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Foulkes: ICE design competitions unnecessary


ICE DIRECTOR General Tom Foulkes this week said there was no point in the Institution organising bridge design competitions in competition with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).


‘I agree engineers should take a greater part, ’ Foulkes told NCE on Monday. ‘But I see no point in us developing something from scratch when RIBA already has an established competitions department which runs first rate competitions.’ His comments follow calls from bridge designers for the ICE to hold competitions instead of RIBA (NCE 23 March).


International bridge designer and Flint & Neill partner Ian Firth is a veteran of design competitions all over the world. He expressed ‘great disappointment’ at the ICE’s position. ‘It should be taking much more of a lead, ’ said Firth.


‘RIBA led competitions, with only one chance to be selected, may suit architects but aren’t appropriate for complex structures like bridges, ’ he said.


But Foulkes believes in ‘working very closely with RIBA to achieve outstanding outcomes’.


He cited a recent joint RIBA/ ICE competition for the new Wear Crossing in Sunderland and a competition for a new footbridge in Stratford upon Avon as models for the future.


But following award of the Wear competition to consultant Techniker, Mott MacDonald had to be called in by the eight man panel - two of which were engineers - to see if it was actually buildable.


So far construction has not started and Sunderland Borough Council is yet to secure funding for the bridge.

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