm

I leave the office and head to a restaurant nearby where I’ll catch up with some friends from university who also work in the city. It’s always interesting to learn about different industries and what my friends do for work while getting up to speed with their personal lives as well. We reminisce about memories from university and discuss how different studying is to working full-time.