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Life in the Budapest office

Life in the Budapest office Patrick Benfield

Patrick's caving trip in Budapest
Patrick's caving trip in Budapest Fun is always had on our team days.

"More than anything else, the biggest satisfaction, rests in developing ideas here in the 13th district of Budapest and seeing them applied to projects in different corners of the world."

Walking along the 13th district of Budapest, it’s difficult not to notice the many construction sites for shiny new offices and residential buildings popping up everywhere. Tucked among all of this is the Mott MacDonald office, right at the top floor of a modern, contemporary looking building.

If you’re in engineering you’ll be familiar with the work that goes on behind the scenes to provide society with its basic needs: electricity mains, running water, transport and so on. The average person hardly notices the work involved in preventing blackouts, providing tap water or reducing average commute times. Nor can they imagine how careers are developed from working in these sectors or how people enjoy their time in the process.

I do, and I believe there’s much more below the surface than just concrete and inert soil. Similarly, I’ve discovered that on the top floor of this building lies more than just another design office. We are a vibrant team of no more than 30 engineers providing geotechnical, tunnelling and structural design together with environmental services to other offices around the globe. On my first project, we partnered with the New York office. Due to the time zone difference, the overlap for collaborating was limited to our afternoons. Six months later, I started on another project in Singapore, this time six hours ahead of us. At that stage I had morning calls with Singapore and afternoon meetings with colleagues in the US. The combined project team only rested for two hours each day. Design calls involved engineers based in London, New York, Prague and sometimes even Vancouver. It’s really something to be part of a widespread team of engineers, each contributing different experiences to solve a joint challenge.

The company maintains a strong “can do” attitude towards resolving problems. If you have a good idea, they will help you make it happen. Not everything is always possible, but if I look back at my experience I am very grateful for the opportunities provided. When in 2016 I requested to be placed as project manager, I was soon appointed on a major infrastructure project. Later in the same year, my other half transferred to Budapest, I requested to be transferred out here and by the beginning of last year, I started in the new office and still maintained my role as project manager. This open attitude applies to other aspects of the business as well, from engaging in volunteering for a local charity to organising a team visit to the caving system below the Buda hills (that’s me in the back of the picture).

More than anything else, the biggest satisfaction, rests in developing ideas here in the 13th district of Budapest and seeing them applied to projects in different corners of the world. By working closely with the details, the team here has a big opportunity to improve the design. We may not always have a direct link to the developer, but we are very close to the structural and geotechnical detail. We observe how the structure behaves under different scenarios, we know the options considered before the design is issued and the main factors affecting the final solution. Knowing that one day we’ll see the product of our work in a foreign country while understanding the design evolution, what influenced the development and how this structure has improved the livelihood of the people who use it every day, is a powerful motivator for the work we do today. It’s a privilege that we are proud to be part of.

Has Patrick tempted you to pursue a career in Budapest? If he has, then look no further. Apply for your perfect opportunity here

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