Member focus

Steve Coppin C.Build E FCABE FCIOB CFIOSH FIIRSM FMaPS CWIFM MInstRE PIEMA EurOHSM Strategic Technical Advisor at SJC Risk Management Solutions Ltd.

Q Have you always had an interest in construction and engineering?

When I left school, I became a trainee design draughts person/estimator in mechanical engineering. I also did study release to gain my City & Guilds and Technical Education Council engineering qualifications.

Eight years later, I joined the Army Royal Engineers as a carpenter and joiner, obtaining an advanced City & Guilds. Upon leaving the army, I decided to utilise my experience, knowledge and skills in a project/facilities management team responsible for Department for Work and Pensions’ real estate as its Health and Safety and Planning Supervisor Manager. Since then, I have been both Director and Lead for Construction Design and Management for SHEQ (safety, health, environment and quality), or for Design Risk Management for various companies and projects.

Q What are the current challenges of your role?

Most roles have involved trying to educate and convince clients, and their project and design teams, to integrate health and safety in procurement with quality and sustainability.

Q What question do you get asked most often?

Particularly during training courses, designers and contractors often ask what they need to do to demonstrate compliance; I’d say it’s about getting the basics right. The principles of construction design management regulations are about getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

Q What inspires you?

To try and educate and support professionals to realise integrating health and safety early can help prevent accidents, incidents and any risk of prosecutions, disputes and delays with unnecessary additional costs. I want to try and make a difference where I have a presence.

For example, earlier this year I was in Hong Kong to support the Hong Kong Construction Industry Council with the delivery of the design for safety masterclasses. I was delighted to meet the CABE Hong Kong Chapter Chair Kyran Sze at a networking event. The event itself was a great opportunity to learn and share with professionals there and discuss how collaborative working was being adopted by clients, developers, designers and consultancies in Hong Kong.

Q What is the biggest challenge facing the profession, in your opinion?

One of the many challenges is sufficient competent resources – for example, getting new people to join the industry and getting existing people, who are very experienced, to stay in the industry.

Q What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

To try to choose an engineering profession where the universities have a strong engagement and links with the industry and companies. This will bring relevant practical experience in addition to the theory and qualification.

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