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Incorporated Engineer (IEng)

Gabriela Balas IEng MIET

Published: 02/02/2023

Gabriela BalasEducation and qualifications:
BEng Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Technical University, Romania

Job title:
Senior Engineer


What inspired you to become an engineer or pointed you towards an engineering career?
I wanted to become an engineer since I was a child - spending a lot of time with my father taught me how to use tools safely and I was very curious about how electricity works. My aunt also inspired me to become an engineer, so after studying Computer Science at High School I decided to go to a technical university. At university I enjoyed using Autodesk software to produce drawings of both electrical motors and buildings, but also found it interesting to go on site and see the project brought to life. By the time I had completed my degree in electrical engineering I knew I wanted to start my career in building services where I could do both design and on-site work.

Please describe your role or position within your workplace.
In my current role, as Senior Engineer within CBRE, I am working with a vibrant, diverse team, managing projects and resources. Apart from designing electrical services, I also get involved in the commercial side by providing fee proposals and discussions with potential clients. My duties include agreeing project deliverables with project managers, carrying out detailed design, writing reports, planning the delivery of projects and monitoring progress on-site, as well as attending internal, client and site meetings.

At CBRE, I also get involved in the Next Generation board, attend meetings and discuss possibilities for how the company can attract young talent and help graduates with achieving professional registration.

I really enjoy giving back to the community and volunteering is part of my day-to-day activity. After I achieved Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status, I registered as a Professional Registration Advisor and recently I have become a mentor within CBRE.

Can you describe a typical working day?
I would say that no two days are the same, as every day I face new challenges. My typical working day consists of team meetings, internal and external conversations, and client discussions as I believe communication is important in delivering a great project. I also undertake technical due diligence surveys or pre-planned maintenance surveys and provide technical advice for different sustainability queries.

Are there any particular challenges or unusual aspects to your role?
Working on a variety of projects makes my work interesting and challenging as every project has something different and I get to learn something every day. One of the main challenges I face is to balance the multitude of accreditations including NABERS (energy efficiency), WiredScore (digital connectivity), BREEAM (sustainability) and WELL (health and wellbeing), while integrating fast-changing technology and systems.

I am proud to be able to add different landmark projects and refurbishment developments - which are more challenging - to my portfolio.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job?
I enjoy bringing buildings to life. It is satisfying seeing a successful scheme that can enhance productivity, improve wellbeing, and can enhance the built environment. Being an electrical engineer helps me appreciate how important a good lighting design or a well-coordinated system is. I also enjoy meeting and working with different people and learning from other engineers.

The thought of building for the future, working on developments - homes, places to work or to relax - which will be there for many years to come, makes me feel proud to be an engineer.

Is there a great professional achievement or high-profile accomplishment that you would like to tell us about?
I have been working on my professional registration application and I was thrilled to achieve IEng status few years ago. I am currently working on my Chartered Engineer (CEng) application and looking to achieve this next step in 2023.

What contributed to your decision to become professionally registered?
Professional registration has a great value for me as it is a recognition of my professionalism and hard work, demonstrating that I have reached a standard acknowledged by my peers. I wanted to go to the next step of my career ladder and IEng status was a step closer to achieving CEng status, which is my main goal.

In what ways has registration benefitted your career?
Professional registration has opened the door to a wider engineering community and I am glad to be part of it.

How does your employer benefit from your professional registration?
Professional registration is a recognition of professionalism and gives confidence that the people working within the organisation are competent engineers.

The skills and competences gained while working towards professional registration are of great benefit to myself and my employer. As a professionally registered engineer I have to continue my own development through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and research, so my employer can be assured that I keep up to date with fast-moving technology.

Is there any advice you would pass on to someone considering professional registration?
I would say it’s never too late and there’s no better time than now to achieve your goals. Professional registration not only offers confidence and professional recognition, but it also makes you feel accomplished.

Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time or what are your future ambitions?
Gaining professional registration as a CEng will be recognition of my engineering achievements. I am currently working on my application, and I am grateful to be part of a company and team that supports young professionals to achieve professional registration.

I do see myself moving up the career ladder and achieving CEng will open the door to the next level for me.

Outside work, is there any activity you enjoy doing in your spare time that relates to engineering? For example, do you participate in mentoring, volunteering or membership of other engineering groups?
Whenever I have free time I like to volunteer and help people with their professional registration. I am Secretary for The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Young Professionals Manchester group and apart from my secretarial role I organise events and CPD for members and non-members of IET.