Saturday 14th August 2021 – Vol 001 Edition 00007
By Jim Campbell
Irish Water (Uisce Éireann) is a water utility in Ireland. The Government of Ireland created the company through the Water Services Act (2013), which formally created Irish Water as a subsidiary of Bord Gáis to provide “safe, clean and affordable water and wastewater services” to water users in Ireland. The local authorities previously provided water and wastewater services in Ireland.
Edition Seven of our series is ‘A Day in the Life of Resident Engineer Keith Brazzill.’ A ‘Resident Engineer’ is a specific construction occupation. It often describes an engineer employed to work from the site for the client or the design engineer. The duties include supervising and issuing instructions to the contractor and regularly reporting to the designer or client.
“I have always loved construction”
From a young age, Keith Brazzill always had a passion for construction. “I have always loved construction, it’s always something about looking at buildings and how they’re put up — even the stuff that you don’t see, ie.what’s in the ground. Infrastructure has always interested me. Civil Engineering is everywhere around you, our car parks, buildings, and bridges.”
Before 2012, Keith worked on construction sites as a Tower Crane Operator. He decided to go to college as a mature student. In 2012, Keith attended Waterford Institute of Technology, graduating with a Civil Engineering degree following his three-year studies. He progressed his studies further and in 2017 graduated with an Honours Degree in ‘Sustainable Civil Engineering’.
Keith is currently working on the ‘Leakage Reduction Programme’ with Irish Water
Keith is currently working on the ‘Leakage Reduction Programme’ with Irish Water covering Wicklow and the Wexford area, designed to get the country’s leakage rate down as low as possible. I enjoyed accompanying the engineer on his day at work on-site in Bray and Delgany to see at first-hand what Keith, Irish Water, and its contractors do.
The engineer’s week’s work is pre-planned from the previous week. Depending on when the Resident Engineer is due on-site, he would generally commence his day by checking the emails he has received, correspondence from either his contractor, Irish Water, local authorities, or government officials. Checking the mail is essential as he needs to know any issues or queries that have arisen.
“I play a small part in a big plan”
I accompanied Keith to two sites, one in Bray and the other in Delgany. I decided to stand back and observe how the engineer was conducting his work. He was very much engaged in conversations with officials and workers on the site. He was checking every detail and activity on-site.
The Resident Engineer’s role is to make sure that the safety on site is adhered to with no risk to the environment from the works; supervise and check the standard of the work as set out by Irish Water, and to minimise any threat to the people on-site and to the environment. “Regional Contractors do a great job, but I must be there to do spot checks to ensure that these standards are upheld and maintained; sign- off on certain stages of the work, and process work orders.” No two days are the same for the Regional Engineer. Keith paid tribute to the workers on-site. “I play a small part, and it is the workers on the site that do all the work. I play a small part in a big plan.”
“We all take guidance and work together”
Keith enjoys many factors about his work: the responsibility – having the responsibility to oversee work, supervise and manage. No two days are the same, “no plan survives first contact”, an army quote from Keith. He loves the idea of solving problems or issues. “We all take guidance and work together….. Meeting people, part of my job is meeting stakeholders such as the Regional Contractor. I would also have to deal with customers, homeowners, politicians, and local authorities, to make sure everyone is happy with what Irish Water is doing.”.
The resident engineer’s advice to people who are interested in pursuing a career in Civil Engineering would be, “First of all, when you come out of college, you won’t know everything. You only start learning once you leave college. Getting a degree will get your foot in the door with companies. Once you’re in the door with the company, you will start to learn as an Engineer – what’s right and what’s wrong, what is acceptable, and what’s not. Build up a good reputation and show that your work is good.” He expressed the importance of doing things by the book, no cutting corners. “Cutting corners suit some people, but it does not suit Engineers. “You are only as good as your last job. Do what you do and do it right, be able to stand over that job.”
Irish Water’s Mission
All our customers should receive a safe and reliable supply of drinking water and have their wastewater collected and safely returned to the Environment. We will protect the environment in all our activities and support Ireland’s social and economic growth through appropriate investment in Water Services.
Author’s Comment: “What I love about Keith’s story is ambition. I love the word ‘ambition.’ Here is a guy who returned to college as a mature student to qualify to do a job that he is passionate about doing. I, myself, returned to college back in 1995 to study Photography. I would say to people unhappy about their daily work – ‘If you don’t like it, change it’. Do a job that you are happy to wake up to on a Monday morning. There’s a lot to be said for that.
My sincere thanks to Resident Engineer Keith Brazzill, Richard O’Headhra (Irish Water), Rev Conor O’Reilly and the on-site workers in Bray and Delgany for their contribution to this blog. Very much appreciated.
All Images and Original Text © All Rights Reserved – Jim Campbell 2021
About the author
Jim Campbell is an Irish photographer, freelancer and photojournalist. Campbell has being contemporary photographer for more than two decades.
A native of Wexford town in the south-east of Ireland, Campbell studied photography in the Dublin Institute of Technology before going to work with a newspaper.
Since 1998 he has been working with local and national papers in Ireland and the UK. His work has appeared in publications globally including newspapers, magazines and online publications.
In 2013 Campbell made his first of what would become many trips to the conflict areas of the world. To observe more on Jim’s work vist the link to his website below.