DETAILED RESEARCH, clear, simple explanations and a compelling lack of bluster or pretension helped three engineers from MouchelParkman storm the first London regional heat of the ICE Communications Competition last week.
Wairimu Wainaina, Agnieszka Skoczek and Jimi Edwards quickly won over the audience with their direct, open approach at a mock public meeting, held to discuss a proposed bypass and road dualling scheme in the fictional Whitedown Hills.
ICE head of urban engineering Robert Huxford, external relations manager Neil Weston and former chief engineer in the London boroughs of Southwark and Barnet Tony Williams judged the competition.
They commended the Mouchel Parkman team for its attention to social, environmental and economic issues as well as technical arguments.
'This team impressed because they dealt not only with technical engineering issues but took a holistic approach, ' said Huxford.
During their presentation and under questioning they showed anticipation of public concerns, said Weston.
They managed to explain in simple layman's terms why the bypass was needed, how it would affect local people and businesses, what visual, acoustic and environmental impacts it would have, and how it would be built.
Their presentation was underpinned by powerful graphics, illustrating possible routes, construction techniques, and the final appearance of the scheme.
Williams commended the three for their open, inquiring approach. 'In a high number of presentations the scheme is presented as a fait-accompli, ' he said. 'The meeting is treated more as an information campaign than a public consultation.'
But the MouchelParkman presentation left the audience feeling it could approach the speakers and that their concerns or recommendations would be listened to and acted on, he said.
MouchelParkman faced stiff competition from Arup, Cementation Foundations and Black & Veatch.
Arup's Richard Kerrigan, James Bishop, Chris Neighbour, Michael Lovimer and Juliet Walker, and Black & Veatch's Denise Loh, Neil McCullough, James Piggott, Uldis Clarson and Gayla Fecher set themselves the challenge of making the case for a new reservoir at Ambridge - home of Radio 4's The Archers.
And Cementation's Gareth Hales, Paul Tester, Philip Daynes, Adeel Mughal and Jody Parkin bravely argued for construction of a new international airport next to the rural market town of Melchester.