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Orders for public houses up Public housing and housing association orders rose by 25% in the 12 months to May 2006, compared with the previous 12 months, according to figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry last month. But private housing increased a mere 1% during this period. Although new orders for infrastructure rose 3%, this was only a third of the overall figure for construction, at 9%.

NUAG aims to standardise data The National Underground Assets Group has announced plans to develop and implement standardised procedures on how buried service location information is recorded and stored by the end of 2007. It aims to define data definitions, standards, protocols and processes to aid sharing of information.

Book studies mine disposal A new book, Disposal of Hazardous Waste in Underground Mines, contains results of a three-year research programme into the use of abandoned mines for disposal of chemical waste in Europe.

Published by WIT Press, the book (ISBN 1-85312-750-7) costs £95.

Contact www. witpress. com.

HSE moves on hearing damage The HSE has launched a new programme aimed at protecting more than 2M British workers by eliminating cases of hearing damage and controlling hand arm vibration syndrome. It will include stakeholder engagement and inspection activity to promote good practice to control workers' exposure.

Benaim to support charity Civil, structural and geotechnical consultant Benaim became a patron of engineering disaster relief charity RedR-IHE in July.

It will donate at least £100 per staff member a year, which amounts to about £5000. Money will be used to help the charity respond quickly to disasters and to help pay for some of the charity's core running costs.

Call for Queen's Award entries Entries for this year's Queen's Awards for Enterprise must be in by 31 October. The awards, which include a construction category, are open to any UK business with two or more employees. Previous winners include Screwfast Foundations, which received a 2005 award in the innovation category for its steel screw piling system.

For more information visit www. queensawards. org. uk

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