Last week 25,000 people descended on the international property show MIPIM, and among the hordes of property developers, development agencies and nanciers, engineers too were on the hunt. And where engineers go, be it war-torn Iraq, hurricane-hit New Orleans or boozeaddled Cannes, NCE follows.
Gone are the days when you could take a fresh green eld and throw relatively simple structures on top of it. The vast majority of sizeable developments in Britain take place on polluted browneld land. The clean-up of these sites can be challenging engineering projects requiring a variety of remediation techniques. So from day one, property development and engineering go hand in hand.
Engineering expertise continues to be vital once these sites are clean and ready to build on. Most UK projects showcased at MIPIM had innercity regeneration at their heart and tended to use at least one iconic structure to act as a focal point. Birmingham, for example, unveiled its proposed 50-storey 'V Building' skyscraper and showcased its Cube building, a structure with three conventionally built walls and one consisting of a complex arrangement of cladding and gaping holes.
When it comes to regeneration there are few sites in the UK more important than London's Olympic Park and the major players were out in force.
There were representatives from delivery partner CLM, senior engineers from Olympic stadium contractor Sir Robert McAlpine and Stratford City contractor Bovis Lend Lease.
Regeneration is happening across the UK, and consultants were all aligning themselves with different regions.
For Scott Wilson it was very much the East Midlands. Its approach was simple - talk to the regional development agencies and nd out what they want to develop; talk to the developers to nd out where they are and what they want to develop; and then put the two together, mly inserting Scott's into the middle of the sandwich as providers of expert advice on all things regeneration. In one day it identi ed four strong leads in the Derby area alone.
And regeneration is more than remediation. Walk around the exhibition and it becomes obvious that for most cities and regions tall buildings are the symbol of economic prosperity.
Four years ago the Middle East pretty much had it all wrapped up. But no longer - stunning towers were being unveiled almost by the hour by cities as far apart as Moscow and Croydon. Indeed, according to WSP's tall buildings guru Bill Price there are simply not enough engineers in the world to sate the demand.
vertheless tall buildings specialists such as WSP, Whitbybird, Atkins, Adams Kara Taylor and SKM all had their top structures guys there to take advantage of this apparent boom. How often do you nd the likes of Whitbybird director Mark Whitby, Adams Kara Taylor directors Hanif Kara and Albert WilliamsonTaylor and WSP director Bill Price all in the same place, all on the hunt for the next mega project? Where? Only MIPIM.
Mark Hansford and John McKenna are respectively features editor and reporter for NCE