Contemplating Construction Differences

Contemplating Construction Differences

June 2, 2016

Authored by Ana Burgos, a civil engineer in the tunnels team in CH2M’s Essex, England office. In June, she will join the CH2M Foundation volunteer team in support of Bridges to Prosperity’s bridge build in La Brisa, Nicaragua.

I am trying to get ready to go build a footbridge in Nicaragua. And I say that I am trying not only because I usually leave everything to the last minute for my trips (and so far this is no exception), but because I find it hard to think of the working conditions we will find there.

The means we will have available in Nicaragua will be very different to the ones we have available in the UK. That will note a show stopper!

The means we will have available in Nicaragua will be very different to the ones we have available in the UK. That will note a show stopper!

Our departure is less than a month away. I know I have few things to get ready before that: right clothes to work in the sun, vaccines and malaria tablets, visa, all sorts of unguents and nets to avoid the famous zika… I am kind of getting frightened when the ones who are a bit more aware of what we are doing over there insist on us getting fit and ready for the heat. I want to think I am used to hot weather, 40 degrees Celsius in summer in my hometown is not that rare. But the humidity will certainly make a difference. But all this trying to get the right equipment and ready for the heat and a funny tummy, this is just a matter of not performing my and following the advice of the ones who have already been through this experience.


On the job site in the UK.

What is harder for me is trying to picture what the construction site will look like. We will carry our PPE so safety is not compromised, but the means available there will be far different from the ones I have worked with onsite here in the UK. That will be difficult and challenging, no doubt about it. The reinforcing steel will not be delivered bent to the required shape; will we have a rebar bender like the ones that we occasionally used on my site, or will we bend the rebar with scaffold tubes? We will not have a crane to erect the towers, as we would have in London. We will go back to basics, sheaves and ropes and 20 people working together to pull the steel frame up into position. These are just two things that come up to my mind, I wonder how many other little and not so little issues we will face, as in any other construction site. The difference will be how we will overcome those issues. We will not have all the commodities and means I had here; we will definitely have to use our imagination! In this sense I am 100 percent sure I will learn loads from both my more experience colleagues and the locals. I am also looking forward to the free life lessons that I will receive from the community. This might be the only thing I am ready for so far… I promise to get my act together in the next couple of weeks and get myself ready to give 100 percent in La Brisa!


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June 2016


  1. Siv

    Ana, do not forget to report your NCRs!

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