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Soletanche has US covered Soletanche Bachy's acquisition of American geotechnical contractor Nicholson Construction Company gives it full coverage of the US, where its subsidiary Soletanche Inc already operates. Nicholson's sales this year will top $45M (£25M).At just under £540M, North American work now accounts for more than 10% of Soletanche Bachy's activity.

More operators in skills scheme Shotfiring and driller operators are the latest to be included in the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The scheme aims to enforce quality work, reduce accidents and encourage employers to use only skilled workers. Details, CSCS helpdesk, 0870 4178777.

BSI publishes sustainability draft The draft of a new British Standard, BS 8900: Guidance for managing sustainable development, is available from BSI, tel: 020 8996 9001. Comments should be sent by 31 December this year to the secretary of BSI Technical Committee SDS/1 at British Standards House, 389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL.

Construction orders up Department of Trade and Industry figures show construction orders in the year to July 2005 rose by 6% compared with the previous 12 months, and orders in the three months to July 2005 were up 9% on the same period a year earlier.

The infrastructure sector saw most growth, up 30% on the previous 12 months and up 73% compared with the same period last year.

Check team for Incheon Bridge A joint venture of Halcrow, Arup and Dasan will carry out independent design checks for the world's third longest sea crossing, the Incheon Bridge in South Korea. The 12.3km, $1.1bn (£608M) link connecting Incheon international airport with two new development areas includes a 1,480m long cable-stayed bridge over a navigational channel with a main span of 800m. It is being built by design and construct contractor joint venture led by Samsung Corporation for concessionaire Koda, which is led by Amec.

Rapid toxicity audit A University of Surrey system which uses light-emitting bacteria to detect toxins in soil is making inroads in South-east Asia thanks to a satisfied customer, Hitachi Chemicals. The Rapid On-Site Toxicity Audit System (Rotas) is owned by the university and licensed to Cybersense Biosystems.

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