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David Watkins Ground beams Manager

Aarsleff Ground Engineering’s Ground Beam Manager David Watkins has been working for Aarsleff since September 2016. Within that year, David has been up to a lot. We spoke with David earlier this week as he settles into his new office in Tuxford, part of Centrum Pile’s new manufacturing facility in Tuxford, Nottinghamshire.

Hello, David. What do you think sets Aarsleff apart from its competitors within the ground engineering industry?

In relation to ground beams, we experience very close collaboration between the production, design, estimating and contracts teams, all within Aarsleff Ground Engineering. This puts us in a unique position where we can be in continuous discussions and conversations with our peers and also allows us to see each stage of work as it progresses in and around the business. We are a dedicated team giving our clients one point of contact from start to finish. I also think that a big part of what differentiates us from others is our “challenging the norm” culture – or to try to educate our client’s mindset away from being traditional ground workers pouring vast amounts of in-situ concrete into the ground creating waste and affecting the environment. Our Centrum Ground Beam system is a factory finished product, that requires no pile caps and has numerous off-site benefits due to the lack of wet process on site.

Describe a typical week at work for us

At least one day a week I will be out on site checking the quality of our product and the quality of our installation. I will be meeting clients both pre and post contract to ensure that a good working relationship is formed and maintained. Aside from managing my team and ensuring that they are supported and encouraged, I am also developing and training Conor Wareham – our new projects coordinator- who commenced his employment with us last month.

Your colleague Neil Humberstone has mentioned that “you have the ability to see the bigger picture of the team and its future potential”. What do you think it takes to be a good leader?

Personally, I think it’s a good idea to keep everyone in the team informed. I like to think that I am approachable too, and think if any of my team members were unsure, they can come to me for support or advice. Most importantly, a good leader should be able to trust their team members and give them responsibility. We should aim to get the best from our employees and as long as they are given the adequate support required for a job, they should whole heartedly run with it.

We saw that you invested in a Leica Total Systems kit for your ‘setting out’ team last year. How is that going?

The Lecia kit has been brilliant and we’ve had a good level of service from the company too. We have been able to vastly improve our ‘setting out’ efficiencies on site. The handheld controller also allows for 3D modelling on site which – aside from being the coolest gadget –  ensures millimetre accuracy.

What has been the biggest change for you during your time at Aarsleff Ground Engineering?

We have increased our in-house setting out, installation, design and engineering teams!

And finally David, how does the future look for the ground beams division?

The future is looking bright for the ground beams division, with over 30% more of linear metre ground beam expected to be installed in 2018. Now the ground beam division is all under one roof, we will be striving for continuous improvement and research into the product. One final thing, the NHBC has approved a design change in our Centrum Ground Beam product. I won’t give anything else away today, so you’re going to have to stay tuned!

Thanks David

For more information on our Centrum Ground Beam system, please contact Nathan Follows on 07917 891308  or email


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