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Current concerns Recent and imminent changes in the construction industry have led to a marked increase in the development of courses on the environment, rail technology and management and constructio

Lathams recommendations regarding the adversarial nature of the UK construction industry have led to great developments in construction law. The introduction of the New Engineering Contract and the Housing Grants Construction & Regeneration Act which is expected to come into effect in May 1998 have prompted a significant increase in course interest.

We have been swamped with applications for both public and in-house law courses, says Thomas Telford Training sales manager Douglas McKenzie. A great deal of interest has been shown in courses on the New Engineering Contract and with adjudication soon to be mandatory rather than an option with the introduction of the Construction Act, courses on this new method of settling disputes are likely to prove just as popular.

The legal division of course provider IBC UK Conferences is holding one day CPD course seminars on coping with the construction act, risk management in the construction industry, year 2000 compliance and private finance intiatives.

We provide practical courses on the legal implications of all types of subjects and we have been inundated with responses for the Construction Act and year 2000 compliance courses, says IBC UK Conferences Legal Department course producer James Hirst.

The seminars on coping with the Construction Act which are to be held in London and Edinburgh during May 1998 have been designed to help construction professionals adapt to the act and will give advice on how people should respond to it says Hirst.

The Constuction Act is the biggest development in construction law in recent memory. Its a very popular subject because it will affect everyone. The course will have an attractive agenda that will address the concerns raised by the delegates and the conference in Edinburgh will include a mock adjudication.

The privatisation of the railway industry has led to it developing a much closer relationship with the construction industry and the demand for courses aimed at professionals affected by the changes in the industry has increased as a result.

Contract law in the rail industry is very important and this is reflected by the popularity of relevent in-house courses, says McKenzie. The privatisation of the railways has led to courses being provided specifically for rail companies on risk management in construction.

McKenzie says the short course Risk assessment in design under the CDM Regulations has been well received.

The College of Railway Technology in Derby provides short courses to give railway professionals an appreciation of rail technologies and the commercial aspects of civil engineering.

Privatisation has led to a merging of cultures, says director of civil engineering at the College of Railway Technology Colin Cotter. For the rail industry there are commercial, contractual and legal implications that must be learnt. The commercial involvement for most people before privatisation was principally with budget management.

Rail courses such as Management of track possessions, track maintenance, track renewals and structure examination enable existing railway practitioners to improve their skills and for people new to the industry to gain fresh knowledge, says Cotter.

Tightening legislation and the growing opportunity for civil engineers to provide environmental services to business and industry has led to an increase in the number of environmental courses on offer.

New courses such as the University of Baths Msc in integrated environmental management and Durham Universitys Msc in environmental management practice have emerged due to the demand for experts with a wide range of knowledge of environmental management.

The popularity of courses that are directly related to the environment has increased a great deal says the University of Baths department of continuing and distance education marketing and communications manager Marie Fraser.

There is a huge market for short courses such as the intensive course on the international standard ISO14001 and others such as waste management that are very applicable to civil engineering at the moment.

The courses are aimed at all areas of business and industry but it seems civil engineers are embracing it particularly at the moment.

The Bolton Insitute provides an Msc qualification in geotechnical engineering with a strong environmental slant, says civil and environmental engineering subject group leader John Parkin. The Bolton Insitute is developing an Msc course in geotechnical and environmental engineering that will be studied by distance learning, possibly through the internet.

The interest in courses related to the environment is likely to increase in the future as initiatives such as Agenda 21 start to have an impact, says Parkin.

At the world summit on the environment in Rio De Janeiro in 1992, the world leaders decided that most environmental issues were of a local nature.

This resulted in Agenda 21 which required local authorities to produce a set of policies for the environment. They have done this by setting up environment forums like the one in Bolton which has working groups on transport, waste minimisation, energy and the built and natural environment.

New European and national legislation such as the 1995 Environment Act, which lays responsibilty for the environment on local authorities are having a great effect at the moment and the results of initiatives such as Agenda 21 will impact on course planning in years to come.

John Masters is senior reporter at Barrett Byrd Associates

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