Flooding was the hot topic this summer. Civils 2007 is the place to contiune the debate.
The climate change debate reached fever pitch earlier this year when flooding hit many parts of theUKvery badly – some of them not known as potential flood hotspots. Not surprisingly, it led to many questions being asked about the preparedness of our flood defence systems, and what can expect in future if weather conditions are to become more extreme.
According to Sue Innes, sustainability director at Constructing Excellence, the information is available to predict future weather conditions, but we're just not using it. "We need to be designing from the right datasets," she says. "These datasets are available – the Met Office has them – but we're just not using the right data. So many of the modelling tools that engineers use are out of date. For example, the Building Regulations are based on data collected over the 30 years leading up to 1991. That doesn't bear any relation to the weather we're going to have for the next 30 years."
Innes says awareness of – and interest in – sustainability issues is growing very fast, but worries that engineers don't know where to go for accurate information. "The lack of understanding and appropriate training is a major barrier," she says. Not only do students not learn enough on sustainability at university, but, she says, qualified engineers are not finding this kind of information readily available.
She also feels that civil engineers should be campaigning for appropriate sustainability KPIs to help monitor performance during projects. "Current KPIs are good for building but not good for civils," she says.
Innes hopes that the entire issue of climate change and sustainability will grab the imagination of engineers. "We're encouraging people to see it as a challenge and exciting, rather than being a negative thing," she says.
Are you excited by the prospect of designing and building for a more sustainable future? Join in the debate by attending the Civils Conference on Wednesday 21 November, when Sue Innes will be chairing a session on sustainable engineering and the zero carbon agenda.
The conference, which is being held in conjunction with Arup, runs throughout the three days of Civils 2007.
For full programme details and to book go to www.civils.co.uk and click on the conference link.
The technical seminars are always a highlight of Civils, and this year’s programme is building up to be as fascinating as ever. Already lined up are top consultants MWH Global and Waterman Group, specialist contractors Ritchies and David Ball Group, as well as the Concrete Repair Association and Corrosion Prevention Association. There will also be demonstrations by the likes of Hanson Formpave, Topcon, Halfen Deha and de Neef.
On Tuesday 20 November, experts from CIRIA will be discussing their areas of expertise in one of the seminar theatres.
The seminars take place in three purpose-built seminar spaces within the exhibition floor. They are free and open to anyone attending the show, with spaces allocated on a first come, first serve basis.
Content varies from live demonstrations of new products to discussions and Q&A sessions, but most are extremely lively and give a great introduction to the companies and services on show at Civils.
To find out more got to the Civils website and click on the visiting link, then on show features.