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Mark's blog

I am deputy editor of NCE. I am a qualified civil engineer with more than 15 years construction industry experience. Since joining NCE in 2000, I have been the first construction journalist into Iraq following the second Gulf War (and won IBP News Reporter of the Year as a result), was on the scene in tsunami-struck Sri Lanka, reported on a fatal bridge collapse in Portugal, covered a tunnel blaze in Baltimore, and exposed fundamental design failings in the Windsor’s Jubilee River. ...

IUK's cost success may depend on individuals alone

Posted by Mark HansfordTue, 5 Apr 2011

Success or failure of Infrastructure UK’s attempts to drive down the cost of civil engineering projects may come down to handful of individuals.

Fierce competition and rising prices pile pressure on civils firms

Posted by Mark HansfordTue, 15 Mar 2011

Late last year NCE asked 43 civil engineering consultants and contractors for their view on the likely state of the infrastructure market in 2011. It made grim reading; margins were being hammered, and tender prices were plummeting.

High Speed Two: passenger forecasts are a risky business

Posted by Mark HansfordWed, 2 Mar 2011

Passenger forecasts are sure to come under intense scrutiny as the public consultation over Britain’s High Speed Two railway kicks off this week.

Resistance to innovation spells terminal decline for UK contractors

Posted by Mark HansfordWed, 9 Feb 2011

Late last year the Treasury’s Infrastructure UK (IUK) division confirmed what everybody has known for ages – that UK civil engineering projects are much more expensive than European ones.

The most talked about project this year won't be Crossrail – it'll be Crossrail 2

Posted by Mark HansfordTue, 1 Feb 2011

As a full public consultation on the route of the proposed High Speed 2 line from London to the north kicks off this month, prepare to hear much about the vital importance of not Crossrail, but its sister project, Crossrail 2.

Highways Agency reform: can MACs do more?

Posted by Mark HansfordTue, 18 Jan 2011

As the Highways Agency rips up its MAC maintenance contract and calls for much more for much less, contractors are asking whether there is any scope at all for more for more.

Transport minister heralds new golden age of the road?

Posted by Mark HansfordMon, 18 Jan 2010

2010 - year of doom, or new era of road building? Well, something to cling to anyway.

The sun's shining so get on your bike – but only if you're capable

Posted by Mark HansfordFri, 29 May 2009

With two days left in May and barely three weeks to the summer solstice, blazing sunshine has finally arrived in the capital - and with it the predictable plethora of “fair weather cyclists”. Should we be encouraging this hapless freewheeling amateurs?

The Great M25 mystery

Posted by Mark HansfordThu, 16 Apr 2009

According to a plethora of signs around the motorways of the south east, the £5bn widening of the M25 starts on Monday - so why do we know nothing about it?