National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Alex Keates

NWED - 23 JuneAlex Keats

Today we talk to Alex Keates, whose passion for machinery and how things are made drew her to engineering.

Since having studied in Bogotá (Colombia) and London (UK), her career path has led her to work as an Engineer for Hoare Lea in London.

Amongst other projects, she has been involved with an extensive property portfolio across Europe (shopping centres, hotels, etc.).

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

The Heron, also known as Milton Court, is a 36 storey 112m / 367 ft tall residential skyscraper in London. The building was developed by Heron International

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Analytical skills, different approaches to solve issues, and interpersonal skills.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Be open minded but stick to the facts, ask many questions, believe in yourself and persevere.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Travelling, scuba diving, dancing and cooking.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

Trying to explain a complicated technical issue to a client using a cooking / food analogy. The client had no idea of either, but was very interested, so I ended up explaining both topics, using my drawing and colouring in skills.

Anything you’d like to add?

We, men and women, need to be aware of our own strengths, abilities and limitations in order to complement and help each other out in all aspects of life.

Posted in Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Elisa Bruno

NWED - 23 June

Elisa Bruno

Elisa Bruno’s passion for problem solving lead her to study for her MEng in Building Engineering and Architecture at the University of Catania (Italy), and for her MSc in Sustainable Construction Processes at the University IUAV of Venice (Italy).

She subsequently joined hurleypalmerflatt in July 2014, where she currently works in their London office as a Graduate Energy and Sustainability Consultant.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with?

I had a hand in the Al Faisaliah retail mall refurbishment, a major scheme in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In fact, it’s currently the 3rd tallest building in Saudi Arabia.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

After the Al Faisaliah, the tallest building I’ve been involved with was Swan Heights, Reading (UK) – a development which would have contained 352 apartments in three tower blocks of 28, 26 and 24 floors.

Are you a member of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES)?

Not yet, but willing to join soon!

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Intuition and a more holistic approach.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Go for it! Engineering is great and you really feel you have the opportunity to make a difference in the real world!

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

I love travelling around the world, reading books and hanging out with friends!

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

That’s highly confidential, I’m afraid! :-)


Posted in Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Alexandra Vella

NWED - 23 June

Alexandra Vella

Today’s spotlight is on Alexandra Vella, an Executive Engineer currently working for Hoare Lea in London.

It was her love of numbers/maths and physics and wanting to understand how things work which got her interested in engineering and led her to a career in Building Services.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

I have been privileged to work on several landmark buildings, but the best was a grade 2* listed theatre in East London because the challenges were huge and it was so satisfying to see the final building in operation.

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

Falcon Wharf – a 19 floor landmark development, mainly residential apartments with mixed use, on the banks of the River Thames in London, adjacent to a heliport.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Softer skills, intuition and empathy, a different logic (although we can think logically like men we do it in a different way).

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

Engineering is a vast title which encompasses a massive variety of jobs. If you enjoy problem solving and working with numbers then you will find your niche in the engineering world. Lots of women are employed as engineers so you won’t be in a boy’s club.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Travel, socialising, rugby and volunteering.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

Space planning plant rooms using an A0 plan and cut-out plant shapes with blue tack on the back to figure out the plant arrangement!

Anything you’d like to add?

There is a big push for women to get involved in engineering which is a good thing, but I am concerned that this does not achieve what it set out to do, which is to encourage a better mix of men and women. I am involved with the IET women’s group and have many female friends in my company and industry who serve as sounding boards and role models. However, I would be keen to see more mixed events which are representative of the wider industry, just so women considering becoming engineers don’t get the wrong impression.

Posted in Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Amanda Stanley

NWED - 23 JuneAmanda Stanley

Amanda Stanley is a Senior Public Health Engineer for hurleypalmerflatt in London’s West End.

Back in her school years she loved Technical Drawing and then “just happened to fall into a job doing plumbing and not graphic design, but [she’s] not [looked] back since”!

She is now very well known and well respected in the industry.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

Marble Arch Place – mixed use development
18 storey luxury apartments
8 storey commercial offices
Ground and lower ground floor retail and building entrances
5 basement levels with cinema, residential amenities, FM amenities and Landlord areas including car parking

What’s the tallest building you’ve been involved with?

Principal Tower – 55 storeys above ground floor residential high rise in Principal Place, Shoreditch, London.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

Common sense/different way of thinking.

 Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

When you spend a quantity of time designing a project and seeing the development fully through to the final product is very rewarding.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Spending time with my family.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever done?

When I was on a Christmas party and the ‘gents’ all decided to get me drunk, but I was still standing whilst they were all still trying to find their feet after 14 rums, 2 vodkas, 4 red wines, 2 tequilas and 1 pint of shandy. Luckily I do not drink now!

Anything you’d like to add?

I know there is not another job I would love as much and each day is different with never the same problems, solutions etc.

I’ve been an engineer since I left school at 16 and 30 years later I would not change a thing. Well, maybe the time at college and paperwork!!! Just kidding.

I am currently looking into patenting a product I’ve developed, which is very exciting.

Posted in Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

National Women in Engineering Day Focus: Professor Lynne Jack

NWED - 23 JuneProfessor Lynne Jack

Professor Lynne Jack (Professor of Building Services Engineering) is Director of the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What got you interested in engineering?

I first became interested in engineering during my time at secondary school. I remember being intrigued by the concept of engineering principles applied to the development of renewable energy technologies. Studying for my undergraduate degree in Energy Engineering cemented my desire to work in the field, as I could see how the knowledge gained and skills learned could be applied to real-world challenges.

Where did you study?

I completed my first degree at Edinburgh Napier University in 1990, and my PhD at Heriot Watt University in 1997.

My first degree was in Energy Engineering and, after graduation, I worked as a Thermal Engineer on the cooling design of electronic circuit-boards. After spending some time working for a small engineering consultancy, I then joined Heriot-Watt University where I began my research career working in the area of water and drainage systems for buildings.

What’s the most notable project you’ve ever been involved with and why?

Almost every project is different so it’s always difficult identify the most notable. But those that have a tangible outcome or where academic impact on the sector can be demonstrated are usually the most noteworthy. Personally, I enjoy site monitoring or measuring data from experimental test-rigs, and using this to develop simulation models to predict system performance. Examples of notable site investigations include data gathered from social housing apartments in Scotland and from an experimental test tower in Taiwan.

Projects where we have collaborated with industry partners have also been hugely successful and, I believe, present the best opportunity for ensuring impact from academic research. Examples includes our very successful relationship with Studor, where we have, over an extended period of time, built increasingly sophisticated simulation models to predict the performance of systems and products for building drainage, and also the LUNA project work, where we are about to embark upon a study of the impact of water efficiency upon the viability of the loading units methodology to pipe and pump sizing for water supply systems in buildings.

What specific skills or attributes do you feel that women bring to engineering?

In my experience, the best engineers have demonstrated a genuine ‘can-do’ attitude, and have been open to team-working and interdisciplinary collaboration. The very nature of engineering challenges means that, oftentimes, the way to tackle a particular challenge, problem or design is not immediately obvious, but working together and being open to ideas will, more often than not, allow the team to reach the optimal solution.

Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women. What advice or thoughts can you give to women thinking of studying or training to become engineers?

My advice to those thinking of studying or training to become engineers is to remember that the rewards always outweigh the challenges! Study hard, work hard and try to look out for examples of good practice from people that you’d like to emulate. And try to think of yourself not as a female engineer but as good engineer, able to deliver to the highest standards of quality in response to the requirements of a job.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?

Married with two teenage sons, I dedicate most of my time outside work to my family. In rare moments to myself, I enjoy reading music, some cycling and am currently learning a new language (albeit rather slowly!)


Posted in Interviews | Tagged | Leave a comment

The UK’s National Women in Engineering Day: 23 June

shutterstock_93112609NWED - 23 June

Tomorrow is the UK’s National Women in Engineering Day (NWED), which was established by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) in 2014 to celebrate their 95th anniversary. As per the NWED website:

On 23 June 2014 WES wanted to focus attention on the great opportunities for women in engineering, at a time when it has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage. By encouraging girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enabling us to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector.

The idea behind National Women in Engineering Day is to encourage all groups (Governmental, educational, corporate, Professional Engineering Institutions, individuals and other organisations) to organise their own events in support of the day, and link them together for maximum impact through the use of the NWED logo, corresponding website, and supporting resources.

shutterstock_284883458What has been very evident from speaking with various female engineers in the lead-up to NWED is that although most acknowledge that women do bring a different skill set to engineering, they also recognise that these complement the skills brought to the industry by men. To quote one female engineer we spoke to:

“I’ve been in the building engineering industry for over 35 years – and the skill sets that women need to survive in this industry must be ‘inclusive’.  For instance, without the support of the men in my life, and in the workplace, I wouldn’t be where I am today… We should be all inclusive: male and female together – it is the skills that we have that should define us – not targets.”


Less than 10% of engineers in the UK are women, and it is hoped that by specifically promoting engineering to women that this will open up opportunities for more women to work alongside men to fill the engineering skills shortage.

To contribute to the programme of events being carried out by organisations across the UK, each day this week we will be publishing a short feature on different female engineers from the UK. We hope that you will find this interesting, inspiring and a little different!

More information on NWED and WES can be found on the respective websites.

Posted in Studor News, Uncategorised | Tagged | Leave a comment

Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems

Dr. Michael Gormley

Dr. Michael Gormley

Guest blog by Dr. Michael Gormley

Dr. Michael Gormley is a specialist in water supply and drainage as well as an electrical building services engineer. Here he shares with us here about his work on completing the book Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems, which is published by Routledge and is also available to purchase from Amazon:


The late Professor John Swaffield

The late Professor John Swaffield

John Swaffield was, without argument, one of the great academic stalwarts in the world of water supply and drainage for buildings for more than 40 years. Following his retirement as head of The School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University in 2008 and his Presidency of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineering (CIBSE) in 2009, John planned two books to cover the vast amount of research he had led in his career spanning  over 40 years in academia and working with industry. The first of these books: Transient Airflows in Building Drainage Systems was published in 2010. In this celebrated book he dealt with the mechanisms of air pressure transient generation, suppression and modelling in buildings, effectively collecting his work on this subject in a thoughtful and provocative way. Following on from this book, John set about work on his final book, a companion to the first; Transient Free Surface flows in Building Drainage Systems was set to complete his treatise on modelling and mechanisms of all flows in building drainage systems, and its contribution would be focussed on attenuating wave flows, solid transport and roof drainage, set in the context of climate change.  Sadly, John died before this work could be finished and published.


In late 2011 three of us at Heriot-Watt University – myself, Grant Wright and Ian McDougall – undertook the task of completing this work. John had completed about 40% at the time he passed away, however the task of piecing together the completed parts to make a coherent work was way beyond what we had expected. There were a number of challenges in completing this work. Firstly, trying to piece together the material John had left, particularly those parts which were half finished, presented a considerable challenge. The next big challenge was to try to maintain John’s voice throughout. While we had all been involved in the research being presented we were keen to make sure that john’s personality pervaded the text. The final challenge and, arguably the biggest one, was trying to remain faithful to John’s opinions. We were acutely aware that we weren’t just finishing a book, but producing a piece of work which was his legacy to this field of engineering.

TFSFIBDSThe book itself is a unique blend of engineering physics and practical application of free surface flow modelling, all placed in the context of climate change. Future challenges in this area of engineering design of systems to cope with changing loads, will strain outdated design procedures, as the industry attempts to cope with the dual opposing threats of ‘too much water’ from increased rainfall intensity and ‘too little water’ from reduced flow appliances and water conservation initiatives. The challenge has never been greater and current design methods are too rigid and abstract to fully deal with the vast range of possible scenarios. Transient free surface flows in building drainage systems  contains all the physics relating to free surface modelling, solid transport prediction, wave attenuation, rainwater modelling and whole system design to give the reader an opportunity to engage with the topic from an engineered design point of view. Practical case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of this method and shows how designs can be modified to improve system performance, even under extreme conditions.

In finishing this book we are more than aware that it is not exactly the way John would have done it. We hope that we have retained his voice throughout and that it is a befitting testimony to his legacy.

June 2015

Dr. Michael Gormley
Associate Professor
Architectural Engineering
Room 3.40 William Arrol Building, School of the Built Environment
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS
e:  t: + 44 (0) 131 451 8262

Posted in Guest Blogs | Leave a comment

Cost Savings and the Studor System

The Studor P.A.P.A. Drainage Ventilation Technology. Air Admittance Valves. Drainage Systems

The economies of the Studor System are well proven!

When  considering the features and benefits of the Studor System, you don’t necessarily have to focus on cost, as there are many benefits to highlight before price becomes part of the equation.

However, you know, and we know, that as the market has got tougher in recent years, price has become more important. With contractors often in control, specifications are often being switched to cut costs.

A solution for both medium and high rise buildings

The Studor System not only has many benefits when used in medium to high rise and high capacity buildings, but it is also very cost effective – a fact which has been proven by a number of independent cost comparisons, including the following (which can also be downloaded from our website):

Drainage Ventilation, Ford Field Stadium

Ford Field Stadium Detroit, USA. Stadium, comprising 1,830,0002 feet, including the renovation of an existing 9 storey warehouse building, where installing Studor AAVs made a saving of over US$ ¼ million on installation.

Hamilton Harbour Queensland, Australia. High rise apartment block of 22 storeys, where the SSPS was shown to be lower in cost compared to a Reduced Velocity Aerator Stack System (RVASS) and a traditional passive ventilated Fully Vented Modified Stack System (FVMSS): 17.5% lower than RVASS; and over 6.0% lower than FVMSS.

Drainage Ventilation, Hamilton Harbour

High-rise vent system USA. 10 storey residential building with 45 units, where the total savings of the installed cost of the venting system with AAVs was greater than 39%, whereas the total savings of the installed cost of the venting system with both AAVs and P.A.P.A.s, i.e. the Studor SSPS, was greater than 70%.

Low rise residential dwelling USA. Three design layouts for low rise dwelling units, each complying with one of the three models of US plumbing codes (BOCA, SBCCI and IAPMO), whereby utilising the Mini-Vent and Maxi-Vent, the savings for each dwelling unit ranged from 47% to 54%, when compared to a system with the vents extending to the outdoors.

The Studor System – The Complete Drainage Solution

Comprising of the Studor P.A.P.A. and the Studor AAVs, the Studor System offers a great opportunity for cost saving, as well as being the complete solution for any drainage system.

For further information please refer to our Studor P.A.P.A. product page and /contact your local distributor.

Posted in Case Study, Problem Solving, Reference Project, Studor News | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Studor Celebrates 40 – What else happened 40 years ago?

Celebrating 40 Years of Studor – Since 1975

2015 is a wonderful milestone in our Studor history, being when Sture met Doris and STUDOR (STUre & DORis) was conceived, so we thought we would take the opportunity to cast our minds back to 1975 to see what else was happening in this year.

Here is 1975 in words and pictures…rubix_cube

  • The Rubik’s Cube was released in the shops – a 3D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik.
  • Microsoft was created – one of the true success stories of modern times, when Bill Gates and Paul Allen joined forces to create one of the greatest businesses of them all.
  • The Altair 8800, the first of the new hobby computers started to appear.220px-The_shining_heres_johnny
  • The movies “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Jaws” were released.
  • Apollo and Soyuz spacecraft took off for US-Soviet link-up in space (15 July).
  • Margaret Thatcher was the first woman elected to lead Britain’s Conservative Party.
  • Home videotape systems (VCRs) were introduced by Sony (Betamax) / Matsushita (VHS).
  • 8,000 ceramic warriors were discovered in China.launch of apollo-soyuz test project (MIX FILE)
  • The price of petrol increased by nearly 70% in one year.
  • Catalytic converters were introduced on cars.
  • The city of Saigon was surrendered and remaining Americans were evacuated, ending the Vietnam War (30 April).
  • In the UK inflation continued to spiral out of control, reaching 24.2%.
  • And in other pipe news..the Alaska pipeline construction began!


Posted in Studor News | Leave a comment

Nasty & Noisy No More

The Studor Trap-Vent Provides the Solution to a Nasty Smelling & Noisy Drainage System

Recently Mike Start from Dorset in the UK was experiencing nasty odours from the fixtures in his en-suite bathroom; the fixtures consisted of a wash basin, bath, shower and WC:

I had the drains cleaned, but the odour still persisted. It was suggested that the pipe system needed to be vented. I searched the internet for a solution and discovered the website. Not knowing which vent to buy and fit, I contacted the company and spoke to Tony Hill.

From my description of the gurgling noise, the odours coming from empty siphons and the multiple fixtures linked together, Tony assessed that the problem would be solved by installing a Studor Trap-Vent, which he advised is a siphon with an integrated Air Admittance Valve.

The Trap-Vent CompactHe explained that the Trap-Vent protects the water trap seals, reduces noise and provides sufficient airflow for group venting. After installation the odours have now completely disappeared and I wish to thank Tony for his prompt response and the professional service provided.

Having identified the Studor range of AAVs on their website, I have no reservation in recommending their excellent range, in particular the Studor Trap-Vent – in my book, the  solution to eliminate nasty smelling and noisy drainage systems.”

For further information on the Trap-Vent please visit our product page or contact us.

Trap-Vent Compact

The Trap-Vent Compact
Ideal for concealed locations

Trap-Vent Design

The Trap-Vent Design
Ideal for exposed locations



Posted in Problem Solving | Leave a comment