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In brief

Contrary to our report last week, Mott MacDonald is not facing a claim on Tsing Ma Bridge. The contractor is currently in arbitration with the client, not Mott MacDonald.

Ian MacPherson, founding director of 1990s success story Mace, is to retire at the end of this month. He will be quitting construction and the UK to move to France and start a music summer school.

US software giant Microsoft has backed down on its attempt to force Manchester-based Brian Clancy Partnership to change the name of its long- established subsidiary Microsoft Structural Control Systems (NCE 4 March). Microsoft's lawyers now say action will be taken only if the partnership 'uses the MSCS name to any significant extent'.

The Concrete Society has published the third edition of its Technical Report No30 - Alkali-silica reaction: minimising the risk of damage to concrete. This latest edition includes changes to advice on the use of pulverised fuel ash and ground granulated blastfurnace slag. It has also been brought into line with the latest Building Research Establishment publications and relevant British Standards.

Alfred McAlpine this week announced a 41% jump in its pre-tax profits to £34M on a turnover up 9% to £719.5M. The increase was mainly due to better margins in the homes division, but the company also lifted its civil engineering margin to 4.2%, a rise of 1.5% on 1997.

Gammon Construction has won a £48M contract to build a 2km section of Hong Kong's Tseung Kwan O line connecting Lam Tin Station to the Eastern Harbour crossing. The contractor has also won a £36M contract to build a 1.7km dual carriageway.

Kennedy & Donkin graduate engineer William Watt has won the Hays Montrose Christmas Competition. He wins an iMac computer and printer. The winning answers were: 1) 4.8km, 2) 1/5/98, 3) £1.8bn, 4.) British Airways London Eye.

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