Meet your BDA…

Spotlight on…

July 6, 2021

… Mark Toye, the British Drilling Association’s Chair of the Technical & Standards Sub-committee.

Mark is a Geology graduate with an MSc. in Engineering Geology. With nearly 25 years direct industry experience, with two of the giants of the UK ground investigation (GI) world, Norwest Holst Soil Engineering (now Soil Engineering Geoservices Ltd) and Soil Mechanics (now SOCOTEC UK Ltd) he is certainly experienced. Latterly, Mark has focused on a more commercial role within the GI sector, but still with a high level of technical compliance input into the day-to-day operations through the tenders that he is responsible for. He is also a Chartered Geologist and RoGEP certified.

During his formative years in the industry Mark has always drawn on the practical experience gained as a site engineer under the mentorship of some of the industries’ real unsung heroes, such as Philip Kirkpatrick, Bill Sloan, and Pat O’Sullivan. He even cites learning the “Dark Arts” of estimating from Ray Nix and Peter Redford.

Mark is passionate about solving client’s problems, rising to the challenge of finding ways to deliver schemes others often reject as either too difficult or simply too big, while at the same time providing the necessary design information to let schemes progress successfully.

As Estimating Director at SOCOTEC UK, Mark is currently responsible for successfully securing more than £40m pounds worth of GI work annually, but he is keen to stress that it’s not something that’s done single-handedly, but with a team effort from the Estimators, Bid Manager, Business Development team and the sales support staff.

Mark has concerns that many of the government funded GI schemes rely too heavily on “procurement professionals” when making award decisions, which may be a good starting point but with not enough credit or credence given to the actual technical capability. He believes this has and continues to stifle improvements within the industry, as far too often the award decision is based purely on the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT), which while keeping initial budgets down generally, does not work out for the best in the long run.

Mark has been Chair of the BDA T&S committee since its inception in 2017, and until this year sat on the main committee as a co-opted member but was successfully elected in 2021 as a member of the BDA Main Committee in his own right. Mark represents the BDA on the BSI committee B/526/3 Ground Investigation and Ground Testing, together with other working groups such as the Federation of Piling Specialists (FPS) Technical Committee and various Highway England ‘Raising the Bar’ groups.

In his present BDA role, Mark would like to see the BDA promoting a more technically compliant offering to clients, with an increasing technical element to the recently externally certificated BDA Drillers audit, and it looks like things are moving in the right direction!

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