RVA spotlight – meet Philip Whiting

Philip Whiting, RVA Group

Name and role:

Philip Whiting, demolition and decommissioning consultant. 

How long have you been with RVA Group?

Since January 2020.

Describe your career journey before that?

I have worked for five demolition companies – part owning two of them – in Canada and Australia, so I have a vast amount of discipline-specific knowledge.

I’m also a chartered project management surveyor and a chartered construction manager, so have adopted many different roles on a variety of global projects, before joining RVA – mainly focusing on the commercial side of demolition and construction.

What did you want to be, when you were younger?

A racing car driver.

And what do you think is the key skill you need to be a successful demolition and decommissioning consultant?

It’s multi-faceted, so strategic communication and time management skills are critical to successfully managing the technical requirements of the role.

What’s your biggest RVA achievement to date?

Delivering an asset retirement obligation report for a major piece of infrastructure that is critical to the UK’s energy security.

And the most memorable thing you’ve learnt during your career?

That trust is more important than knowledge and contacts.

Describe your dream project

De-orbiting the International Space Station, maximising material salvage and minimising debris.

RVA Group is celebrating 30 years in business, with a truly global reputation for decommissioning excellence. Why do you think the company has earned such a stand-out position in industry?

Because the CDM regulations created a significant market for the Principal Designer role, and our engineering skill-set – not to mention supply chain independence – filled that gap, entirely. Also, client organisations generally don’t have the specific skill-sets required to manage demolition and decommissioning projects, so we are a much relied upon resource.

Of all the sectors RVA operates in, which is the most exciting right now?

It’s a tie between oil refineries and coal fired power stations, because of the significance of the decarbonisation agenda.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give to an organisation preparing for a decommissioning project?

Strategically, keep your objectives fixed – involve all internal and external stakeholders from the outset, define their expectations, manage them and then keep decision making within the project team. Tactically, be open to opportunities to enhance the project outcome, and flexible enough to incorporate them.

What makes you tick outside of work?

Nature, remote places, water.

If you could be given a plane ticket for anywhere, where would you choose?

Acapulco, as I would love to see the La Quebrada cliff divers. On December 12 – the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe – freestyle cliff divers perform the “Ocean of Fire” when the sea is lit with gasoline, making a circle of flames which the diver aims for, from a height of 40 metres.

Which one word would you hope colleagues would use to describe you?