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Obituary 26 Mar 2018

David Donaldson Died March 2018

The UK tunnelling industry is remembering one of its most well respected and liked leading engineers and practitioners David Donaldson who died on Thursday 8 March 2018.

David Donaldson
David Donaldson

Donaldson was passionate about tunnelling and spent more than 40 years of his career in the tunnelling industry after leaving the merchant navy. His career in underground construction started working for various UK contractors including Monks, Buchan, and Miller Buckley on various tunnelling projects throughout the UK.

In 1987 he set up his own engineering practice Donaldson Associates, which grew into one of the leading independently owned businesses in the UK prior to its acquisition in 2014 by COWI of Denmark on his retirement. Donaldson grew the business from just "himself at the kitchen table" as he often put it, to a company that undertook the design on major tunnelling projects in the UK and overseas.

Donaldson served as Chairman of the British Tunnelling Society (BTS) from 1987 to 1989 and in May 2017, was presented with a distinguished service certificate from British Standards in recognition of his valuable input to BS6164 and to the CEN working groups.

He worked tirelessly to advance the practice of safe, well managed and top quality excavation operations on job sites and to introduce techniques and systems to increase productivity and improve the occupational health and welfare of those who work in the underground excavation industry. He was a regular at the BTS meetings and events and was last at the ICE for a BTS meeting in the Telford Theatre in November 2017.

He died peacefully at home and in the care of his wife Linda and his three daughters Fiona, Laura and Helen. The UK industry, his friends and colleagues, and the many companies and project teams he was associated with in the UK and overseas, particularly in Hong Kong, will miss his leadership and sage opinions and advice about what is being done and what should be done.

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