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The engineer's challenge

The question

As the year end approaches, what has been the biggest challenge faced by engineers in 2005?

Sorting out the devastating affects of last year's tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

Bill Addington, 49, geotechnical consultant, Kuala Lumpur Network Rail taking maintenance in-house.

Ron Herd, retired Natural disasters - rebuilding people's homes and lives after disasters such as the Asian tsunami, tornado in Oklahoma, earthquake in Pakistan- the list goes on.

Charis Fowler, 33, principal engineer, Derby The biggest challenge of 2005 was probably trying to get recognition for the British contribution to France's breathtaking Millau Bridge. Anglo-Gallic co-operation yet again produced something special. And in return for that (or as proof) we should not forget for 2006 that Brunel himself was half French.

Jon Balley, 55, water engineer, Bucks The biggest challenge was 'To Olympics or not to Olympics', ie to participate in the making of the Olympics or not. Some companies want to stay out rather than take the risk of going for it and perhaps face penalties if the works are not finished in time. I believe if you do not risk you do not achieve enviable results. If you don't risk going for big projects like this, you stay out of the game.

Chrysostomos Loizou, 29, civil engineer, London Some things do not change.

The biggest challenge engineers have faced in 2005 has been overcoming the minimal value placed on our skills by society as a whole.

Paul Jameson, 51, head of highways, Worcester By all accounts, persuading school leavers to go into engineering. We must try to make it appeal to a broader range of young people. Perhaps too many advertisements make it appear that only high flying project managers who are good at report writing are wanted, whereas engineers are still required for the actual design and construction.

John Park, 57, senior engineer, Glasgow Keeping the world running despite the various floods, storms, earthquakes and other problems.

Mike Paul, senior engineer, 52, Stuttgart, Germany Making the government seriously listen to and implement long term strategic advice given consistently by the ICE over many years. Forty years have passed since the Club of Rome's first serious review of the environmental problems of planet Earth. In the UK, long term sustainability, infrastructural and environmental strategies continue to vie against short term tactics which catch the eye of the electorate. America's example does not help.

DD Turner, 66, retired, Co Durham.

The biggest challenge I, and many other civil engineers, have faced in 2005 is to meet the tough deadlines set by NCE for responses to The Question.

Robert Pike, 43, project manager, Exeter

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