The highlight of this profession is watching a building progress from earthworks to fully-fitted and commissioned, according to Ashlee Moodley (Pr.Eng) – recently appointed director at RPP KZN Consulting Engineers.
February 2023 personality profile sponsored by:
Moodley grew up predominantly in the Durban area of KwaZulu-Natal and also spent five of his formative years in Gauteng where he was schooled until the age of seven. He recalls that his family and himself alike dearly missed the coast and so eventually moved back to Durban where he continued his primary school education through St Michaels.
His high school years were completed at Northwood Boys. After matriculation in 2006, Moodley then pursued a BSc degree in mechanical engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. During that time, and in his final year of studies, he noted that he enjoyed all courses relating to renewable energy and designed a regenerative braking system for a bicycle – which received a distinction.
Describing then how he entered the HVAC sector, he says, “My first job out of university was with an engineering consulting firm. At first I was exposed to all facets of mechanical design including HVAC, fire protection systems, wet services and industrial engineering. Out of all those different sectors I enjoyed HVAC the most as I found this discipline to be the most challenging due to its impact on personal comfort as well as toward the environment. I always strive to design systems in a way that requires the least amount of energy input to meet the end users’ needs.”
As a people’s person, what Moodley finds most exciting about his work is definitely interacting with different professional teams. Traveling, he noted, is also a great aspect of being a consulting engineer but overall he finds his work a truly amazing experience and in an industry which he is grateful to be a part of.
Admittedly, a tough question is what one regards as your greatest achievement. “I consider myself to have achieved a lot in my life thus far and several of these as my greatest such as building my own little family with my wife, owning my first brand new car, traveling overseas and so on, however I think my greatest overall achievement is making my parents proud of the person I have become over the years. Oh, and of course to mention – becoming a director of RPP KZN Consulting Engineers!”
In his spare time Moodley’s hobbies and interests include enjoying spending time with his family and friends, as well as going to the gym. He also enjoys gaming when his daughter allows him to, he comically suggested! He also aims to do anything to take his mind off work, though as the readers of this article would know – this industry leaves you with many sleepless nights, quite often.
Turning to his view of the future of designs and technology with regard to HVAC systems, he adds that with the rising costs of electricity as well as the shortages of electricity currently being experienced in South Africa, energy efficiency is going to become paramount. “As a design engineer, I always encourage clients to utilise the most efficient systems, but this is strongly driven by equipment capital costs which in turn often leads to clients choosing lesser alternatives. To help mitigate the need for air conditioning, I also encourage architects and developers to invest in the building envelope to reduce the requirement for HVAC as much as possible, without totally messing up the aesthetic, naturally,” he concluded.