January 14, 2022

An Interview with David Major

An Interview with David Major

A little bit about Expanded

Expanded Geotechnical offers foundation solutions expertise across the UK. These capabilities include piling, diaphragm walling, marine piling, plunge columns, secant and contiguous retaining walls. We have a rich history of geotechnical experience and knowledge. Our piling and deep drilling ability stretches back to 1825.

In order to deliver our works we are supported by Select Plant, who have one of the youngest piling fleets in the UK. This provides us with unrivalled speed and flexibility in the purchase or disposal of plant. Maintaining our fleet and keeping our operatives safe is at the core of our business, we go above and beyond to keep our rigs operational; we carry out frequent checks on all components and have standby fitters on hand to support. We will only operate to the highest health and safety standards; fitting hose socks and access walkways to all rigs, clearing concrete lines using grout and installing sheaths to hydraulic hoses.

How does your organisation help the construction industry?

Our company are one of the major Piling contractors within the UK, offering a wide range of geotechnical solutions to our clients in various ground conditions. We can operate as both a subcontractor or as a principal contractor where we can offer attendance items through our relationship with other Laing O’Rourke business units.

Primarily we offer rotary bored and continuous flight auger piling for both bearing piles and to form retained walls. These products form the foundations for residential, commercial, marine, rail and infrastructure projects across the UK. Some of the projects we have successfully delivered include; Northern Line Extension, Thames Tideway Central section, Canary Wharf Crossrail station box, Edinburgh St James, Southbank Place and currently on Everton’s new football stadium.

How does your role within the organisation help the industry?

My role within Expanded is to undertaking the estimating at the preconstruction phase of a project, to help inform clients of price & programme for undertaking a scope of works. I’m also part of the team who engages with potential clients and provides early advice to stakeholders through business development.

In recent years I have formed an Early Career group within the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) to support early talent within our piling industry to aid their career development and to network with likeminded individuals across the industry. This work was recognised at the 2021 FPS awards where I was presented with the Chair Award, one of the proudest moments in my career to date.

What are the most positive things about working in your organisation?

The reasons I enjoy working within Expanded is that you feel truly supported by the team and management. They have created a culture in which individuals can grow and are encouraged to challenge solutions to ensure we offer the best possible outcome to our clients. The company is forward thinking with its approach to the use of the digital tools and is at the forefront of driving development in sustainability.

Tell us about your first day at your organisation.

I still remember it as was one of the few occasions I wore a tie for work. 8th April 2013, as a fresh faced 23yr old I remember driving up to the European headquarters having never been to corporate offices like these before and just feeling excited and nervous about the challenge ahead. Once inside was welcomed warmly by all and have never looked back.

How did you get into the construction industry?

From an early age I was always interested by construction and building things, probably coming from my love of lego growing up. This passion followed me through school & college and into my choice of studying civil engineering at the University of Bolton. Following completing my studies at University, I took a phone call from a friend who said there was a job interview with a piling contractor in Watford. Knowing nothing about piling and being prepared to relocate from Norfolk I went to the interview and 11 yrs later never look back. It shows that the connections we make through our life can open some great opportunities as at the time I was struggling to get noticed myself so will always value that first job.

What has the industry taught you?

That hard work and the desire to continually learn to push yourself will be rewarded. It’s a fantastic industry to be part of and one where you everyday get to challenge yourself and really feel you make a difference.

Did you have a mentor? What did you learn?

So throughout my working life I’ve had people who have influenced me and who have provided me with advice. Some of the best advice I’ve learnt is “always make sure you ask the right question to the right person”, “listen to people and make their opinions feel valued” and “when mistakes happen, own them and work on a solution”.

What three things would you tell your younger self?

  • Do not feel disappointed if the path you expect to take is different to the one you end up on
  • Always be prepared to put yourself out there and to go that extra mile
  • Have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve from your career

What can you see for the future of the building industry?

I personally see the future being about creating an inclusion culture for all to feel accepted and to welcomed within. On the practical side, I see even more use of digital platforms with an emphasis on undertaking tasks differently to how they are now. This changing approach to how we undertake work will hopefully attract new talent into our industry, and thought mentoring schemes this talent will be able to grow.

David Major

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David Major

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