APPEG Group Photo outside Houses of Parliament

WCSIM Group to All-Party Parliamentary Engineering Group in House of Lords

On Wednesday 22 February, Liveryman Ian Gilbert, Freeman Edward Talboys and Apprentices Noa Barcons Daniels and Oliver Bridge were hosted by Professor The Lord Mair CBE at the All-Party Parliamentary Engineering Group (APPEG) discussion and lunch in the House of Lords. The discussion for this event was around ‘Skyscrapers’, where there were short presentations from Professor Hanif Kara OBE and Marta Galinanes-Garcia, both from AKT II, and Natasha Bellamy from Laing O’Rourke.

Figure 1  Professor The Lord Mair CBE welcoming everyone to the meal

Professor Hanif started by explaining a little bit about the need for skyscrapers and a brief history as to how we’ve got to the ‘modern’ skyscraper. He then went on to explain various examples that his company has worked on, describing the challenges on building skyscrapers in central London (giving two examples one in Canary Wharf, One Park Drive and one in Elephant and Castle, Highpoint) and in the developing world, where AKT II are working on the Central Bank of Iraq in Baghdad.

Natasha Bellamy then spoke of her experiences working within civil engineering where she has worked on some of the most iconic buildings in London. Natasha spoke of the construction on the ‘Cheesegrater’ building (The Leadenhall Building) in the City, where 85% of the components for the building were prefabricated off-site and only assembled on site. This innovative method gave significant time and cost reductions in comparison to if the skyscraper was built in situ.

Marta Galinanes-Garcia wrapped up the presentations with an interesting talk on how AKT II are elongating the life of skyscrapers by retrofitting parts to existing skyscrapers. AKT II do this by utilising the existing core structure of the building, and then either by adding new floors on to the top of the building or simply by changing the façade, gives the building a new lease of life. This of course has significant environmental and cost benefits.

The floor was then opened for questions.

Overall, this was an absolute fascinating day out! As much I’d like to keep this a secret, it really is an unmissable opportunity for Apprentices in the Livery to network with top Engineers in their field, Lords, MPs and students alike – oh and also did I mention a free meal in the House of Lords overlooking the River Thames!!

Figure 2  WCSIM Group posing for a picture on the terrace outside the Cholmondeley Room. (L-R, Oliver Bridge, Noa Barcons Daniels, Ian Gilbert, Edward Talboys)

If you are an apprentice and would like to attend one of these in the future, please let Ian Gilbert ( know! The next event topic has yet to be announced but the preliminary date is Tuesday 9 May. More details on APPEG can be found here,


Edward Talboys (Freeman)