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NCE’s hot topics: the hot topic this week is the geotechnical firm convicted of corporate manslaughter.

Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings has become the first company ever to be convicted under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007.

The landmark trial has brought up questions about how well engineering firms adhere to industry safety guidance, whether health and safety policies are enforced on site, and whether the company or the individual is responsible for accidents.

Read NCE’s timeline of the revelations in court here.

Also in this week’s email we bring you analysis of more of the biggest stories in civil engineering from NCE’s news team. A new weekly feature for 2011, NCE will go behind the headlines to bring you more on the big stories.

This week:

  • Innovation is being presented by the country’s construction businesses as the way to deliver the infrastructure the country needs at a price it can afford to pay. But many engineers are sometimes struggling to be able to exercise their innovative abilities in the often risk averse inertia of the corporate world. Read Jackie Whitelaw’s analysis here.
  • The NEC form of contract has become the subject of controversy after the NEC-based Cambridgeshire Guided Busway project descended into arguments between the client and contractor. But there are steps that can be taken before a project starts to give the best chance at NEC success. Read Jo Stimpson’s analysis here.
  • Plans have been drawn up to devolve some of Network Rail’s responsibilities to train operating companies as part of the rail value for money review being undertaken by former Civil Aviation Authority boss Sir Roy McNulty.But concerns about its practical application are already being raised. Read Richard Johnstone’s analysis here.

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