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After three exhausting days of networking, debating and innovating, visitors and exhibitors alike agreed that Civils 2007 had been the place to be. Kevin Walsh reports.

As the dust settles at Earl's Court 2, in the wake of three days of non-stop networking, debate and conferencing, most delegates agreed that Civils 2007 had provided a world-class forum for topical discussion.

Gemma Watts of Dean & Dyball summed it up: "We were very pleased with the outcome of our three days exhibiting at the Civils show. We had a good throughput of clients and suppliers, along with some recruitment possibilities. Overall it was a very good exhibition, which we plan to be at again next year."

One of the great successes of the show was the technical seminar programme, with the often standing-room-only sessions resulting in a comprehensive discussion of the issues covered.

Speakers were frequently bombarded with wide-ranging questions, keeping the exchanges lively and refreshingly frank.

Highlights included Network Rail procurement boss Ian Ballantine telling the Civil Engineering Contractors Association's seminar that his organisation is to "manoeuvre from being more adversarial, to developing and becoming a lot more collaborative"; and the "World-Class Client" seminar session, chaired by Gary Wright of Rowsell Wright. Here, the issues discussed encompassed appropriate risk allocation between the client and the contractor, corruption in the industry, and client focus on consistency from design through to procurement.

With a major focus on issues of sustainability, the Arup-sponsored conference sessions boasted a range of experienced industry leaders covering everything from developments within the larger regeneration projects, to implementation strategies for road-user charging.

The Olympic Delivery Authority outlined its plans for the 2012 games with infrastructure and utilities director Simon Wright emphasising the lasting legacy, as well as timescales for completion. Other big-name speakers included Crossrail chairman Doug Oakervee, rail minister Tom Harris and Office of Rail Regulation chief executive Bill Emery.

Exhibitors at Civils were looking to raise their profile and to engage with engineers from a range of disciplines and inform them of new developments.

For Andy Fletcher, community relations coordinator for Crossrail, it was a great forum this time round.

"It was wonderful. We've been able to tell people a lot more this year, now we've actually got the money. We can tell people what we intend to do, including timescales, and start telling the industry what it needs to know gearing up to it."

ConstructionResale, the eventual winner of the NCE Innovation of the Year award running throughout the show, was thrilled with the level of exposure they received throughout the three days.

"Obviously, this is a huge marketing opportunity for us and I have to say the response we've had so far has been absolutely fantastic," saidConstructionResale creator Will Goode, whose decision to launch his online resale marketplace at Civils 2007 seems to have paid
dividends. "I think we're making the right noise in the right place. We're making a lot of noise and I think we're being heard."

"What we're finding when we're talking to people in this show is that it's been a two-way dialogue. We've obviously been telling people about what we do, but we've been learning a hell of a lot about situations that other people have been in."

Another award winner at Civils was Tensar International, claiming the 'product of the year' award for their TriAx Geogrid.

Group marketing manager, Tim Oliver, was thrilled to win this year's award, saying: "Obviously, we're over the moon with that, especially the development team. It was great to give them the news.

"I was actually in the office with them when I found out about us winning, and they really got a buzz from the whole thing. Compared to what's around, it is quite an innovative approach so it's nice to have that recognised."

More awards handed out at Civils included the Graduate Awards on Thursday and the Emerging Engineering Design Awards at the Civils Networking Dinner on Tuesday evening.

Winner of the Buro Happold-sponsored EEDA was Chris Atkins of Mott MacDonald, for his groundbreaking approach to cathodic protection. The award was presented by NCE editor Antony Oliver.

"It was wonderful. We've been able to tell people a lot more this year, now we've actually got the money. We can tell people what we intend to do including timescales and start telling the industry what it needs to know gearing up to it"
Andy Fletcher, Crossrail

Civils stats


Exhibiting companies
at Earls Court 2

Of the industry's top decision

Delegates attended the conference and seminar sessions over the three days

Directors attended Civils breakfast club, to network with industry colleagues

Brilliant new civil engineering award winners celebrated

Exhibitors have rebooked for next year's show

Civils 2008 will be at Earls Court 2 again next year. Come and join us. See you then!

For more information on exhibiting at Civils 2008 contact Campbell Gillett020 7728 4513 or email

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