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Railways to Runways: DIO's Specialist Engineers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Engineering, Runways, Working at DIO

Hi, I’m Bryan Dunn and I lead the specialist infrastructure engineers here at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation. Being a specialist engineer at DIO is challenging but it is a hugely important task due to the amount of complex infrastructure that we have on the Defence estate.

Bryan Dunn, head of DIO's specialist engineers. [Crown Copyright/MOD2014]
Bryan Dunn, head of DIO's specialist engineers. [Crown Copyright/MOD2014]
While there aren’t many of us, we have engineers with expertise in almost every imaginable piece of infrastructure on the estate. This ranges from Second World War hangars, which need knowledge and careful management to keep them in service, to maritime ports, such as Portsmouth, where we played our part to bring in the new aircraft carrier. We also oversee the MOD railways which are used to transport material around the country. DIO has specialists dealing with fire alarm and suppression systems; we are probably the largest operator of high and low voltage electrical systems in government and have hugely complex mechanical systems including 250 miles of gas pipelines! We also manage the MOD building control systems and look after the many airfield runways the Armed Forces use around the globe.

Resurfacing work on the secondary runway. [Crown Copyright/MOD2017]
DIO's specialist engineers are responsible for runways. This photo shows resurfacing work underway on the secondary runway at RAF Marham, now complete. [Crown Copyright/MOD2017]
We even have mines and quarries and new responsibilities for infrastructure are always coming our way, the latest is responsibility for commercial diving safety across the Defence estate.

Our specialist engineers have worked everywhere Defence is, and the infrastructure requirements we support can be different depending on where in the world we are. We always have to think about where we are, what rules and regulations apply, what environmental and operational conditions we have to consider as well as cost and quality because the best engineering solution must also be about delivering the best for Defence.

For example, we have to consider the effects of heat and insect infestation in electrical systems in tropical places like Belize, and in Nepal we have to consider the risks of earthquake damage to our infrastructure.

Belize's jungle environment presents an additional level of challenge to our engineers. [Crown Copyright/MOD2018]
Belize's jungle environment presents an additional level of challenge to our engineers. [Crown Copyright/MOD2018]
We are committed to protecting the environment, so we can’t dredge a port during the breeding season for fish or lay high voltage cabling through a Site of Special Scientific Interest. All these things we must consider as professional specialist engineers.

Join our interesting world of work

I hope that my blog in some small way inspires the next generation of specialist engineers to come through the door and join DIO, because, the truth is, without them we just can't operate and we will fail to support our Armed Forces to live, work and train - and failure is not an option.

The work of DIO specialist engineers is fantastically interesting, incredibly variable and personally satisfying, so become an engineer at DIO – it’s great. Sign up to alerts on Civil Service Jobs to be kept informed of upcoming opportunities.

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  1. Comment by Ricky Brooks posted on

    Great work to be involved in.


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