BuroHappold

  www.burohappold.com
  www.burohappold.com

BuroHappold Reviews

Updated November 29, 2014
Updated November 29, 2014
40 Reviews
3.1
40 Reviews
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Roger Nickells
3 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Interesting work with interesting architects.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY

    I have been working at BuroHappold

    Pros

    I get to work with premier architecture firms and on very interesting projects. The culture of the office is closer to an architecture firm than other engineering firms.

    Cons

    It appears that the price employees pay for working on interesting projects is that they are not compensated as highly as other firms.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Buro Happold review from a mechanical engineer's point of view.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Mechanical Engineer in New York, NY

    I have been working at BuroHappold

    Pros

    Three weeks of vacation standard. At Buro Happold, you work on some of the most interesting projects in the field. Opportunities to go abroad as well.

    Cons

    The pay at Buro Happold does not really compete with the rest of the field. Although the projects are interesting, there is little recognition of a job well done. They expect employees to work well more then 40 hours a week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Although management tries to "get in touch" with the common workers at the office, there is a large gap between what the employees need and want, and the actions of the management. Morale would increase with only a small amount of effort and resources.

    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Strong routes, lost its way in past few years, future is looking positive

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate in Bath, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Associate in Bath, England (UK)

    I have been working at BuroHappold full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Freedom to be creative, fantastic projects, opportunity to travel and relocate if desired, on the whole friendly and supportive people

    Cons

    Reward, some project management is appalling, politics at upper levels can be draining, recognition of talent is lacking in some areas, competition and knowledge hoarding between teams is counterproductive

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase reward, change team performance measures, allow working culture to shift naturally, turn back "big corporate" feeling we've developed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    I found the company was mindful of it's employees and had a good work ethic.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Trainee Structural Technician in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
    Former Employee - Trainee Structural Technician in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    They are considerate of those who work for them and offer many benefits. There is also the opportunity to work on many exciting and important projects.

    Cons

    I found their training schemes for those in trainee positions needed improvement, formalising and better organisation in general.

    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great place to work but they fell down when it came to redundancies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Structural Engineer
    Former Employee - Structural Engineer

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    You'll work with some really amazing people who always look to work hard and play harder. Some great projects too if you get yourself in the right team.

    Cons

    They played up to "our people are our biggest asset" in the good times but then hacked from the bottom of the pyramid when it came to the crunch during the 2008 crisis.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the generally great work you do but practise what you preach when the going gets tough.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Incredible Potential....Yet to be realized

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Director in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Associate Director in London, England (UK)

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    BH has an amazing legacy of innovation and achievement. It is a place where good engineers can (if events align) become great engineers. It has thrived on a "just go and do.." approach that has served it well over the years, and enabled it to grow and even survive the recent recession relatively intact. There are incredible people working at BH. both inside and outside the various disciplines. Many of whom have worked for the practice for most, if not all of their careers.

    There is an informal and fun atmosphere among many of the teams. Each office around the globe has their own particular flavor while keeping core elements that make it a BH office. The company truly believes in developing people, and wants to be a place where you come for a job but stay for a career. Consequently there is tremendous institutional knowledge in house .

    Cons

    It is frustrating in that the same things that are great about BH are also where BH struggles. There are amazing opportunities to do great work at BH, but those opportunities are not evenly distributed or equally available to all staff, especially new staff.

    The ad-hoc approach that has served the firm well, is now its Achilles heel. BH has vastly outgrown its own support infrastructure. HR, Finance, IT and Project Management support are all woefully under resourced and struggle to keep up with demand. . BH does truly believe in developing staff, but has yet to put any realistic amount of resources behind that belief. Instead they just sort of hope it will happen organically.

    There are amazing people there, but frankly , on the flip side, some people have been there far too long. Some of these people have little or no experience outside of BH. So many of them, (some in very senior roles) are terrified of change, and in some cases actively resist anything that doesn't sit in their zone of comfort and familiarity.

    The corporate governance structure of the firm (LLP / Partnership built on a consensus model) is slow to adapt to organizational needs . Given the size and scope of the firm today it is long past time to revisit the model and see if it is still fit for purpose.

    The CEO role is an elected position. Serving a set term. So it is very hard for the CEO whoever it is, to actually lead the firm, given that all other Partners feel they are the owner/operators of the company. (Which in reality is exactly what they are.) Hence the CEO role tends to be a bit toothless.

    BH struggles endlessly with defining their brand. The latest attempts to do so, are an improvement, but still surprisingly unfocused and vague. Sad when you see it coming from a firm with such a substantial history and impressive catalog of work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    In spite of all the challenges you face. BH remains far more potential, than it is actualized. There are truly incredible people there who love what they do, at the same time however you have some real dead wood there that frankly you need to clear out.

    You cannot avoid investing in support infrastructure. HR and IT are under resourced to the point of being obstacles to getting things done. Project Management support (what little there is of it...) is completely random and unfocused.

    Restructure corporate governance so the CEO has greater leeway to make needed key changes. And lastly, Stop trying to invent a brand. and instead clarify the one you have had all along but cant seem to actually grasp.

    Yet at the end of the day the projects get done, and evidence would prove, , done very well... The reason? The PEOPLE at BH really do care about the work. So stop taking that for granted, and instead leverage it to make the BH you talk about , the same as the one your staff experiences in their jobs every day.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Mixed feelings

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Business Services
    Former Employee - Business Services

    I worked at BuroHappold full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great in terms of culture, which is creative, relaxed and non-hierarchical. Had a lot of opportunity to work closely with Partners and influence some change.

    Cons

    Unable to make tough decisions at times. Two examples witnessed where promotion interviews were never followed up with any feedback. Lack of appreciation of sacrifices staff made as a result of poor resource management. Loyalty tested to breaking point. Felt let down by a business I cared about and invested a great deal of energy in, through some difficult and challenging periods.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Practice greater humility towards those contributing to the success of the Partnership. Ted Happold is rarely celebrated or discussed, which I think would be welcomed by employees newer to the business and less familiar with him. Make the tough decisions, when it's the responsible thing to do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Disorganized, frustrating mess!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at BuroHappold as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good to work here as a contractor as they keep very little tabs on your hours so you can easily work lots of overtime if you wish. Not much pigeonholing, so you can move between different projects quite easily for different exposure. Have good exposure to middle east projects so if you wish to gain experience of working with projects in Saudi Arabia, UAE or Qatar then BH are a good option. Contract rates on offer are in the top 20% for industry so they pay pretty well.

    Cons

    No standards at all for design software such as 12d model, ACAD C3D or PDS. No standards at all for drafting software such as ACAD. Everyone draws/designs on different layers with different naming conventions; drawings are not even named in a sensible or logical fashion. IT updates are not synchronized so everyone works with different level updated software. Do not have A1/A0 printers so have to pay a company down the road to go get your prints!!! File structure for projects is also not in any template format so each project layout is saved differently making it near impossible to find any files when trying to work. Also a lot of people save files through email and on their personal desktop so cannot find relevant files on the server. Their servers are split by region; so you will have 'mirror' projects in one office compared to the other i.e. a Bath file and a London file of the same project, this leads to needless duplication and disorganization and painfully slow network speeds. Redundant phones are left about the place as are keyboards. Phone lync networks regularly fails and does not work meaning I often have to field phone calls personally on my personal mobile in order to contact people. Paper filing from the 1980s still hovers in unused desk space. Leadership is fractured with numerous 'partners' owning the company and hence it lacks any coherent strategic direction with in-fighting of management very common. General staff morale is very low; extremely high turnover; apathy of management; lots of dead wood in management; general incompetence and lack of enthusiasm for the tremendous profession of engineering. If I wasn't a contractor earning big bucks off their lack of organization resulting in huge OT; I'd have been out the door in 10 mins! If you are a permanent employee run for the hills!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pull your finger out! You're a disgrace to the Engineering profession and quite frankly I'm amazed this company can even make slim profit margins of 1-2%!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    It's OK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Structural Engineer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Structural Engineer in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at BuroHappold full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great projects, nice people, good learning curve for graduates and engineers

    Cons

    Money, career progression, too much politics, too little value for hard work and skills, too top heavy, a lot of projects are under resourced, too many people attending meetings, not enough designing

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They should make an effort to keep people instead of watching them leaving in a complete careless way

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    A job well done

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Graduate Engineer in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Graduate Engineer in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at BuroHappold full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great projects, amazing and inspired people. Excellent prospects for the future and a real can do attitude among staff. Investment into their staff happens on a daily basis.

    Cons

    Maybe not a downside; but as a graduate a more defined training path would be really good to mould them into the right sort of engineers. People generally seem to be dissatisfied with the amount they are paid. People work very hard and are not always given the credit they deserve, often a new recruit is brought in to fill a role rather than looking to promote someone from within the business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have an excellent company full of the best people- look to get more high quality, profitable projects to get these people the wage they deserve

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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