And that’s a wrap!

The dust has now settled after the inaugural Foundation Ex, our very first offshore engineering conference. Myself and all at Empire Engineering would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved.  

A thank you to every delegate, speaker and sponsor who helped to make the event such a success.

And a very special thank you to the team here at Empire who worked tirelessly for months in the lead up the big day on 1st October.

A couple of weeks before the event, I wrote this piece which was an opportunity to voice the motivation for putting on the very first offshore engineering conference in Bristol. After years of attending events around the world, I felt that there was nothing that told the story of the expertise, innovation and optimism that exists within our industry.

I’m talking of course about the depth of technical content that really pushes the boundaries of what today’s offshore windfarm engineering can achieve. Similarly, detailed analysis of the unique challenges we face as a community as well as a chance to peer into the looking glass of technological innovation that will impact our projects in the years to come.”

And so the idea for Foundation Ex was born. 

Fast forward to the night before the big day and the Mud Dock cafe bar in Bristol was full to bursting with many of the 130 delegates up on the first floor terrace. Each one of them, busy people who had chosen to come to Bristol the night before and take the time to come along, meet, network, share ideas, enjoy the excellent food and just maybe have a beer or two. 


We had sold out the ticket allocation a few hours before. Even typing this now, I can’t quite believe it happened. Our first ever event was fully booked.

The atmosphere on the evening set the tone for the next day with the assembled delegates happy to meet new people, share their stories and feel part of our industry that has an important role in shaping the answer to the global energy conundrum.

Time to take to the stage

The following morning, the room was packed. It wasn’t so long ago that an empty room was the stuff of nightmares –  would anyone actually turn up?  Those fears were totally unfounded. We were go, and it was going to be quite a day.

The team and I made a conscious decision to have short sessions. The idea behind it was to banish the waffle and challenge our speakers to deliver a concise message for maximum impact. We had nearly 30 speakers who had kindly volunteered to take part. Each and every one of them rose to the challenge and delivered excellent sessions full of thought provoking ideas and laced with serious expertise.

Highlights of the day included:

  • Dan Butterworth from DNV-GL responding to Nick Elderfield (DHI) incisive comments about the impediments Project Certifiers can create for projects..
  • Henrietta Ridgeon from Arup discussing how, as the industry continues to drive down costs in the offshore wind industry, structural and geotechnical engineers need to work together to optimise the detailed design of the emerging foundation solutions.
  • Alan Macleay from Seaway7 revealing various innovative methods that have been developed for driving MPs from floating installation vessels.
  • Tim Drummen from Universal Foundation presenting their recent successful sea trials on a Modular version of their Suction Bucket foundation.

And I am pleased to say that the unveiling of our own FATHOM tool for concept, FEED and tender design, drew a favourable response and saw Empire Engineering and Foundation Ex gaining a feature in the press with this article in reNEWS.


Fathom: Empire trumpets new design kit


The aim for Foundation Ex was to be different.

This was the first offshore engineering conference in Bristol. Our mantra for the event was:

“by being properly technical and radically innovative we really deliver the justification to take a day out of the office.” 

Did we achieve that goal?

Who better to ask, than those who were there.



Looking forward

Thank you to Arup and SeaRoc for supporting Foundation Ex in its first year. Your support helped make the day such a success. 

The team and I are now in planning mode for next year. If you have any feedback on this year’s Foundation Ex we’d love to hear from you.

Empire Engineering are offshore wind foundations specialists. If you would like to know more about how we can mitigate the risks of offshore structural failures, or rectify issues once they’ve occurred, please get in touch.