Andy led the Lanes emergency team, working on behalf of Thames Water, that first responded to the discovery of the Islington concreteberg.
CCTV drainage engineer Brian Macallister really enjoys his job. He is also happy that people seem to enjoy watching him do it.
Brian has worked for drainage specialist Lanes Group for nine years and in that time many people have taken an interest in what he is doing.
“CCTV drainage surveying isn’t new, but people still find it fascinating to see how it’s done,” he says. “I often get people asking questions about our work.
“It’s the same if I’m on a large construction site doing a big CCTV survey or at a private home helping locate a drain blockage.
"When I arrived, people think I have a normal works van, not one full of state-of-the art technology that includes robots and CAD-enabled computers.”
Using some fancy kit helps. Brian is trained and qualified to operate two remote-controlled robotic crawler CCTV cameras – one small, one large.
They each have an HD-quality video camera, powerful LED lights plus articulating arms and rotating camera heads that can peer into every nook and cranny in an underground drain or sewer.
Brain, aged 39, is based at the Lanes depot in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has been a CCTV drainage engineer for 15 years.
That includes the CCTV camera technology and its advanced software.
It allows Brian to quickly prepare drainage survey reports, presenting system maps and data in the most effective way possible for clients.
He says: “When I first started, before Lanes, you had to hand-draw some diagrams, and report writing took a long time. The software Lanes has now makes our job much easier and more rewarding.”
What Brian likes most about being a CCTV drainage engineer is the variety in the work. “Every job is different, and every day is a new start,” he says.
As a CCTV drainage engineer, Brian is in charge on sites where he works with colleagues, because he has sight of what is happening underground.
But primarily, it is about working well together as a team to do an important job.
On construction sites, for example, work cannot progress until drainage surveys have been completed, so civil and structural engineers know what pipework may be beneath their feet.
Being a CCTV drainage engineer is ideal for people who want to combine technincal and practical skills with a strong sense of purpose, says Brian.
“You get to use some smart equipment and software, you have to work through practical challenges that change at every new worksite.
“And you get to work in a team to solve real problems that make people genuinely grateful that you were there for them.”
You also get to meet people who are, for a moment, just as interested in your job as you are.