Meet the women at BAM making a real impact

Meet Hollie Hood, a Principal Geotechnical Engineer at BAM who worked on nationally significant projects like Hinkley Point C - set to provide zero-carbon electricity for around six million UK homes - and who fell into engineering by mistake after entering the wrong room at Uni on her first day.


What are your proudest moments at BAM?

I’m really proud to be a part of the team that delivered some very specialist grouting works in the marine tunnels at Hinkley Point C. It’s a significant project as it will safeguard our future energy supply and support our transition to Net Zero, a journey BAM is deeply committed to.

The project itself was in a very challenging location, causing huge challenges for the overall delivery. So for the project to be successfully delivered and then also shortlisted for the Fleming Award 2023 was a very proud moment of what we’d achieved as a team. It really couldn’t have been accomplished without some phenomenal collaboration and teamwork.


What big challenges have you had to overcome as an engineer? 

Getting used to the rapid change of pace on different projects and how to prioritise efficiently. We work on a huge range of project sizes, durations and scope – so you can be working on a week-long intense railway blockade that evolves by the minute, and then within the same month be liaising with a designer and preparing paperwork for a new project, which hasn’t started yet. It took a bit of getting used to, but that is what makes the role interesting and exciting.


What attracted you to engineering?

I fell into it by mistake on my induction day at university when I went to the wrong room and then decided to transfer over to the engineering course. Engineering Geology & Geotechnics sounded a lot more interesting than Geohazards! I was lucky to get a placement with BAM Ritchies through the university bursary scheme and I really enjoyed the challenges that come with contracting. In particular trying to figure out how to deliver works in restricted access locations, or within a certain timeframe. You always learn on the job as well. Really tricky projects usually lead to new ways of doing things. Being part of BAM is really exciting because we have a really dynamic team who are always thinking outside the box. Making it a great environment to work in.


What’s your advice for any women wanting to go into engineering?

Embrace the challenge! That applies to anyone who may be in a minority group or isn’t sure if construction is the industry for them. A diverse team nurtures innovation; whether this is finding safer methods, faster ways of working, or more sustainable options to complete projects. The more diversity within our teams the more successful we’ll be as a business and as an industry.


What are your favourite projects that you worked on?

Lovers Walk in Brighton – a rope access project on a 20m high vertical chalk cliff with failing spray concrete facing. My priority on this project was to undertake inspections, compile digital records and surveys for presentation to the designer, and establishing methods to collect vast amounts of data most efficiently.

Bearsted blockade - a nine day blockade on the railway to drill just under 7km – quite a significant challenge. We had eight rigs working day and night and because there’s no margin for error or delays, it was really fast-paced and a lot of collaboration to get it finished in time. We actually ended up drilling an extra 600m above the planned amount so a fantastic result for both us and the client.