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UEL engineering students win top prize in national competition

civil engineering

Duo takes top prize over Imperial College for design of office building

A team of University of East London (UEL) postgraduate structural engineering students have won a prestigious national competition.

Saiman Shrestha (pictured second from left) and Nathan Parker (third from left) took first prize in an annual student competition sponsored by engineering firm Laing O'Rourke and organised by concrete advocacy group The Concrete Centre. 

Imperial College London was awarded second place. 

It is the second time in three years that UEL has won the competition.

Teams from universities across the UK were asked by The Concrete Centre to design an office building with a basement car park for a city centre in northwest England.

Saiman and Nathan impressed the judges with an entry which the judges described as innovative and possessing a good construction sequence. The design was also praised for having a good sustainability strategy which included a green roof, solar power and waterproofing.

Saiman said, “I did my undergraduate degree in engineering at UEL, which brought me into contact with architectural and sustainability perspectives. These continued as part of the master's degree. Bringing those related fields of expertise together has been useful for those of us studying engineering.”

Jenny Burridge, head of structural engineering at The Concrete Centre and a judge in the competition, said, “The project this year was a fairly straightforward office building, but the elliptical shape meant there were some interesting problems for the students to tackle. The other challenge was to fit a number of car parking spaces in the basement.”

The UEL team were announced as the winners at a ceremony on 5 September. The prize included a £750 cheque.

Saiman currently works as a site engineer on Crossrail, a major railway line that will soon connect Essex, London and Reading. He said he planned to use his prize money to celebrate turning in his master's thesis.

Saiman said, "Fingers crossed, I’d like to do a PhD within a few years."