Quentin Leiper 2006-07 Weblog


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The weblog records of Quentin Leiper, ICE President 2006-07

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Quentin Leiper 2006-07 Weblog

  1. 1. Quentin LeiperICE President 2006-7Weblogs
  2. 2. Weeks one and two Canary Wharf Station and Green Park – both stations I’ve been involved in as a geotechnical engineer.Off to a great start Day 2 (Thursday 9 November 2006)Day 0 (Tuesday 7 November 2006) Carillion day. I spent some time responding to the wellThe formal handover started at 6pm, and I started my wishes I had received from friends and colleagues and alsoaddress at 6.30pm on the chime of the clock, nervous, but sent out a note to my Telford Apprentices to thank them forexcited and very proud. I delivered the address with the aid attending my address and to set them a first task. I will letof an autocue – not an easy task for someone accustomed you know how they get on.to speaking freely to slides – but the Presidential Addressis special. I completed the final words as the clock chimed Day 3 (Friday 10 November 2006)– a remarkable coincidence – and one which later raised Up at 5.45am to catch a train to Paris to visit ourcomments about the accuracy of my prediction to the Committee and members there. I took a call from oursecond! 111 Slides, 4 video clips and 7500 words is quite environmental helpline at 7am, and dealt with it just beforeexhausting, I am so glad I trimmed it down from the we entered the Channel Tunnel. Tom Foulkes was delayedprevious word count of 9800 words! at Waterloo and taken to Tottenham Court Road Police Station because of his “credit card toolkit” which police hadThe next task was to unveil my portrait assisted by Ben decided was an offensive weapon. I realise you can do a lotWilson who in his final year at school. He is keen to become of damage with credit cards – up until now it has only beena civil engineer and had asked to attend my address. John the bank balance which has suffered!Edwards (www.johnedwardsrp.com) was the artist. It isan amazing skill and I am delighted with the portrait After We were met at Gare du Nord, Paris by local associationthe unveiling, it was time to socialise and I spent the next Vice Chairman William Powles, who drove us to our hotel,two hours chatting briefly with as many people as possible, where we dropped off our bags before walking to a nearbynot easy when about 370 people attended the event. A restaurant, Le Bistrot Marius for a light lunch with the Localfantastic event, a fantastic day and a great demonstration Association Committee. Next stop was the Musée Du Quaiof the professionalism of the ICE events team, catering and Branly (www.quaibranly.fr). There we were given a mosthouse staff. Guests who had not visited OGGS before were excellent talk in French by Madame Danu Vanneyre, Chefseriously impressed by the building, its facilities and the de Programation Du Musée, and Monsieur Didier Braut,service. Chef du projet at L’atelier Jean Nouvel on the evolution of the project. Collection areas included an unpartitionedDay 1 (Wednesday 8 November 2006) geographical itinerary, presenting 3,500 artefacts from theUp at 7.15am to buy croissants, orange juice and fruit for four corners of the world.breakfast for the family. I went to OGGS for a briefing withOivind Grismo and Allyson Lewis from the Areas Team Local Association member Philip Garbutt provided afor my trip Paris on Friday. My second meeting at 10am “whispering translation” for some sections where Iwas with David Lloyd Roach, Director of Membership was finding difficulty in understanding the technicalwho brought me up to speed on our qualifications and presentations. Both presentations were excellent inmembership activities. At 11am I went on a tour to meet describing the development of the fantastic design byICE staff members. I was struck by their positive and happy international architect Jean Nouvel. The complexities of thestyle. At lunch time I briefly joined the regional Chairman’s design form had created real engineering challenges formeeting and addressed them briefly. I am very much looking geotechnical and structural engineers which of course wereforward to visiting the regions during my year of office. ably met by the civil engineers involved in the project. After the presentations we toured the museum – FANTASTIQUE!Following this brief encounter I went to the ThomasTelford offices and met their staff. On the tube I was asked Next I delivered my address in full, for a second time andfor directions by someone and it turned out he is a civil presented local association Chairman Christian Grandjeanengineer from the Czech Republic, so I suggested that he with his Fellowship Certificate and also a Presidential gift –visited the ICE at One Great George Street, handing him a a memento of Telford, our first President. There followedcopy of the NCE magazine in the process. We were joined about 30 minutes of questions and debate and I was onbriefly in discussion by an ICE member working for Scott the receiving end of some tough questions! I thought myWilson. What a coincidence that I should meet two civil readers might like to try a few too!engineers in this way on my first day! As well as a visit to 1
  3. 3. So please feel free to add your comments on the following, industry who have fallen on hard times. It also supportsand I will pass them to our Engineering Policy team: impoverished students to study construction related subjects. Within minutes the 1250 attending the dinner1) Should the Institution encourage the government to had, between them raised approaching £20,000! Theincrease taxes on fuel, water and aggregates in order to auction of a mini car raised another £10,000. I was a guestreduce their consumption? of Bill Francis, past president of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Lighthouse Club…. Thank you Bill and2) Should the Institution promote a £10,000 tax for the Club for an excellent evening.detached houses to encourage people to live in blocksof flats - hence creating massive savings in energy and Day 7 (Tuesday 14 November 2006)materials? Dealt with my post and some papers. Meeting at 9am with Mark Broadhurst, Chairman of the Environment and3) What is the Institution and its members doing about Sustainability Board, and Engineering Policy and Innovationmentoring? Are we doing enough? Should we do more? If team members Andrew Crudgington (Policy Manager) andso – what should the Institution and its members do? Chrissie Pepper (Senior Policy Executive) to be briefed on the joint project we have to develop a sustainable developmentWe returned to our hotel at 11pm Paris time – a long but strategy and action plan for the civil engineering sector.“fantastique” day! Thanks to Robert Broatch for arranging This is a collaborative project with the Civil Engineeringmy first and most memorable presidential visit. A real Contractors Association, the Construction Industry Researchchallenge to our other regions and countries to match!). and Information Association (CIRIA), and the ConcreteGrateful thanks too for Christian as our excellent host, to Products Association. The objective of the strategy is toWilliam Powles for moving us to all the right places; to Philip help all those working in our sector to understand whatfor his whispering skills and his photography (and I am sustainability is all about and what (with simple guidance!)expecting to see some great photos!) My address starts with we can all do about it. Watch this space! I am delighted tothe words “good evening to the family of civil engineers” be asked to sponsor the project.– I really felt the family atmosphere and friendship in Paris –Thank you everyone! More meetings before lunch to discuss the developing plans for the Thomas Telford celebrations next year, the soon toDay 4 (Saturday 11 November 2006) be launched “down the drain” game for primary schoolsA public holiday in France to mark Armistice Day (11/11/45), and my own diary activities for the next month.Paris was full of people and Dorothy and I spent the day as Following lunch I attended the first Executive Board meetingtourists before catching our Eurostar train home. We arrived of the 2006/7 session. The substantive discussions were onhome tired, but still elated by the exciting week we had the 2007 budget (in preparation for discussion at Councilboth had. on 12 December 2006), the bylaw changes required to put the new governance structure into place (following theDay 5 (Sunday 12 November 2006) Council decision on this on 1 November) and a discussionA day of rest and needed! Time to catch up on household on the feedback from Council on our discussions with thejobs, play a little clarinet, see the children and relax. Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The protocol in these (indeed all) matters, is for the Executive Board to takeDay 6 (Monday 13 November 2006) soundings and prepare a discussion paper for Council toCarillion day back on the email system, so the 72 emails I debate.had written on the various train journeys over the weekendsped off into the ether and I turned my mobile phone on for Return home in time to play a little clarinet and meet upthe first time since Saturday to find 12 messages – luckily with friends for a late drink.not all required responses. The highlight of the day was ameeting with one of our young leadership groups to discuss Day 8 (Wednesday 15 November 2006)and initiate a special project for them based on the Business Carillion day.in the Community (BITC) Corporate Responsibility Index. I receive an email to advise me that the East of ScotlandLate pm train to London to attend the 50th Annual has now appointed a Telford Apprentice, Doug Forbes,Lighthouse Club dinner. And what an event! The so now we have 13! Welcome! Doug graduated from theLighthouse Club (www.lighthouseclub.org) is a benevolent University of Edinburgh in 2004 and last year started a PhDcharity which supports those in need in the construction in Construction Management at the University of Dundee. 2
  4. 4. He is also going to co-ordinate the Scottish Demonstration infrastructure, then now is the time to consider enteringProjects - an opportunity to showcase innovation within the them for an award next year. I am sure that help could beconstruction industry. provided so that you can understand the format of the entries… mentoring by any other name!In the evening I meet up with the Reverend PrebendaryAndy Roberts, Team Rector of the Bridgnorth Churches My thanks and congratulations to the judges who have nowand rector of St.Mary Magdelene Church in Bridgnorth to judged the awards since their inception 9 years ago. Theydiscuss Telford celebrations being planned in and around are:Telford’s first church. ■ Professor Roland Paxton (PHEW) ■ Terry Girdler (English Heritage)I present him with a box of postcards of the Church as ■ Andrew Leadbeater (County Surveyors’ Society)a thank you for giving his permission to me to use a ■ Mike Winney (Editor-Emeritus of NCE)photograph of the church in my “Presidential Postcard”. Iam using these postcards to send a personal note to people Thanks too to awards secretary David Greenfield whoI come in contact with over the year. So far I have written coordinated the judging and provided those present with anover 40. My handwriting is not improving yet! excellent summary of the entries and winners and ICE’s Val Lawless, who provides administrative support and organisesDay 9 (Thursday 16 November 2006) the awards event and lunch in One Great George Street.Early train to London and just time to deal with some post Grateful thanks are also due for the event sponsorsbefore I meet with Ken Williams (Maintenance Supervisor) Network Rail, English Heritage and British Waterways andto discuss some alternative paintings and drawings for for the support and involvement of the County Surveyors’the President’s office. I go to places in One Great George Association.Street I’ve never been to before to look at options! At10am I meet with Roland Paxton, Vice Chairman of the ICE This event was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate ourPanel for Historic Engineering Works (PHEW, remembered Institution’s involvement and support for such events.the name!). Roland briefs me on the “Historic bridge and I conclude the day with a meeting with Tom Foulkes and aInfrastructure” awards and this year’s winners. train journey home.Three excellent projects received commendations and two Day 10 (Friday 17 November 2006)projects won awards. Carillion day and a busy one. Two meetings (our Appeals and Sustainability committees)The two award winners were: and time to catch up on the day job. I was able to thankThe Fossdyke Railway embankment protection scheme in Jonathon Porritt, one of the external advisors on our BoardLincolnshire. This was an elegantly engineered “soft” and Sustainability Committee, for attending my address lastvery environmental solution… brilliant and the kingfishers week and handed him a full copy of the address and thewere saved too! accompanying slides (111).The Fritwell Railway Bridge assessment. This was a new Day 11 (Saturday 18 November 2006)and elegant method of analysing plate girder bridges. The Household, shopping, clarinet and hockey (we lost narrowly,method has saved client Network Rail millions of pounds. but enjoyed it).Both these projects and the commended “3” exemplifiedthe value of engineering knowledge and the benefits of Day 12 (Sunday 19 November 2006)sustainable solutions…. two of the key Telford legacies Cycle ride in the Wyre Forrest with the family and a musicI focused on in my Presidential address (have you read it lesson with my “music mentor”/ teacher Brad Robert.yet?).The Secretary to the awards, David Greenfield introducedthe projects and I had the pleasure of meeting with andpresenting the awards to the excellent teams responsiblefor their delivery. This was a fantastic event. We shoulddo more to celebrate our work as civil engineers andour excellent civil engineers of today! If you are workingon a project to refurbish or repair historic bridges or 3
  5. 5. Week three delighted by a lovely letter from Professor Robert Mair who had attended my address. I finally got round to sending myDowning Street thanks to my new friends in the France Local Association.Day 13 (Monday 20 November) At 9.30am I met with a visiting delegation from theCarillion day. Sent off my first 2 weeks weblog. Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers led by their President, Martin Manuhwa. We discuss sustainability, the engineers’Day 14 (Tuesday 21 November) response to the Millennium Goals, our cooperationCarillion part day. Meeting with our graduate recruitment agreement, the African Engineers’ Forum, the potentialteam. for construction in Africa, skills shortages and the ways in which we can create mutual benefits for both ourTravel to London for an interview with Darell Smart from memberships. We have 85 members in Zimbabwe and ZIEICES (Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors) magazine. have about 100 members across all engineering disciplines.This was followed by a visit to 10 Downing Street, at the My next meeting was a discussion with Deborah Seddoninvitation of Cherie Blair. The Institution and the Royal (Education and Learning Manager) on ideas for the nextInstitute of British Architects have initiated and supported ACED/IStructE /ICE conference. ACED is the AssociationThe Green Wing project, working with a group of Year 11 of Civil Engineering Departments. The conference givesstudents (aged 15-16) from Cedar Mount High School, an the three bodies, plus other academics the opportunity toimproving inner-city comprehensive in East Manchester. discuss education matters. Education does matter! I will ofCherie had visited their exhibition in Manchester in course be promoting the sustainability agenda and will beOctober and was much impressed by their ideas and the interested to find out how well it is becoming embedded inway they presented them. The students were invited by our education of civil engineers.RIBA and ICE to take part in this unique project to designan environmentally friendly Prime Minister’s office and I sign my first membership certificate for David Richardresidence on Duck Island in St James’s Park, London. The Morgan, welcome David!resulting design gives politicians and the public a real More post and postcards and in the evening I am a guestinsight into what young people believe represents a suitable of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at their annualcontemporary and sustainable residence for the Prime dinner. I meet with lots of their young engineers, includingMinister. 2 of their 4 “President’s apprentices”. The excellent after dinner speech by Mike Baunton of Caterpillar was aThe school students’ proposal was exhibited at the Labour splendid analysis of the real benefits and opportunities ofParty Conference in Manchester in October and again in St becoming an engineer.James Park this week. And what a fantastic project, withso many ideas! Their output was illustrated in drawings, Day 16 (Thursday 23 November)models, photographs and a film - and included plans for an Early start for a train from London to Wolverhampton for aunderwater cabinet room and a ‘panic room’, reflecting the 10am meeting on sustainability. Carillion day.students’ concern about security. Day 17 (Friday 24 November)I returned to the Institution to catch up on post and Holiday, Dorothy and I go Christmas shopping insignatures (certificates and some Christmas cards I am Shrewsbury. I fail to visit the castle and gaol… two of thesending out in my capacity as Chairman of the Benevolent projects, both refurbishments, which put Thomas TelfordFund). on the road to becoming the great civil engineer (pun not intended!).My next appointment was a Carillion one at the TateModern, where I attended the launch of our new TPS Day 18 (Saturday 25 November)consultancy. A great opportunity to meet up with great No hockey, our opposition had pulled out of the league.engineers, architects, clients, developers and promoters of Went to a lunchtime jazz event at the Black Boy inconstruction. Bridgnorth. Tried out the new “Bridgnorth Cheddar, cave cured” from the delicatessen…. It went down very well withDay 15 (Wednesday 22 November) the ale and jazz!Fruit for breakfast… I heard about Gordon’s 120 dinners!I did some reading and attended to more post. I was 4
  6. 6. Day 19 (Sunday 26 November)More clarinet practice and, late pm a lesson… we are onsome Mozart at the moment. I learn that Mozart wrotetwinkle twinkle little star (at the age of 8!). Selected somegood apples to replenish the bags we leave at the gate forwalkers to collect. A friend comes to collect the last of thewindfalls for his horses. he takes a dozen enormous (andheavy) bags! Dorothy and I then rake and collect up the lastof the leaves. 5
  7. 7. Week four Thank you to Alastair Andrew, General Manager and Bridgemaster and Barry Crawford for an excellentRegional visit to Scotland presentation and discussion.Day 20 (Monday 27 November) Our next visit was to meet with students and staff at HeriotCarillion day. Travel to London pm for retirement dinner Watt University. I summarised the main elements of myfor new Council Member Peter Jefferies and took the address (only one slide!) and showed a short video clipopportunity to have a meeting about the sustainable which shows why the sustainability agenda is so importantprocurement conference the Institution is holding in and demonstrates the big responsibility and opportunityFebruary and to catch up on my post and postcards. we, as civil engineers, have in delivering better and moreFantastic dinner with 10 of us and we raised £260 and 50 sustainable solutions.Euros for charity in the process. My Telford Apprentice, Doug Forbes, then delivered aNight sleeper to Edinburgh to embark on my first visit to a splendid presentation on what young engineers canregion. An experience! Bumps and squeaks abounded for and should do and we then all discussed the issues.a while and at times we glided so smoothly through the Contributions from James, Chris, Sophie, Peter, Alastaircountryside that I thought the train had stopped on one and George. I am impressed as to how switched on theseoccasion when I woke. students are. They were keen that sustainability targets were stretching and that the Institution and its membershipDay 21 (Tuesday 28 November) (77,000) showed leadership and exerted their influence inI was delighted to find the water was piping hot in the this area. Need I say more!morning and was able to make my breakfast meetingrefreshed. I reached the meeting early and met up with The party then travelled into Edinburgh city to meet withDoug Forbes, the Telford Apprentice for the East of Supervising Civil Engineers, the driving force of membersScotland Region. We were then joined by helping our younger engineers to become professionallyAlasdair Macleod (East of Scotland Chairman) and Drew Hill qualified. Our mentors, trainers and developers of the(Edinburgh Branch Chairman) who briefed me on my visit Telfords of tomorrow. I spoke about mentoring and Tomand the civil engineering issues in the region. Foulkes briefed everyone on CPD, training and development and our exciting plans for delivering engineering knowledgeFollowing a light breakfast (mainly fruit!) we set off for our to our members and society in the future (see my Addressfirst visit of the day to the Forth Road Bridge where we were and Council minutes for more details).given an excellent briefing on the case and urgency for anew crossing. Some tough questions and lively debate followed. We need more of these active and involved members! I wasInitially carrying just a “handful” of million vehicles a year, encouraged to learn that we could now reach 53% of ourthe bridge now carries 24 million exceeding its congestion members by email… are you signed up yet?limit every day. In addition the bridge is now carrying twiceits DESIGN live load of 2,880 tonnes (it’s OK, there is still In my final meeting of the day I joined the East of Scotlanda factor of safety of 2!).I was fascinated to hear that in a Regional Committee at their committee meeting. At its100 mile an hour wind, the bridge deck moves over 23 feet conclusion I was presented with a rivet from the Forth(sideways!). Bridge as a memento of my visit by Chairman Alasdair Macleod on behalf of the region and committee. Thank youMaintenance is becoming an increasing problem in both East of Scotland… and we were only half way through thecost and its severe impact on congestion. Two key issues are visit!surfacing and the cables. Axle loads and traffic volume havereduced road surface life from 25 to 8 years…and like other In the evening I was joined by Dorothy who had taken themajor suspension bridges there are emerging corrosion train from Wolverhampton and we had an hour to meetproblems (and strand failures), which need to be monitored up with Edinburgh University student son Edward for a fewcarefully. It is evident that some rapid thought and rapid minutes before changing for the Annual Dinner.decisions are needed to deliver a new Forth crossing beforelorry traffic is severely reduced and communities and Hosted by Chairman Alasdair Macleod and organisedcommerce on the north side suffer as a consequence. by Clive Kennedy, it was a splendid occasion. I present some awards, including the fourth Spirit of Telford Award 6
  8. 8. to Ian Salisbury. Ann Faulds, Head of Transportation & weeks to enable the students to tackle a hurricane disasterPlanning Law at Dundas & Wilson proposed the toast to the recovery activity modelled on one in Honduras.Institution, to which I replied (17 minutes, and yes, therewas a sweepstake at one of the tables I later spoke with!). Great briefings, discussions, planning and training over two weeks enabled the students to take part in a one day multiI was of course promoting the value of engineering activity day, building and testing shelters, restoring waterknowledge, the sustainability agenda and the need to supplies, foraging and cooking disaster food (I describe theenergise, mentor and develop young members for the circumstances here, not the taste!). For the students it wasbenefit of the profession AND society. ”not like school”, “better than school” and “fantastic”, for the teachers as it was delivering the curriculum in a veryInternational footballer, sports commentator, writer and different, yet very exciting way.raconteur Gordon Smith responded to the toast to theguests, delivered by Drew Hill, Chairman of the Edinburgh The teachers turned multidisciplinary. Great teams wereArea branch. built. Commitment was 100%. What an achievement… what influencing skills and drive Brian had shown toDay 22 (Wednesday 29 November) persuade his head teacher to take such a risk. What visionWe set off at 9am for Edinburgh Airport to see the new that head teacher had shown. And what a success it has all57m high landmark control tower building. As exciting as been! Great for the school, great for the teachers, great forthe lighthouses of old and unsurprisingly, an award winner. the students and great for promoting engineering!In fact THE award winner in the Saltire Awards. The viewfrom the top is just stunning. On the sunny and clear day A geography teacher was speaking Spanish to students,we could see for miles and, with the two Forth crossings in who were enjoying maths without realising it! Fundsthe distance, looked down on the runways and taxiways. were raised for one of the villages affected in HondurasThe right tool for the demanding job of safely directing the (a commitment which is continuing) and above all else,aircraft, and an elegant and well engineered building. everyone had FUN.Late morning we set off for Carnoustie to meet with the And it is spreading, as good news does. There was more.Dundee Branch and be briefed on their schools initiatives. Angela Gardner explained how she took on the challengeWe were joined by representatives from local universities, to run the project at Pitlochry High School. She explainedCareers Scotland and local education authorities. the hard work needed to prepare and run the event and the essential input from engineers. She explained with passionThere was real WOW factor in the first two briefings from the excitement of the students and staff alike and the realJohn McPartlin who explained how school children were and measurable benefits delivered. She could have been aenthused by building and dismantling a purpose built 15 star actress playing a part, but she was not, she was tellingmetre suspension bridge, and walk over it all in a one hour it from the heart. And 20 more schools are now in planninglesson session! to take on the “Rapid Response Challenge”.David Kennedy from the Aberdeen Association of Engineers I was knocked out. It was humbling to see what had beenthen briefed us on their “Engineering for Life” festivals, achieved.once again energising and enthusing young people aboutengineering. By now I was pretty impressed and would have I immediately made a commitment to help spread the wordleft encouraged and amazed by the great mentoring skills and to help the challenge become national. Ideas from anyand efforts of our members. readers would help and please do spread the word to other schools about this… well worth a look. I’ve dropped anAnd then, and then… we went ballistic! email to NCE editor Antony Oliver about it too. I will also be getting together with Alasdair Macleod and his team to seeBrian McArtney presented the Rapid Response Engineering how we can help more.Challenge. An ICE and Carnoustie High School special!Teacher Brian McArtney, ICE members Alasdair Macleod Mentoring delivers results! What an achievement!and Ian Martin and John Smith (CIOB) have produced aneducational experience. Brian, with young secondary school The day was not over. Tired, but elated, we all went tostudents Ciara, Samantha, Jack and Danny (the resident Dundee to meet with members and students at Discoverycomedian!) explained how school was cancelled for two Point. 7
  9. 9. We passed a full café as we approached the Point and I you (and I assume the Institution) doing?” I am asked. Isoon realised it was full of students (and members) enjoying suggest we all need to do something… lots of small brickstea and sandwiches before my presentation. Incredibly they in the wall! Thanks to Ross, Kate, Martin, Edward andall moved into and filled the lecture theatre. Natalie and Russell for your contributions to the discussion. I leave knowing that civil engineering has some future stars!I spoke for about 40 minutes (50 slides this time after aquick cut from the 111 in my address) and there followed We drove to Ayr for our next appointment. The Glasgowanother excellent presentation from Telford apprentice and West of Scotland Region had noted that the famousDoug and some lively discussion on training, mentoring and road builder John Louden Macadam was born 250 yearsthe sustainability agenda. ago this year and wanted to celebrate this with a plaque on the house where he was born.Thank you Neil for the link to innovation, and to Peterand Frances for your contributions. I enjoyed the event We met with Provost, Winifred Sloan, Chief Executive Tomimmensely and valued the contributions and the social and Cairns and engineers from South Ayrshire Council andengineering chats afterwards as we took on more snacks Institution members for lunch and some brief speeches priorand fluids. to braving the rain to perform the unveiling ceremony.The evening closed with a small group taking a light meal Coincidently, the owner of the flat above the Touristback at our hotel. An opportunity to thank Doug for joining Information Office on the ground floor of the buildingthe Presidential visit, Walter and Murray for the architectural arrived just as we had unveiled the plaque and invited thetour they provided for Dorothy and Tom Foulkes’ wife Sally party to tour the building’s interior. I was most taken byand the Dundee team for such an excellent and uplifting the curved wooden doors on the circular staircase: realday. attention to detail in design! We returned to Glasgow to change for the biggest Institution dinner in the world, as itDay 23 (Thursday 30 November) was claimed later in the evening.8.20am train to Glasgow. Tom Foulkes and I discussInstitution business. On arrival, we are met by Glasgow and Some 900 members and guests were in attendance.West of Scotland Chairman Alan Simpson and drop our During the pre-dinner drinks I was delighted to have thebags off at the hotel. opportunity to present Professor Hugh Sutherland with a ”President’s Gift” and a copy of my address (complete withDorothy and Sally head for the retail therapy apparently slides). Well, he had given me plenty of notes to read overrequired and Tom and I go with Alan to the Rankine the years I was one of his students! Back to the dinner. ItBuilding at the University of Glasgow. We are met by was a fantastic event and I admit to being slightly nervousProfessor Simon Wheeler, Head of Department and a fellow about addressing an audience of this scale.geotechnical engineer. I spent a great deal of my studentdays in this building, so it was a great pleasure to return to Our Regional Chairman Alan Simpson showed no sucha place with so many memories. nerves despite having the daunting task of addressing the haggis, which he did with fire and emotion…. an awesomeThis morning I was meeting with students and staff from performance! He has a talent which will provide him withCaledonian, Strathclyde, Paisley and Glasgow Universities as many Burn’s night dinners as he could wish for (a newand Stow College. I summarised my address in 10 minutes career Alan?). Perhaps that is the destiny of all the region’sand show one slide and the two minute sustainability video chairmen. The Glasgow dinner expects every chairman toclip. Next the region’s Telford Apprentice Alex Feretzakis do his duty. Alan performed his magnificently.stepped in to inspire the group with his enthusiasm abouthis experience and the career opportunities ahead. Soon Dr. Malcolm Reed, Chief Executive of Transport for Scotland, was proposing the toast to the Institution. ByThe floor was then open to questions and discussion now I was at ease and delivered the reply on behalf ofranging across world poverty and development work, the Institution. This time, in deference to the Glasgowmillennium goals, engineering course content, global audience’s preference for brevity, I spoke for probably onlywarming, sustainability and the need to enthuse and 10 minutes. I presented some awards, including the fourthmotivate all young engineers. Spirit of Telford Award to Ian Salisbury. After the meal I was able to relax and enjoy somethingThe final point was becoming a regular theme. “What are stronger than the H2O which had sustained me all evening 8
  10. 10. while I toured the room with Dorothy chatting to friends oldand new. As with the Edinburgh dinner, I felt a welcome Tired, but elated, Dorothy and I head for the train home.and warmth that makes you appreciate the fellowship ofour Institution. Another fantastic day. I finish the day with a glass of Macallan, from a bottle kindly presented to me by Alex, and listening to jazz singer MelodyDay 24 (Friday 1 December) Diachun (Lullaby of the Leaves). A fitting close to a fantasticThe day started with yet another event I was privileged to trip to Scotland. Good luck with the bid everyone!attend. Together with committee members and membersfrom the Region, I was invited to a presentation from the Day 25 (Saturday 2 December)Glasgow team bidding for the Commonwealth Games Play clarinet and hockey. In the evening at the hockeyin 2014. Would I back the bid? Should the Institution? club we celebrate one of our young players who has justABSOLUTELY!! been selected for the England Under 16 squad. A great achievement, well done David Devey!Yet again this week I experienced a real WOW factor. Ourhost was Ian Bruce (Member), Head of Policy, Planning and Day 26 (Sunday 3 December)Projects at Glasgow City Council. He is leading a fantastic Play clarinet and some saxophone. I respond to blogteam (I note that I need to get a new dictionary with lots feedback on the web and deal with some ICE and Companymore superlatives in, everywhere I go as President I meet emails. Dorothy and I have a long and windy walk. Musicexcellence). lesson. Sorting shoes and shirts for next week (cleaning and ironing!).We were treated to a series of polished, professional andcomprehensive presentations which left me excited andenthused about the bid. What vision and clever thought hadbeen given to developing existing facilities and the legacyissues. Athletes, media, spectators and Glasgow citizenshave all been carefully considered… and the workinglives and commerce of Glaswegians will be enhanced, notdisrupted. My congratulations to the bid team.Rob Shorthouse, George Vincent, Martin Waters and EimearKelt were the excellent presenters. They described thecomplexities of the logistics, the “green” and sustainableapproach adopted, the incredible planning and indeedthinking and lateral thinking in delivering the facilities,transport, communications and accommodation (includingfood!). I was exhausted just by the thought of it all.Following the presentations, we visited the proposed site forthe athlete’s village. Again a great deal of thought has beenput into the use of the facilities following the games, if thebid is successful (be positive…when successful!). A greatopportunity to deliver regeneration in this city.The (11,000) athletes accommodation (all bedrooms anden suite facilities) will be converted back to housing. Sobedrooms become kitchens, bedrooms will become loungesand (the most fundamental statement I heard all day)bedrooms will be bedrooms!In summary, the team is inspired. Those of us present wereall inspired too. What an opportunity for civil engineers tohelp deliver a great games… so back the bid!www.glasgow2014.com 9
  11. 11. Week five Who are EWB? I hope by now you have diverted onto theirRegional visit to Northern website for a few minutes of inspiration. Student driven, 16 branches and 1,400 members. Note here a shortage ofIreland engineers… and here are some who stick their heads abovePosted: 11/12/2006 the parapet and actually do something!! Employable or what! We discuss some ideas as to how the EWB awarenessDay 27 (Monday 4 December) level could be raised and I challenge Robin to help me putCarillion & ICE mixed day. Train to London. Useful time to some key people around a table to discuss these ideaswrite thank you postcards and catch up on emails. At One further and to develop more. Thank you Robin for takingGreat George Street I sign certificates and attend to more the initiative.post and emails. I just make it a little late to my dinner, a small group ofTom Foulkes and I then attend a Royal Academy of constructors, planning experts and lawyers, hosted byEngineering Luncheon with RAE President Lord Browne Andrew Hibbert of lawyers Pinsent Mason. We discuss theof Madingley and other Presidents and Chief Executives/ construction market, the problems which arise in contractsDirector Generals of the major engineering institutions. Lord and the importance of recognising and addressing technicalBrowne had called us together to discuss how we can make and contractual problems early. Engineers need to beengineering more central to society. proactive! Andrew asked what lawyers could do to help address the climate change and sustainability agenda. AHe challenged us to ask why we should do this and how we fundamental question, and one which will I believe lead toengineers could become catalysts in areas of the economy a business opportunity for the law companies who ask thiswhere it is developing in the future. In addition, how could and find the answer. Thank you Andrew.we attract the great engineers of tomorrow to join ourengineering professions and deliver the challenges we face Day 28 (Tuesday 5 December)- the very security of the planet! We debated the priorities Early start (6.30am) to respond to emails and then intoand set an action plan to start addressing them. the Institution before 9am for a series of meetings. First a briefing and discussion on the Council papers for ourThe first focus will be on climate change and energy. I meeting of 12 December. Then a briefing on my trip to thedo not want to steal the RAE’s thunder by writing too Northern Ireland Region and a meeting to discuss invitationsmuch detail just yet, so watch this space for further for the Annual Dinner. This will be hosted by the Westdevelopments! I have a good feeling that progress will be Midlands Region this year on 1 March.made. Then followed two more meetings. The first was one ofReturning to the Institution, Tom and I hold a brief meeting my regular “update” meetings with Tom Foulkes and theto update IMechE on the Council’s guidance on our closer second was a briefing on the Benevolent Fund from Williamworking initiative and received some criticism about my Kemp. I was chairing their meeting in the afternoon andaddress. This was followed by a visit to RedR’s offices to really appreciated William’s help in understanding the issueshand over the charity money raised last Monday. Note it in more detail. It is good to talk and the briefing turnedwas split between two charities. 2D minutes into a 3D picture for me. Excellent, thank you William!Back to the day job and then a brief meeting withour communications team about the Rapid Response I then joined the Benevolent Fund Committee for lunchEngineering Challenge. and chaired the meeting. What excellent work it does distributing over £600,000 to members, former membersMy final meeting of the day, at short notice, was with Robin and their dependants in need of our help. The beneficiariesCampbell. In the NCE Graduates Awards last week three of are ALL ages… so don’t forget to let your family know therethe six finalists had donated their prize money to Engineers is a listening ear and some REAL support. So many movingWithout Borders. That evening another six organisations stories. It was a humbling experience. Returned home too“signed up” and a further £12,000 was pledged! Robin was late and tired to blow clarinet.bursting with enthusiasm and came in to the Institution tolet me know. 15 minutes turned into 45 and I was gettinglate for my next event! 10
  12. 12. Day 29 (Wednesday 6 December) Day 30 (Thursday 7 December)Left home at 6am for a flight to Belfast with Dorothy to The day starts with a visit to the Parliament Buildings atstart our visit to the Northern Ireland Region. We were met Stormont. A fantastic building and terrific value for £1.7by Regional Manager Wendy Blundell and whisked off to a million!meeting with members in senior positions and consultants,contractors and clients hosted by NI Region Chairman John We then go to Harland and Wolff for a briefing by DavidMcMillen. McVeigh on the docks, the cranes, the regeneration and the reinvigorated Harland and Wolff business. Ship buildingWe discussed students, skills, recruitment, attracting and has been carried out on the site since the 16th century.retaining staff. This was all in the context of a booming H&W can no longer compete in the “big ship” business, soeconomy and construction market in Northern Ireland. I they have turned to refurbishment, servicing and specialistwas delighted to hear the importance everyone placed on design and build work. There are so many parallels withmentoring, developing and motivating their staff. There the construction industry. Design excellence, prefabrication,was considerable discussion about qualifications and complexity is their core marketplace. So look out for thethe need to encourage more contractors to promote the jetty link in Liverpool, the James Joyce Bridge in Dublin, thebenefits of chartered status (AND HENCE PROMOTE THE Foyle Bridge and lots of offshore windfarms!INDIVIDUAL!!). The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly a trip up Goliath,There were concerns about those graduating with BEng one of their two giant cranes (the other one is Sampson. Idegrees who did not understand their route to Chartered guess you could have guessed that!). Lifting 840 tonnes andEngineer status. This also was one of the issues the spanning 110 metres between rails it is indeed impressivegraduates and students were to raise the following day. and the view from the top was incredible. Even the 50m wide, 350m long dry dock looked small.The next event was a trip to Maze/Long Kesh. We arejoined for this and the rest of the presidential visit by We thanked hosts Joris Minne and David McVeigh andTelford Apprentice Patricia McElduff. This of course was a dashed to our next meeting with Nigel Hamilton, Headplace of internment and imprisonment for many decades. of the Civil Service, and senior colleagues at StormontWith prisoners and internees long gone, it was now a Castle. We discussed the major (£16 billion) investmentregeneration site. A massive 360 acres for development into programme in Northern Ireland for the next 10 years anda stadium, housing, a reconciliation centre and business. the opportunities and need for civil engineers and civilKate McCulloch gave us a real insight into the living engineering in its delivery. We were all delighted to hearconditions, the development of the facility and the real that sustainability will be a fundamental element of thisstress everyone there was under. Staff, prison officers, the programme. Northern Ireland is indeed a vibrant andarmy and the “residents”. A moving experience. I cannot confident region!put into words my feelings. By now we were overrunning our programme and weThe phrase which came to mind really refers to the violence arrived a little late to meet up with graduates and studentsand actions which brought so many to the Maze, “man’s at the Belfast Sewers project. I gave a short summary ofinhumanity to man”. How can a sophisticated society breed my Presidential Address and then opened the floor to aso much hate and violence? Like many others, I do not discussion on the sustainability agenda and what we ascondone violence of any sort. Like many others, I wonder engineers can and should do. We all then went into workhow we can work together to avoid it. I feel helpless, but I group mode and were split into four groups to discuss fourguess we must all lead by example in our own lives and try issues of concern to the graduate and student members into influence others to do the same. Northern Ireland. We discussed:The regeneration of Maze/Long Kesh provides a greatopportunity for civil engineers and for the whole Northern ■ earlier qualifications/barriers to early qualificationIreland community. Thank you Kate. ■ G&S expectations of the Institution ■ ICE voting rights for G&S membersIn poignant mood, we all return to Belfast to attend the ■ governance of the InstitutionRegional Committee meeting. I say a few words and amstruck by the energy, enthusiasm and bonding of the A spokesperson summarised the thoughts of each groupcommittee. The evening closes with an informal meal with and there followed more discussion. Simon Wells, whomembers and committee. I meet a fellow kite enthusiast! chaired the meeting expertly, introduced David Spiers 11
  13. 13. of Farrans who gave the group a presentation on the dinner. I was the only one who did not know that we wereBelfast Sewers project. £91 million of tunnelling, shafts all to dress as Father Christmas. Terrific evening; thankand pumping stations. All this talk of shaft sinking, you Captain Simon for organising it. Despite the goal lastground conditions, diaphragm walls, tunnelling machines week, I had been dropped a team (promotion I called it!)and settlement calculations was music to the ears of and enjoyed a 3-1 victory. Someone from the oppositiongeotechnical engineers! I remembered well my own purloined our three match balls, which left a sour taste.experience in all these activities over the years. Day 33 (Sunday 10 December)Thanks to the DRD Water Service for providing the venue Clarinet, household stuff and late Christmas lunch with thefor the meeting and for Roisin Stewart, the G&S chairman Bridgnorth Wine Club. We are not members, but are greatand her committee for organising the event and the visit. friends with several of the 12 members. Three of them (only one a member) had come to my address on 7 November.I challenge Roisin and Patricia to produce a briefing note The President of the club noted that after 18 years thereon the work group output and set Patricia the task of had only been a marginal improvement in their wine tastingcirculating this to the Telford Apprentices for them to skills. There is obviously a need for the club to continue itsconsider and add their own thoughts. Patricia will then educational programme!coordinate the production of a second 800 word briefingnote giving the “Telford” view. This will be the “Telfords”second task.The day concluded with the Annual Dinner at the EuropaHotel. A splendid occasion, organised by Nick Fletcher,which had over 760 applications for the 550 places! Yetagain we see ”innovation Northern Ireland”. For this dinner,the initial speeches are after the starter course. Roisin gavethe toast to the Institution; a very polished and confidentperformance. I responded to the toast and was then ableto relax and enjoy the evening. An excellent dinner, andanother opportunity to celebrate one of our most excellentcivil engineers. I was particularly delighted to present myfifth “Spirit of Telford” Award to Alan Strong, he had noidea that he had been nominated and that the NI RegionCommittee and the Vice President’s Panel had made theaward. The award met with acclaim from the 550 present.Thank you Chairman John, Regional Manager Wendy andeveryone for a splendid visit.Day 31 (Friday 8 December)Carillion day. I receive news that the Telford Apprentices’800 word briefing note has been accepted for publication inthe Institution’s proceedings. Congratulations Telfords!This was Task One, set on day two, to produce 800 wordson what young civil engineers can do to help deliver thesustainability agenda.I set Task Three. Sally Waters from the South West Regionis taking the lead on this one. More news on this later. As ahint, has anyone seen the film Flushed Away yet?Day 32 (Saturday 9 December)Clarinet, hockey, writing blog and hockey team Christmas 12
  14. 14. Week six and Claire Tansley to submit an 800 word briefing note to our Institution proceedings. Unfortunately I only had timeSustainability and my first to stay for the first two presentations. Both excellent. The first was on engineering recruitment and developmentCouncil meeting and the second on the assessment of sustainability within engineering projects.Day 34 (Monday 11 December)Carillion day. Matt Humphrey and Alan McKay are producing a bestpm travelled to London to host a dinner to discuss corporate practice guide on the first topic by April 2007. Does yourresponsibility and sustainability with leaders of contractors, company value sustainability knowledge and/or train andconsultants and academia. My special guests were Julia reward people in this area? Is it a part of the recruitmentCleverdon, Chief Executive of Business in the Community process? Does your sustainability reputation actually helpand Sir Neville Simms. Neville had not been able to attend you recruit graduates and other staff? If not WHY NOT?my Presidential Address, so I presented him with a Spirit of The second project looked at the tools available and askedTelford award in recognition of his significant contribution if these actually do make choosing the sustainable optionin delivering the sustainability agenda at a business and a easier and cheaper. The message was that we need simplenational level. tools and guidance and we need to tune them to our own needs. Well done Alistair Geddes and Andrew Coen!Day 35 (Tuesday 12 December) This is great work and I look forward to the final output.Fruit for breakfast and the usual signing, postcards and I regretted not being able to stay for the presentation ofemails before my first meeting at 9am with Kim Woolger the 2007 projects by Beccy Taylor, Liz Meddings and Peterto discuss a presentation sack (sustainable!) for the Spirit Wilkie, but intend to invite them for a chat and discussion inof Telford Awards and presidential gifts. We then went on the New Year.to discuss the planning for a briefing and workshop day forthe Telford Apprentices at the end of January. A brisk walk back to the Institution for a meeting with Finance Committee Chairman David Hutchison, Senior ViceThese “Telfords” as I will now call the collective group are President David Orr and Director General Tom Foulkes.an enthusiastic lot. If any of them read this and send me Following this I dashed out to Strutton Ground to arrange100 words, I’ll drop them into my blog next time! That will for a takeaway for later that evening.check if they actually have time to read this too! Kim is Back in OGGS I managed 10 minutes at the Council buffetcoordinating the Telfords from OGGS (One Great George lunch before we all assembled on the stairs for the CouncilStreet). We also discuss ideas for a final report for next photograph. Terry Chambers has been taking the CouncilNovember and possible presentations to regional members photo for 30 years so he knew how to sort out 50 movingand of course G&S members. and chatting councillors, quieten them down and even getMy next meeting was with David Kerr, chairman of the them to smile on queue.Energy Board. Correctly titled, they are indeed energetic andvery delivery and output focussed. I am seriously impressed. Next we trouped into the Council room and I chaired myWe also discuss the new Energy Journal for which David first council meeting. 50 councillors, directors, observers andis the founder editor and Chairman of the editorial panel. the press. I had not chaired a committee this big before, butWe discuss the “challenges” of getting a new journal off had chaired the Rankine lecture, an event with 750 present.the ground and I share some of my experiences from the The difference was that 50 councillors, as Trustees, form theEngineering Sustainability journal. The papers for the first decision making body of our great Institution. My job wasissue sound terrific. to make sure we dealt with the business of the Institution within a reasonable timeframe, but also giving trustees theI dash from that meeting to Northumberland Avenue to opportunity to express their views. With 50 people who areattend the start of an “Engineers for the 21st Century” amongst the leaders and future leaders of our profession noseminar. Here I meet Heidi Parkes who manages the mean task!!programme, combining Forum for the Future’s (http://www.forumforthefuture.org.uk/) expertise with companies and Our first task was to elect the next President. No problemsome of their brightest and best to tackle the sustainability there. David Orr was elected with acclaim. You will recallproblems our industry faces. I had arrived in time for a 5 that Council voted to change our governance arrangementsminute coffee before the event started and in that time at the last council meeting. The main changes being toreceived a commitment from Matt Humphrey, Peter Wilkie reduce the size of Council from 25 to 15 general members, 13
  15. 15. confirming one member from each region and providing better by improving design and construction throughrepresentation for our international areas. The discussion learning from structural safety problems and failures. Weon by-law changes exceeded my “estimate” by a factor of discuss how more contractors could engage and how the2…. but was entirely justified. Thanks Gerry and others! The scheme and its benefits can be better communicated. Werevisions sought by Council will give us a much improved have a plan!... watch this space… and if you have looked atrevision. As members, you will all be given the opportunity the sites and can offer some ideas to address help promoteto vote on them next year.. once the Council has approved CROSS and bring more case records in, then please let methe final wording. We also debated the budget, working know.with our neighbours and pre-19 educational initiatives, the“Flushed Away” game (I gave all Councillors a copy of the On the train home I write 20 postcards to thank those Igame, with a request to take it into a primary school and have met up with this week and last week. There are moregain some feedback on it). to write over the weekend! The Telfords are beginning to mentor me! …and Katerina(http://www.ice.org.uk/knowledge/newsdetail_ice.asp?New sets Task 4 to keep them busy over the Christmas break.sID=732&NewsType=ICE&FacultyID=5) Day 37 (Thursday 14 December)With a little more “AOB” than I was expecting, the meeting Carillion day. Fire alarm went off (set off by a contractor inclosed at 5.50pm and we all moved into the Smeaton room the building I suspect) so the day’s exercise was to climb 7for a celebratory drink to mark Patrick Griffin’s retirement. flights back up to my office.Patrick has been the Council officer for 10 years, runningthe DG/President’s offices and been a pillar of strength on Day 38 (Friday 15 December)all matters relating to the operations and processes of the Carillion day. Today was a “double” joint role for me as IInstitution’s Council and Executive Board. With a clutch of was jointly opening a new bridge over the River Severn withVice Presidents in London, I took the opportunity to invite Shropshire County Council Cabinet Member, Barbara Craig,them back to the presidential flat for a takeaway meal and in my capacity as Institution President. I was also there asgain some feedback on my performance. We also discuss one of the supporting team from Carillion, who had builtLord Browne’s initiative for the engineering institutions to the bridge. And what an elegant structure! 89m betweenget together to help Government to address and solve some abutments, with a central span of 48m it replaces a previousof the climate change problems we are all facing. bridge and is the main foot, equestrian and cycle link between the villages of Highley and Alveley. Some 80 localDay 36 (Wednesday 13 December) people, school children (including the winners of their ownDealt with my post and some papers. Meeting at 9.30am bridge building competition) and many of those involved inwith Rosanna Webb and John Green from McAlpine to the bridge project were present. The weather was mild anddiscuss the corporate responsibility agenda. Next Allyson our host Mark Blunt opened the proceedings, introducingLewis and Neil Bailey briefed Tom and I on our forthcoming Barbara and me to say a few words before the ribbontrip to South Africa in January. cutting. We were joined in this task by Sarah and Alex whoAt lunch David Orr and I meet John Baxter, Senior Vice represented the schools each side of the River.President of IMechE to discuss perspectives on the role of aPresident of a major institution. A new bridge in Shropshire and a new bridge over the River Severn is a significant event locally, so we were joined byAfter lunch I meet with Alistair Soane who briefed me County Councillors, District Councillors, residents (who hadon the work of SCOSS and the scheme for Confidential a say in the bridge design.. voting for their preference!) andReporting on Structural Safety (www.scoss.org.uk/cross). local MP Philip Dunne.Founder supporters include ICE and IStructE and it wasaimed at members of these institutions who have concerns Returned the 8 miles to work from home for the rest ofabout all aspects of structural safety. It has also proved the day. Congratulations to Project Manager Ian Smith forto be of interest to building control officers! The web site delivering such a splendid project! Barbara takes a copydescribes the scheme and incorporates the 4 newsletters of “Flushed Away” to take into the primary school she isthat have so far been published. Procedures are based on governor of. She promises to provide feedback from thethose of CHIRP, the UK confidential reporting system for the teachers and children.aviation and maritime sectors, which in turn is derived fromthe NASA aviation reporting system. Both these initiativeswill help our profession to help itself and serve society 14
  16. 16. Day 39 (Saturday 16 December)Buy Christmas tree. Hockey cancelled, but on the plus side,I am able to drop into the Black Boy to listen to jazzmenKeith Nichols and Enrico Tomaso. I sup Shropshire Lad andtype blog!. Late pm I go to the Hockey Club to draw the“200 Club” prizes for the year. 117 prizes and quite a lot ofadmin to look after it all… so I will have plenty to do overthe Christmas break!Day 40 (Sunday 17 December)Check progress on my barn repairs and bring the treeinto the house now it is dry. Cook lunch and finish off theChristmas cards for those friends we do not see regularly.I prefer the charity donation alternative instead of sendingcards to people I see regularly. Clarinet lesson… must getback on the saxophone over the Christmas break. 15
  17. 17. Week seven and eight I next met with 4th year Nottingham University student who is doing a final year project on measuring sustainability forChristmas carols and last projects. Feeling unwell (food poisoning yesterday), I had already postponed my pm meeting with poverty charity bossminute shopping Camilla Toulmin from IIED http://www.iied.org/aboutiied/ index.html) It turned out she was caught up in the flightDay 41 (Monday 18 December) delays caused by fog and was probably not going to makeCarillion day. Number one son returned from Edinburgh the meeting anyway. I travel home feeling sorry for myself.University for the Christmas holiday. Note term finished on6 December! Day 45 (Friday 22 December) Carillion day. Early meeting followed by clearing the decksDay 42 (Tuesday 19 December) (and emails) before the Christmas break.Carillion day. Day 46 (Saturday 23 December)Day 43 (Wednesday 20 December) Emergency Christmas shopping!7am train to London and time to catch up on morepostcards and some statistics. I am surprised to discover that Day 47 (Sunday 24 December)so far I have met with, or spoken to over 3500 people! In Christmas preparationaddition, I have travelled over 4500 miles (mainly by train). Icalculate my carbon footprint is equivalent to a quarter of a Day 48 (Monday 25 December) to Day 54 (Sunday 31tree so far. December) Christmas Day, Boxing Day and holiday!Meetings with Tom Foulkes and Anne Moir are followed by New Year’s Eve party.a presentation to and discussion with Deloitte and Toucheabout corporate responsibility.Late pm there is a rehearsal and the annual Institution CarolService at St Margaret’s Church., adjacent to WestminsterAbbey. The church is popularly known as the parish churchof the House of Commons. The front pew is reserved forthe speaker, so today it is left empty. Conductor AdrianDavis and a small choir of ICE staff and members led theenthusiastic congregation through the nine carols and, astradition dictates, as President, I read the last of the sevenlessons. Following the service, the Institution provided mincepies and mulled wine for those in the congregation wishingto share in the fellowship and extend a perfect evening.Day 44 (Thursday 21 December)Email, post and signing over 250 certificates for newChartered members and technicians. I recognised somenames, including two of the 2005/6 President’s Apprentices(Helen and Jonathon).Met with Ruth Hopgood, chair of GSNet (the graduates andstudents national committee) to discuss what their plansare for the next year and we came up with a few ideas asto how they might “market” themselves better amongstthe wider membership. GSNet (http://www.ice-gsnet.org.uk/contact/index.asp) comprises 18000 of our members…quite a force for change and an opportunity to deliver if itwants to be! 16
  18. 18. Week nine and ten report. It is a very open ended project, which the students tackle with considerable skill and energy! I hope theyNew Year and ECuk enjoyed it! By 11am I am elsewhere in the King’s Buildings delivering a lecture on sustainability to the third year whichDay 55 (Monday 1 January) includes a dose of Telford and some comments about myNew Year’s day focus for the year. At noon I return to the computer labs to answer questions on the 4th year project for the rest of theDay 56 (Tuesday 2 January) day. Great fun.Carillion day. Plus responding to emails for ICE Day 63 (Tuesday 9 January)Day 57 (Wednesday 3 January) Carillion day. I return to the computer labs to be availableCarillion day. to answer more questions and at 11am meet with Dr. Simon Smith to discuss the agenda for the IndustrialDay 58 (Thursday 4 January) Advisory Board (IAB), which I chair (and have done since itsCarillion day. inception). After finding time to start marking the forth year students first output, I then chair the IAB. Industrial input isDay 59 (Friday 5 January) so important to the universities. It is also very beneficial toCarillion day. companies and those giving their time to mentor and teach/ coach the students (and staff!).Day 60 (Saturday 6 January)Hockey, clarinet and life at home. Day 64 (Wednesday 10 January) Carillion day. I take the train to London and catch upDay 61 (Sunday 7 January) on emails. Late pm I meet with Engineering Policy andClarinet, packing, and quite a bit of the day travelling to Innovation team member Chrissie Pepper (Dr.) to discussEdinburgh by train. Engineering works make the journey an article on sustainable procurement we are jointlyover 6 hours (6.75 hours door to door)…longer than by writing for the Irish Construction Times (I wonder if theyair, but I feel better for it and got some work done. In will publish?). At 5.30 pm I join other British Geotechnicaladdition, I tidied up my word and excel filing and my emails. Association members for tea and a chat and then attendI discovered I had filed 6000 emails in my various Carillion their evening meeting in the Telford Theatre. The meetingfolders and 4700 emails in my ICE folder. Resolve to delete was a presentation on the new specification for pilingmore as I go along this year. I had been deleting all the and embedded walls, delivered by Tim Chapman, Tonyrubbish and (I thought) the emails I did not need to retain! Suckling and Alex Kidd to a packed theatre. The new specification is a fantastic example of collaborationDay 62 (Monday 8 January) and was delivered in only 18 months, an exceptionalCarillion day. Lectures and design course at the University timeframe for such a comprehensive document. Theof Edinburgh. The day started with a briefing to forth year presenters were part of a much larger team and gave duestudents for their 2 week geotechnical design project, credit to those (some present) who had developed andwhich I have been running with Professor Mike Forde for written earlier specifications (standing on the shouldersabout 8 years. The project is based on them developing a of giants!). The speakers later promise a briefing note onscheme for a casting basin for an immersed tube tunnel. the new specification will be submitted to the Institution’sI act as the client and the students start by identifying the proceedings panel and the possibilities of a full paper weresustainability and technical risks and then go on to develop discussed too. We enjoy a beer and lots of geotechnicalsome schematic options. An immersed tube tunnel is discussions late into the evening.constructed by prefabricating tunnel units in a casting basin,floating them out into the river and then placing them in Day 65 (Thursday 11 January)a dredged trough and joining them together. Simple! Not Carillion morning. Institution pm. I join the Regionalso simple in fact… these prefabricated units are over 100 Chairmen’s meeting for the afternoon. I sign 150 certificatesmetres in length, 35 metres wide, 12metres high and weigh and deal with post.over 30,000tonnes. The casting basin site is excavatedthrough contaminated land, over 12m of very soft clay (Cu In the evening I meet up with Camilla Toulmin to discussfrom 15 to 40KN/m2 for the technical amongst you), gravels sustainability and poverty issues. Camilla works at a veryand chalk (an aquifer). They have 4 hours to provide initial strategic level internationally in this area. See weblink onguidance to the client and two weeks to produce their full day 44, week 7. 17
  19. 19. Day 66 (Friday 12 January) The day concluded with finalising the draft of the IrishArrive at One Great George Street entrance at the same Construction Times article and a meeting with Marketingtime as Professor Barry Clarke, so we take a coffee in the and Comms Director Anne Moir.café bar. I decline the full breakfast he suggested! Notingthat he does not have one either! Barry has stepped in at The train home was diverted, so I arrived later than planned.short notice to represent the Joint Board of Moderators A very full and interesting week!(who are they? you ask) at the ECuk review. More on thislater. If you are a Chartered Engineer of any one of the 35 Day 67 (Saturday 13 January)engineering institutions, then you will value that Chartered Clarinet, hockey (we won our first league game of theEngineer status. ECuk are the accreditation body which season with a winning goal in the final 2 minutes) and aensures that an appropriate standard is maintained by those birthday party.institutions licensed to award chartered engineer status. Day 68 (Sunday 14 January)My first meeting of the day is a briefing from Membership Long walk, packing for my Presidential visit to South Africa,Director David Lloyd Roach on the ECuk review visit. I more clarinet and some sax and dinner with friends.am impressed by the thorough way David and his teamhave prepared for the review (essentially an audit). Mynext meeting is with Ellen Ryan, who looks after the JointBoard of Moderators. We discuss the forthcoming annualmeeting between the 4 Institution Presidents and theJBM. The JBM is a joint body, comprising the Institutionof Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers,the Institution of Highways and Transportation andthe Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers whichaccredits university courses in civil engineering disciplines.Essentially, the JBM helps to ensure that university coursesdeliver an appropriate standard and range of education toenable graduates to become professionally qualified. Thiswork creates real value for the Universities and society inestablishing and maintaining standards and as a mechanismfor exchanging best practice. The additional value to theICE is that graduates from accredited programmes ofstudy automatically meet the academic base for one of ourprofessionally qualified grades of membership. Were youaware that your subscriptions are supporting this excellentwork? It is one of the many ways in which the Institutionsupports and mentors education, educators and students.At 11am I welcome the ECuk and Society for theEnvironment review teams and leave them to their work.Peter Hansford (vp) and David Lloyd Roach lead theInstitution team, along with Barry Clarke (JBM), RaymondCoe (Professional Development Panel chairman), Paul Venn(Professional Reviews Panel chairman) , Andrew Roberts(Technical Reports Panel chairman), Sharon Geraghty-Bellingham (Senior Manager, Admissions and Processes) andZoe Cunningham (Audits and Projects Manager).Next I join the GSNet conference/committee. This is chairedby Ruth Hopgood and full of bright and enthusiastic people.They were having fun AND adding value. I was able to stayfor a while and chat to most everyone over the light buffetlunch. 18
  20. 20. Week eleven and twelve Watermeyer and Andrew Baird and their wives for dinner and to discuss the NEC (New Engineering Contract) eventsSouth Africa planned for the next two days.Day 69 (Monday 15 January) Following some well attended NEC events in South AfricaCarillion day. last November, it was felt that some briefings from “Mr. NEC” would help to promote a greater understanding ofDay 70 (Tuesday 16 January) the NEC procurement route, especially after the launchCarillion day. Left office just before 3pm with Dorothy of the new NEC suite of contracts last year. Martin’s firstto drive to Heathrow Airport to catch the night flight to presentation was earlier in the day at the Development BankJohannesburg, with Tom Foulkes and his wife Sally. This is of South Africa. We heard that it was very well received.my first substantial Presidential Visit. A long overnight flight,slept badly. The weather was sunny and a very pleasant 24 degrees celsius. By 9pm it was dark and we sat in the restaurantSouth Africa has a population of 44 million (UK 60.6), a life listening to and watching a lightening storm and intenseexpectancy of 42.7 years (UK 78.5), median age of 24.1 (UK rain.39.1) and an infant mortality rate per 1000 live births of60.7 (UK 5). Day 72 (Thursday 18 January) 6.30am start to drive to a “Captains of Industry Breakfast”Gross Domestic Product is $12,000 per capita (UK $30,300) hosted by the Construction Industry Development Boardand 30% of the whole African continent. Unemployment (cidb) in Pretoria (60km away). Before the event starts weis 37% and 21.5% of the adult population have been meet up with Martin Manuhwa, President of the Zimbabweestimated to be HIV positive (2004 figure). Institute of Engineers and Peter Morris, ICE country representative for Zimbabwe who had made a special visitThe Institution has 437 members in South Africa. to meet up with us and who were also attending several events with us. Avid reader(s) of this blog may recall that weDay 71 (Wednesday 17 January) met up with Martin in London on 22 November 2006.Landed at Johannesburg’s Oliver T Tambo Airport at 10am(South Africa time, 2 hours ahead of the UK) and we were The event, attended by about 60 invited guests, wasmet by Country Representative Andrew Baird. Andrew splendidly chaired by Ronnie Khoza, Programme Manager:dropped us at our hotel, where we rested for a short time, Procurement & Delivery Management for cidb. Afterhad lunch and then set off for our first activity. This was an Ronnie’s welcome Mr Ntopile Kganyago, the Deputyafternoon cocktail party at the UK Trade Commissioners Minister of Public Works delivered an address reflectingresidence, in a district called Hyde Park. on the very vibrant construction industry in South Africa, identifying the concerns about skills shortages and stressingWe were welcomed by host and Trade Commissioner Brian the importance to the nation of successfully deliveringGallagher and I had an opportunity to respond and also the stadia for the 2010 Football World Cup, which is atook the opportunity to mention Telford, his birthday and massive opportunity to promote South Africa and its recentour forthcoming celebrations, the reasons for our visit and successes worldwide.my own focus areas for my Presidential year. Our third briefspeaker was Neil McCloud, President of the South African Dr Martin Barnes then spoke for some 45 minutes on “TheInstitution of Civil Engineering (SAICE). UK experience in procuring large construction projects”. The talk started by describing the confrontational nature ofThe assembled company included senior construction construction contracts in the UK 10 to 20 years ago:people from Government, consultants and contractors. ■ Working with unreformed contracts, basically the same asThe event provided an excellent opportunity to learn about the Standard Civil Engineering Contract of 1860!South Africa, their booming construction industry, their ■ Always choosing the lowest tender for the work (wouldskills shortages and some of the more disquieting statistics you do this with your heart surgeon?)I have given above. It was also a great opportunity to ■ Using bills of quantitiesestablish contact with the Institution members and SAICE ■ Separating design from constructionmembers present. ■ Paying engineers on fixed % fees (more cost, more fees). ■ Ignoring risks, rather than managing/mitigating them andIn the evening we met up with Dr. Martin Barnes, Ron ignoring the needs of stakeholders 19
  21. 21. ■ And lots of other things which now seem silly (Martin’s Next it was my turn to say a few words, which started words!). with Telford and then went on to close with the three issues I am focussing on in my presidential year. MentoringThis approach resulted in lots of conflicts, claims and and developing young engineers really struck a chord….disputes, great uncertainty of costs and time, an inefficient as it had in all our discussions so far this trip. Over 100industry, unhappy clients and poor industry reputation. He people were present, of which about 70% were Institutionthen went on to describe the early development of the NEC members…. a fantastic turn out. I really do feel a part ofsuite of contracts (which he initiated, wrote and developed) that family of civil engineers I referred to in my address. It isand the findings and impact on the UK construction really great to meet so many people with such a passion forindustry of the Latham and Egan reports. civil engineering! We returned to our hotel tired, but elated. I finally get toHe explained the benefits of the collaborative approach talk to Dorothy about her trip to Soweto.engendered by the NEC contracts which were designedto improve management of the design and construction Day 73 (Friday 19 January)process. He describes its benefits, such as its flexibility, its Early start to avoid the traffic congestion and we go to theability to manage problems and get rid of tensions and VW/Audi conference centre, where an NEC users groupdisputes and the way it rewards good management and meeting is being held (in the auditorium, no kidding!). Thecollaboration. venue had to be switched at the last minute to cater for the demand created by Martin Barnes’s presence… and ofA most excellent presentation! There followed some lively course the interest in NEC in South Africa. This is the firstand informed discussion, which both Tom and I took part joint ICE/SAICE event, which I have the honour to open andin. NEC has been used for some 15 years in South Africa, so welcome delegates. Tom and I then have to leave for ourmany present were able to describe their own experiences. next event, leaving NEC panel member and another NEC guru, Andrew Baird to deliver the workshop with MartinA little later than planned, we set off for our next event, an Barnes. Andrew was focussing on recent developmentsinformal gathering and luncheon with the JSD Committee and the NEC3 Supply Contract and Martin was lookingat Johannesburg Country Club. JSD stands for Joint at strengths and weaknesses of NEC3, “Dealing withStructural Division and is a joint committee of the SAICE and compensation events” and the “Accepted Programme” (allthe Institution of Structural Engineers. Following welcomes NEC speak!).and a brief presentation by me, Tom and I signed a similaragreement with SAICE on behalf of the Institution, which Ron Watermeyer (again!) transported Tom and I to thewill provide similar benefits to both our organisations and SAICE headquarters for a meeting with SAICE President Neilour members. Once again we gained an insight into the McCloud and other senior members and officials to discussconstruction marketplace and its related issues (mainly our agreement and ways in which our organisations canassociated with skills shortages, especially of civil engineers). best learn from each other and work together. A fruitful and friendly meeting. We were handed a copy of theAfter an excellent lunch (I politely declined deserts and SAICE Infrastructure Report card for South Africa: 2006,chocolates!) we travelled with Ron Watermeyer to the modelled on our own State of the Nation Report, and, likeNational War Museum in Saxonwold. We arrived in good our report, well received by politicians and influencers.time to wander around the museum for 40 minutes, Sharing knowledge and mentoring were again core tododging a couple of rain showers in the process. our discussions. Much was made of Professor Jowitt’sBy 4pm ICE and SAICE members (some belonging to after dinner speech at their annual dinner in November. Inboth) assembled for a tea and networking session. particular his singing (true Boer accent apparently, not badHere we met up with student Maxwell Vavana, who is for a “Scot” someone said. Not bad for a Yorkshireman Ia one man marketing enthusiast for civil engineering. thought quietly!) AND his guitar playing. No one mentionedAlthough we have not gone through a process to select his Brunel lecture!!... but fortunately we had received higha Telford Apprentice, the local committee were keen for praise for that already. Well done Paul…. You have createdMaxwell to get involved in Apprentice activities where a great impression. A real demonstration of how we canit is appropriate…a suggestion I happily agreed to. At serve engineers and society in the international arena.4.30pm we all queued to get into the lecture theatre tohear Martin Barnes deliver his third presentation in 2 days! Discussions and sandwich lunch over, the ever dependableRon Watermeyer chaired the lively question session and Ron took us to the airport, just in time to catch our flight todiscussion. Durban. 20