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Engineers to get more say in design competitions

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the ICE this week confirmed that they and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) are looking to set up a comprehensive bridge design competition service.

The move brings multi-disciplinary design competition judging a step closer. At present, judging panels tend to be dominated by architects.

"We met with RIBA and the IStructE on 19 March to discuss where we're headed,” said an ICE spokesman.

"We're working to create a robust judging panel with more of a structural design focus. We are looking to set up a panel which represents the needs of all three of us. The key action from the meeting is to set up the judging panel."

The move follows demands by engineers to become more involved in bridge judging panels. The aim is to ensure the winning design is structurally sound (NCE 13 April 2006).

Some architectural competition winning bridges have been criticised for a lack of attention to engineering.

Expedition Engineering director Chris Wise, designer of London's Millennium Bridge, is a long standing campaigner for more engineering involvement in bridge competitions.

"It's taken them two years to get to this stage," said Wise.

"We need a good engineering representative on the jury and on the briefing process. A competition bridge needs to be not just iconic but also needs to demonstrate it's achievable."

RIBA competitions manager Louise Harrison played down claims that engineering is not considered when RIBA competitions are judged.

"There's a perception that the RIBA is doing lots of bridges and excluding engineers, but that's not the case," she said.

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