Peter's People

Dr Nicholas Bill

Stipendiary Lecturer in Engineering Science

I am a Stipendiary Lecturer in Engineering Science at St Peter’s College and I am also a consultant engineer in London. Originally from Wales, I grew up in the Antipodeans and gained my undergraduate degree in engineering from The University of Melbourne.

After graduating I decided that I wanted to see the rest of the world and I used my engineering degree as a passport to new horizons. Over the last 13 years I’ve worked on numerous landmark projects across the UK, Middle East and South Africa, developing a particular interest in historic structures and tall buildings. I’ve also held several academic positions after gaining my PhD from the University of Cambridge.

Teaching

This year my teaching commitments will mainly focus on the third-year paper B2 – Engineering in Society and occasionally some mechanics.

I have previously taught the first-year and second-year papers, P3 – Structures and Mechanics and B3 – Structures, Materials and Dynamics, at Lady Margaret Hall.

Research

My research focuses primarily on historic structures and ventures into the fields of construction history and forensic engineering. Various forms of construction have developed over time, with their origins predating the establishment of the architectural and engineering professions and there is limited guidance available to properly understand them. Also, as engineering develops with the introduction of new analytical tools and construction methods, the next generation of engineers often lose touch with the technology of their predecessors. Given many of our buildings have outlasted their designers and have no available records of their design or construction, a considerable knowledge gap is developing.

By understanding the context in which structures were designed and built, I aim to develop rational analytical and design methods to assess the condition and behaviour of structures, either for their modification or extending their design life. This research is directly applicable to my role as a consultant engineer where I often work on historic buildings.

I am also interested in determining what knowledge we can learn from historic structures that we made apply to the development of new structural forms and construction techniques.