September 16, 2016

My Journey to MCIBSE

By Chris Turner

When I first joined Cundall in August 2013, I sat down with my line manager Simon Wyatt and discussed future pathways towards chartership. As a fresh graduate out of university, becoming professionally chartered seemed a world away. Simon however impressed onto me the importance of managing my workflow, even from these initial days and to track my processes in a comprehendible manner.

A quick glance at the requirements for the professional qualification include an Engineering Practice Report, and if this is accepted by CIBSE, an interview with senior chartered engineers at their headquarters in Balham. Whilst the Engineering Practice Report can be a bulky document, I would like to share my strategy for making the process more manageable.

Taking his advice on board, I built a simple spreadsheet displaying the CIBSE criteria that are outlined in the chartership material and began adding my jobs to this tracker. As different tasks that required different skills were completed, I would enter them into the tracker under the job number. As my time at Cundall increased and the number of jobs I was involved with grew as well, I could see patterns developing in my skill set, and more importantly see where the holes in my experience were.

Using my tracker, I was able to show Simon areas I believed I was lacking experience in. This helped push me towards tasks where I could fulfil these criteria and hence achieve the well-rounded experience within building services that CIBSE desires in chartered engineers.

Concurrently, I would update a word document with brief descriptions of the projects I worked on and my responsibilities within the job. This would later greatly simplify the task of creating the Engineering Practice Report that CIBSE require as part of the submission. This document acts as a historical register of all of your professional input, and can be a daunting prospect if attempting to write it from scratch. Cundall have a database of Engineering Practice Reports that can be used as templates for your own document. Providing background information on your projects can be a real test of the memory, so having made notes at the time of the work can be a huge asset when it comes to putting the report together.

Once this report was submitted to CIBSE, I had a wait of several months before being informed of an interview. This interview is designed to allow CIBSE members to question you on aspects of your Report they may have queries about, and in general to obtain a clear picture of the type of engineering you have performed.

Using the templates and structures of previous presentations, which are displayed on CIBSE’s website here, I created a presentation based on my strongest body of work. This presentation went into more detail on several criteria and emphasised my work in areas where I believed my report may come into question.

The interview process was very relaxed, with a pleasant discussion between myself and the senior engineers interviewing me. Many of my slides went unused as they preferred a casual discussion of my work to date, rather than a structured presentation.

In conclusion, applying to become a Chartered Engineer is not the formidable process it can first appear. I would recommend taking the following steps to break the route into manageable chunks: 1. Create a tracker with the CIBSE criteria so that holes in experience can be found and rectified. 2. Keep track of projects and create brief descriptions of the project in general and your involvement with it. 3. Meet regularly with your mentor to keep them up to date with your performance. 4. Review previously submitted reports to gauge levels of detail.

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Chris Turner, Sustainable Design, Working at Cundall

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