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Building a better Britain


Senior government officials drew a high level mix of public sector clients, consultants, contractors and suppliers to the opening day of Civils 2005 in London on Tuesday.

HEAD OF regeneration at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister David Edwards kicked off the show on Tuesday morning with a Consultant 100 Breakfast Club briefing for senior industry figures.

Edwards set out the ODPM's top priorities as the creation of world class cities to rival strong cities in Europe and the development of sustainable housing.

ICE president Gordon Masterton officially opened the show with NCE editor Antony Oliver, before the Civils conference programme launched with government national brownfield strategy director Dr Paul Syms warning that more than 16,700h of derelict land in England and Wales abandoned for over 12 years must be redeveloped to support regeneration. The highest concentration of derelict sites, he said, was in the north west and Yorkshire.

Understanding the rate of payback from renewable energy sources is the key to successful sustainable redevelopment, Parsons Brinckerhoff energy services manager Dominic Bowers told the conference. Revised 'Part L' building regulations coming into force in 2006 will require buildings to be more energy efficient and, under some local planning regulations, require a percentage of energy demand to come from the building itself.

A crowd of around 200 packed the conference theatre for the afternoon session on London 2012 with keynote speaker Thames London Gateway Partnership chief executive Eric Sorenson. He warned that poor communication between government quangos, development bodies and construction fi rms is hampering regeneration efforts.

Future plans for the Docklands Light Railway were set out by DLR director Jonathan Fox. Fox outlined £258M of projects to be awarded in the next financial year as the railway prepares for the Olympics.

Upgrading the original DLR route from Bank to Lewisham to carry six car trains will cost £100M and converting the heavy rail line from Stratford International to Canning Town will cost £150M.

Institution of Highways and Transportation vice president Mike Slinn warned that rail services from the north to the London 2012 site are insufficient and called for Lea Valley station on the Lea Valley line to be reopened.

Also on Tuesday- - Engineers of all ages were challenged to re-enter the 1830 design competition for the Clifton Suspension bridge. The competition is being run to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the bridge's original designer. The competition has been developed by University of Bristol and NCE as part of the Brunel 200 celebrations in 2006.

Chief safety advisor Neil Murray and product manager Stuart Bamford from formwork specialist SGB used a technical seminar to set out how the company is using 3D construction animations to show site workers where they need to be positioned when formwork is erected.

Concrete Centre Midlands' Nick Gorst described the latest thinking on brownfield remediation involving stabilising and solidifying contaminants using cement-based additives. The method does not destroy or remove the contaminant, but interrupts the pathway of the contaminant to the receiver. It has the backing of the Environment Agency and has been used in an east London school redevelopment where 2000m 3 of material was treated in just 15 days.

Construction of Olympic Games infrastructure will involve the use of removeable and prefabricated foundations, Roger Bullivant director John Patch told Civils visitors in a technical seminar. 'Systems such as chance anchors which literally screw into the ground, will really come into their own, ' he said. As these piles are driven into the ground the drill bit becomes the reinforcement for the pile and grout is pumped in around it.

CEEQUAL, the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award scheme, revealed how two major public sector clients are soon to make the scheme compulsory on all their projects. Eleven schemes have been assessed with another 27 in the pipeline. The move follows the successful adoption of CEEQUAL by the Northern Ireland office and British Waterways.

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