Q&A with Molly Kirven

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Name: Molly Kirven

Job title: Carbon Engineer

Company: Balfour Beatty

Can you provide an overview on your background, current role, and responsibilities?
My background studies lie in BSc (Hons) Geology and MSc Applied Petroleum Geoscience, whereby my thesis focused on renewable energy potential using carbon capture and storage and geothermal energy. From university, I transitioned straight into the construction industry at Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering. I began as a Contracts Engineer and transitioned to a Design Engineer, of which both roles predominantly focused on precast driven piling. Recently, I moved to Balfour Beatty Major Projects as a Carbon Engineer, whereby I work on carbon estimating for tenders, and give project delivery teams support with reporting carbon actual data.

What attracted you into the industry?
I am fascinated with the different tools and mechanisms we can use to work with the ground and construct infrastructural creations with rapid impact. Construction yields tangible results quickly, allowing you to see your work take shape right before your eyes. The construction and engineering industry provides great opportunities to be involved in various projects of different scales. Whether it’s creating sustainable buildings, enhancing communities, or improving infrastructure, all of these play a role in shaping our society and environment.

Can you talk us through your poster design and why you decided to focus on carbon and piling?
Piling has been a large focus in my career journey, and a discipline where I have been able to proactively support sustainability trials and changes, showcased on the poster. These include aiding in creating the sustainability action plan for Balfour Beatty Ground Engineering, analysing pile wastage on precast driven piling projects, and comparing timber vs plastic packing choices. Carbon can act as a measurable tool to visualise the emissions we produce through a whole project lifecycle. It can demonstrate the impact we have and is a key metric for how sustainability can be measured.

Why are you passionate about sustainability?
In my perspective, sustainability embodies positive change for our communities and environment. I am passionate about sustainability as it provides an opportunity to enhance our past and current practices to alternatives which could have a better global impact for future generations.

What would you like to see being done to improve sustainability in the sector?
It would be great to see the industry striving for accurate carbon reporting through a whole project life cycle to understand how we can choose the best options on a per project basis. Through understanding carbon hotspots, and evaluating the best options per project, the most optimum safety, design, engineering, cost, and carbon choices can be made.

How did you find the AGS Annual Conference?
The conference was amazing! It was great to see the theme of sustainability interwoven throughout the day event. I particularly enjoyed the presentations discussing:

    • Carbon calculators and a case study for piling
    • Sustainable finance and pensions
    • Sustainable earthworks practice on major civil engineering projects

All presentations provided ways in which we are and can embody sustainability into the work we do.

What advice would you give to other Early careers professionals?
Where you can be proactive, go for it! There are so many opportunities out there that aid in your growth as an early careers professional, and simultaneously expands your network with individuals you may not usually meet in your day to day role.