Renu Steggles - BE(Hons) - 4 years experience
I studied Environmental Engineering at the University of New South Wales and I completed a major and thesis in Geotechnical Engineering. Since graduation in 2002 I have been working as a Geotechnical Engineer at Golder Associates.
What attracted me to Geotechnical Engineering?
Because it is an engineering discipline that deals with anything that touches the earth, which is essentially everything – tunnels, landslides, skyscrapers, dams, soft soils, roads and much more. It is a profession where you spend a lot of time outdoors gaining practical experience. This was a major attraction for me as I would hate to sit in an office everyday. I also liked the fact that you can work on the practical or theoretical side of things, or do a mixture of both.
What excites me about Geotechnical Engineering?
I love being in the field making decisions and trying to work out how to overcome any issues or problems that pop up.
My typical work day or week
Anything and everything. It is hard to describe a typical day as I am constantly being exposed to new things and new environments. I have supervised many site investigations, but am now doing more engineering analysis and design. Although based in Sydney I have had the opportunity of working at sites throughout Australia and in PNG. Recently I designed a boulder wall at Narrabeen Creek in Warriewood where I also did construction supervision. Currently I am supervising anchor and soil nail installations for the strengthening of a structure against earthquakes, and helping with settlement analyses for a site with deep layers of soft soils to determine how long surcharge is required to reduce future settlements to acceptable levels.
The most interesting project I have worked on
The Highlight for me has been a project at Lihir Gold Mine in Papua New Guinea. I was there for three months doing a feasability study for a proposed new pit and sea wall. The job involved drilling boreholes to depths of 300 metres in geothermal conditions. Sometimes hydrogen sulfide gas would jet up out of the borehole and all of the local offsiders would run for the hills. It was very interesting trying to think of ways to do down-hole testing and get information from the borehole without the equipment melting. I also loved living with the local people and learning about their culture.