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Smith stresses aesthetics at BCIA

SECRETARY OF State for Culture Chris Smith urged clients to recognise the need for aesthetics in structural design as he presented the 1998 British Construction Industry Awards this week.

Praising the success of this year's prize-winning designs, Smith pointed out that too often in the past, 'perpetrators generally seemed to have no notion that appearance mattered'.

'If the engineers have recognised that there was a need for an aesthetic content, they generally seem to have achieved it,' he added. 'This demonstrates that the appearance of a building or structure is not basically a matter of cost, but of additional thought.'

Construction minister Nick Raynsford also took the opportunity to press the industry to raise its game and pledged government sponsorship for a new Best Practice Award for 1999. Any project entered in a BCIA national category next year will be eligible for the award.

The winner will best reflect the aims of the Government's new Construction Best Practice Programme, due to be launched next week by Raynsford. A joint initiative with the Construction Industry Board, the programme intends to identify and promote best practice to improve profitability and competitiveness in the UK construction industry.

Judges led by Sir Nigel Mobbs, chairman of Slough Estates, gave British Airways' new Waterside headquarters the Major Project Award and upgrading of the Forth Road Bridge Towers the Civil Engineering Award. The Small Project Award went to Haileybury School's new swimming pool, Building Award to Bolton Wanderers new Reebok Stadium and International Award to Chek Lap Kok airport terminal, Hong Kong.

(See BCIA supplement, this issue)

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