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Project risk engineering is not set in stone

Brigitte de Brabander , Risk Engineer

After obtaining her Master’s degree in Behavioural Economics and Game Theory, Brigitte decided that she wanted to work for a large, international contractor. “I don’t have a technical background but I think the construction industry is really cool. It’s fascinating to see new objects being built.” Brigitte decided to apply for a job with Van Oord. The fact that Van Oord is active in the Middle East was an added bonus for her: “Over the years I have gathered a genuine interest in the Arabic world through my studies and (family) visits to the region. It is exciting to be building with Van Oord in this part of the world”.

“We can avoid unexpected surprises by being aware of the risks and taking the necessary actions to eliminate or reduce those risks”

Delivering added value

In her job as a risk engineer for Van Oord, Brigitte is actively involved in the tendering process. “This is a relatively new position at Van Oord,” she says. “I work with four other colleagues in the Engineering & Estimating department and we are responsible for assessing the risks during the tendering process. These can be geological or environmental risks or risks associated with currency fluctuations or shipbuilding. A customer comes to us with a design and we, as tender team, review the entire project and make a risk assessment. Since I am not an expert in all disciplines, I consult my colleagues in other departments, such as planning, engineering, and legal or procurement.” Brigitte works at the head office in the Netherlands but regularly travels abroad for her job. “I was in Egypt recently where we are working on preparations for a underwater pipeline construction at a depth of 650 metres.  I flew to Cairo, followed by a four-hour car journey to Damietta to discuss the risks with the team concerned. During the same visit we visited a quarry in Suez which supplies the building materials for the project. My personal presence on site means that I can deliver added value. Part of the tendering process consists of theoretical evaluations or assumptions. By visiting the project site, we can see for ourselves what is happening, what needs to be done to mitigate risks and which issues could affect the smooth implementation of a project. We incorporate the lessons learned into our tenders and this is how we contribute to a successful project.” Brigitte stresses: “We can avoid unexpected surprises by being aware of the risks and taking the necessary actions to eliminate or reduce those risks”.

Not set in stone

Brigitte enjoys her job at Van Oord. “Van Oord is a professional and well-organized family business. You get a lot of opportunities if you are actively involved and know what you would like to achieve.  The lines of communication are short and the company is willing to listen. Currently I am doing a (industrywide) course on hydraulic engineering, as this is both something I am interested in and something that will improve the quality of my work. Project risk engineering is not set in stone. We are continuously thinking of ways to address the various risks. I am increasingly becoming involved with the tendering process and I see the added value of close cooperation with colleagues in the planning department. The fact that our work is also in the Middle East, makes it even more interesting for me.”

Engineering & TechnologyNormal