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Skills to rebuild communities

Trish Johnson

Civil engineers worldwide must hone their earthquake responses.

Haiti in January, Chile in February, Turkey in March and just recently Christchurch in New Zealand - 2010 has seen more than its fair share of earthquakes.

The skills of civil engineers all over the world are vital in rebuilding lives and communities in the aftermath of natural disasters and also ensuring infrastructure is designed to withstand such forces of nature.

It is essential that engineers are offered the relevant training to undertake these roles effectively, and it is with this in mind that ICE South West organised two day-long earthquake seminars this year.

Hot on the heals of March’s hugely successful ‘Introduction to Earthquake Engineering’, attended by more than 60 delegates, was the ‘Seismic Qualification’ seminar - the process of demonstrating the safe functioning of equipment and plant when subjected to earthquake loading.

This was held on 10 September at Bristol University and again hosted by Professor Colin Taylor. The seminar had a more technical slant than its predecessor.

Seismic qualification is a common requirement in the nuclear safety arena and in similar industries where the overall safety and continued functionality of critical systems is required during and following a seismic event. As such it is relevant to a wide variety of engineering roles and was also promoted by the Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics and by the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Over 50 delegates from all over the UK attended to hear four high calibre speakers present topics such as”Developing a seismic qualification test programme” and “Typical project documentation”.
A demonstration of a seismic qualification test on Bristol University’s multi axis earthquake shaking table also provided a highlight to the event.

ICE South West is currently offering a programme of seminars on a variety of other topics to build on the skills of members in the region and beyond. These include Disaster Engineering, Coastal Management and Highway Drainage.

For further information on these seminars or to book a place, contact ICE South West on 01752 895426 or

  • Trish Johnson is ICE South West’s regional director

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