CIVIL ENGINEERS and construction professionals turned out in force to see, hear and discuss the industry's latest innovations and achievements at NCE's Civils 2004 show last week.
Over 8,000 visitors made the trip to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for the three day show, making it the best attended civil engineering show ever held in the UK.
Alongside over 130 companies exhibiting at the show, visitors were entertained and enlightened by 32 technical seminars plus two live debates organised by the NCE editorial team.
This included a discussion on the water industry chaired by consultant Chris Binnie and a look at the future of energy supply in the UK led by ICE board chairman David Anderson.
Other highlights included the exclusive launch to industry by Highways Agency chief executive Archie Robertson of his plans for the future of highway network management.
Robertson was joined for this key presentation to a specially invited audience by procurement director Steve Rowsell, chief highway engineer Ginnie Clarke, national traffic director David York and major projects director Keith Miller (see News page 6).
As show partner, the ICE had a strong presence at Civils 2004 offering information and advice to members and non-members alike. A reception hosted by next year's president Colin Clinton provided a top class networking opportunity.
The event was also used by the Concrete Centre as a platform to underline its current thrust to boost the positive environmental and sustainability credentials of the cement industry through a well attended series of seminars and discussion on the final day.
But Civils 2004 was also all about entertainment. The show hosted the live final of NCE's CleverClogs spring term, bringing together nine individuals and six teams to compete head to head (see page 19 for details).
Among the many other activities laid on to provide a distraction from the serious business was the Lafarge-backed Ferrari pit-stop challenge. It remained a hub of activity over the three days as teams vied to change a Formula 1 wheel in record time.
Wednesday also saw 42 teams take part in the RedR challenge, raising over £25,000 for charity by tackling a two hour test of mental and physical agility around the show (see page 18).
Over 130 companies displayed their products and services at Civils 2004 giving visitors a mass of new and up-todate technical information, ideas and inspiration. For more information visit www. nceplus.co.uk Civils Best Product Awards Antec managing director Malcolm Macpherson (second right) is joined by Werner Kotterer (left) and Ann Macpherson to receive the Civils Best Product Award from NCE editor Antony Oliver.
Antec's innovative Shaftfix device to ensure the safe handling of manhole rings also won the overall Interbuild Best Product Award. Others shortlisted in the Civils Awards were ACO Technologies for its Qmax drainage system, Evans Innovations for its kerb stone spacers and Pennine Vibropiling for its mini stratacaster rig.
'Civils has been really good. This is the first year we have exhibited here and we are really pleased. We are certainly coming back next year.' Andrew Bowyer, business developer, Howden Insurance.
'The New Product Awards definitely gave us a boost. The competition is an ideal showcase for new products, especially for entrepreneurs within the civil engineering field.' Richard Evans, Evans Innovations - finalist in the Civils Best Product Awards Doing business, networking and boosting your professional development was all key to delivering NCE live at the NEC.
This included question time sessions on the water industry (bottom right) and the future of energy supply in the UK (bottom left). Technical seminars plus a wealth of information from the ICE (below) made Civils 2004 a must visit for civil engineers. Massages were on hand for the weary (top right).