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Meet The Team – Kurt Annand

We caught up with structural engineer Kurt Annand to find out a little bit more about his love of engineering, cheesy movies and what inspired him to take his love of problem-solving and turn it into a career in engineering.

Why did you become an engineer?

At school, I always loved drawing, graphics and physics, and when I left, I became a drafter.

And from there, I started to work on more and more interesting projects, so the move to engineering was a natural one, and I started a part-time degree while working in my full-time role.

What do you love about engineering?

Which engineer doesn’t love problem-solving? As well as that, I have always loved buildings, how they are connected, fit together and the devil that is in the detail of any design. Being a structural engineer lets me work in an area which I enjoy and am passionate about.

What are you working on at the moment?

Mainly the structural work on our mid-rise projects; Kittyhawk Drive, a nine-storey development that has posed many of the challenges I love (read the project blog) and two more three-storey developments in Hawthorne.

But perhaps the most interesting of all is a Mother Duck Child Care Centre in the Ripley Valley. The centre is aiming to be Australia’s first childcare facility that meets the criteria for Australia’s Living Building Challenge. The whole concept is that a building should be a net contributor to the environment and as well as being a great initiative, its fun to work on as an engineer, as every material, design decision and construction methodology has to be as low impact as possible while still working commercially.

And looking at the designs, its also going to be a great place for kids to learn and play – lots of green space, natural materials and a centre that wants to be a beneficial part of its local community and to the wider sustainability movement.

I’m also working on an extension to Stafford Bowls Club, which will see the construction of a new dining area and bar. It is a great project because we’ve lost a lot of local clubs over the years and it is great to see a part of the local community modernising and investing in its future.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

Becoming an engineer and doing it part-time. I think a lot of people underestimate the work involved in studying for a degree and working full time. It was tough but well worth it in the end.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

This is a tough one. The Rocket at Robina was an amazing project and one that was a challenge. I was a drafter when I worked on this one, and it was the project that gave me my push to becoming an engineer.

I also really enjoyed my time working on the new $500 million shopping centre at Coomera. It was a long journey through the planning phase and it went through a few iterations in concept, so to be able to stay on a project and see it through to completion was very rewarding.

And maybe the strangest and most challenging was a food processing centre at Wacol which had to consist of totally isolated sections to prevent the risk of contamination. It meant that employees entered the building through the rooftop and walked down into their closed in sections and structurally it took a lot of work to be able to ensure easy connections and access without providing too much access!

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?

Communication, learning to pick up the phone and have a conversation rather than sending another 50 emails back and forth. The best projects are delivered when there is easy communication between each part of the team, and it never works well with email alone; I’d much rather make a quick call and talk things through, it is far more productive and effective.

What would your last meal be?

Pepperoni pizza and a beer.

What’s the last movie you watched?

Gone in 60 Seconds – You can’t beat a bit of cheese, cool cars and good music.

Who’s the greatest engineer of all time and why?

I can’t give this accolade to a person, more a group of people; The Romans. When you consider what they engineered with the technology that they had at the time it is an amazing feat for so much of their building to be around today. Roads, bridges, walls, amphitheatres, temples and more, many of which are in use today, are over 2,000 years old.

They engineered things perfectly. And yes; Rome and a tour of Italy are on the bucket list.