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Civils call for heritage research database

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CIVIL ENGINEERS this week called for a national database of all research papers on heritage conservation to solve a growing knowledge dissemination problem.

ICE Panel for Historical Engineering Works member Dr Robert McWilliam also called for earlier publication of papers, which are often out of date by the time they are made public.

McWilliam was giving evidence in the House of Commons science and technology select committee meeting on Tuesday.

He said the quality of research that was being conducted was not in question, but there was an issue about the lack of research passed to grass roots level.

He said that while research projects were taking place the results were not being published to the industry. As a result, discoveries and advances were shared among senior engineers but failed to reach repair and maintenance companies.

An online database could solve the problem, said McWilliam. Researchers could publish their findings as soon as they were discovered, allowing engineers immediate access to the latest techniques.

The committee heard that of the £3.5bn spent on conservation work last year, some £2.5bn was spent on private homes.

Owners of listed properties needed access to the best repair and maintenance methods.

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