Robert Francis is a Chartered Civil Engineer, with a BSc degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from Cardiff University. Following on from his first degree in 1985, he was awarded a PhD degree for his experimental and numerical modeling work on the design development of composite elements. In addition to his time at Cardiff University, he has worked for local and international firms of Civil Engineering Consultants.
He has recently left Cardiff University to set up Carreg Las Ltd.
Over the past 16 years, whilst working at the GRC, Robert has developed many ERDF funded projects, working from initial concept, through to project implementation and delivery. These projects have all been focused on the field of sustainability and the environment, with specific emphasis in recent years on the low carbon agenda.
He worked in the GRC from 1995 – 2013, where he has specialised in collaborative Industry/University research and innovation projects, taking numerous concepts through from initial analysis and testing, to full commercially viable products. He has project managed many of the Centre’s large Research and Innovation projects, such as the Geoenvironmental Research Park project, and also led the Wales Waste and Resources Research Centre, an all-Wales Centre, aimed at coordinating and promoting the waste research activities of the academic institutions in Wales
Prior to joining the Geoenvironmental Research Centre in 1995, he was Principal Engineer with Sir Alexander Gibb and partners and was responsible for managing the Gibb Wales engineering department. During this time, he was responsible for a wide portfolio of projects including the design of bridge structures on the A55, design and construction of commercial factories, and several land regeneration projects.
He has worked on the assessment and design of structures for the nuclear submarine facilities at Devonport Naval Dockyard as part of a nuclear safety case. He has also reviewed the design of a major military facility within NATO, and worked on the design and construction of hangars for the RAF’s Tornado Aircraft.
He was team leader responsible for the Category III check on a 600m length of the Limehouse link cut and cover tunnel in the London Docklands. He has also worked on the route development of the Channel tunnel rail link, the design of bridges and associated highway structures on the Pontypridd inner relief road, and also the design of substructures on the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
He supervised the full-scale load testing and hangar replacement contract on the historic Menai Suspension Bridge. As part of the Cardiff Bay Barrage pre and post impoundment surveys he inspected and assessed many buildings including houses schools and police stations with a view to assessing the effects of groundwater on dampness and structural integrity.
His experimental work at the University has included full and half scale testing of composite elements as part of an investigation into the alternative design for the Conway Estuary immersed tube tunnel construction. He has carried out full-scale tests on composite floor systems for multi-story buildings. In addition, he has tested and verified the integrity of many commercial products from roof purlins to vehicle side impact protectors.
During his early career, he was an apprentice with British Steel Corporation Port Talbot works, an integrated iron and steel producing complex. His training included the preparation of Civil and Structural Engineering drawings, structural steel inspection and working with the professional field staff of the surveyors department. He also gained experience as a Site Engineer on the construction of the continuous casting mill at Port Talbot Works.
Robert’s career includes working on a blend of industrial and academic projects. He has extensive experience in the design and construction of building and highway structures from small box culverts to multi-span viaducts and from family dwellings to retail parks and multi-storey buildings. He has investigated many academic problems through experimental and numerical modeling. He also has experience in the preparation of reports as an expert witness.