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September 2009

evolution sharing knowledge, building best practice

BOOK SALE details inside

Editorial We’re reminded through the popular media almost daily about the issues facing us as a society – whether in a local or global context. We’re also reminded in a professional capacity that despite our propensity to model systems – whether engineering, financial or climate – our understanding is seldom sufficiently robust to reliably forecast the changes that we are experiencing across all of these areas. However, while it is important that we invest in understanding these systems and in mitigating against, or adapting to, future conditions, the more immediate problem that is facing us today is adapting to the changes already affecting our lives. Many of the themes introduced above are illustrated in the articles contained in this edition of Evolution, which demonstrate the inter-dependence of social, environmental, economic and technical topics and CIRIA’s ability to span across these disciplines. The flooding in New Orleans provided a graphic example of what happens when our infrastructure fails to cope with the severe weather conditions that we are increasingly experiencing. In the article on levees, Kristina Gamst describes an international initiative to provide guidance in this area. As our infrastructure continues to strain to meet the demands placed upon it both in terms of changing climate and increased capacity, then it is inevitable that failures will centre on the “weakest links”. Ben Kidd’s article on ground anchors considers the strains on our infrastructure in a literal sense.

Contents Although the construction sector is seen as providing solutions to environmental and societal problems, it is a conspicuous user of resources, often sourced worldwide. Shaun McCarthy’s article illustrates that sustainable procurement is far more than a question of ensuring a product is fit for purpose. Design is not just about function. Although much of the grey, soulless design inherited as part of our legacy is gradually being replaced, built environment professionals still face many challenges in creating developments that will encourage vibrant communities, and are resilient enough to accommodate the demands and stresses that society can impose on them. The contrasting though complimentary articles on urban design (Louise Clarke and Paul Shaffer) and crime and disorder (Alan Gilbertson) provide an interesting insight into some of the issues. Finally, in Post-recession construction, Camilla Vote captures the essence of a recent member’s meeting where two of our member companies described their differing approaches to the current economic situation. I hope that whether your passion is technical, environmental, social or economic, you will find this collection of articles interesting and thought provoking.

3 Members update


Forthcoming International levee manual

6 The whole-life asset management of ground anchors

8 Designing against crime and disorder

10 A quick tour

12 – do you go all the way…?

Bill Healy Chief Executive

14 – the art of place making

Photograph acknowledgements

Page 4–5 HR Wallingford Page 6

BAM Ritches

Page 7

Applied Geotechnical Engineering and Ken Rush Associates

16 New books and forthcoming titles

17 Keeping up-to-date

 © CIRIA 2009

Cover image: Environment Agency

Evolution is printed with vegetable inks on paper comprising 75 per cent post-consumer waste and 25 per cent ECF recycled paper.


Evolution is published by CIRIA Classic House 174–180 Old Street London EC1V 9BP UK Tel +44 (0)20 7549 3300 Fax +44 (0)20 7253 0523 ISSN No. 01402817

18 Latest CIRIA courses

18 Post-recession construction

CIRIA News Our new website, knowledgebase and information services have all been operating for the past six months and now form part of our standard services. Feedback from members, subscribers and casual users has been extremely positive and we plan to further develop these services over the coming months (for readers new to CIRIA an introduction and overview of our services and activities is included on pages 10 and 11). We are particularly pleased with the feedback and increasing demand for CIRIA news and briefings, which provide succinct insights or updates on topical items ranging from policy development through to technical construction matters. Over the past 12 months we have added over 50 briefings to our website library and we will continue to grow this area to reflect member needs. This area is now fully searchable through the CIRIA website knowledgebase and certainly worth a browse for those who need to keep up-to-date with industry developments. Many of our services can be accessed online by registering on our website – a quick and easy process. We would encourage all readers to register to gain access to a wide range of material and free downloads including our monthly news and new developments in policy, regulation, technology and process activities. Individuals from CIRIA member companies automatically gain free access to our full range of outputs and services. To register now go to: CIRIA projects and activities continue to cover a diverse range of topics reflecting the increasingly demanding requirements placed upon the built environment. Our website also contains full listings of CIRIA projects and activities as well as contacts and a small selection of recent developments includes:

Lean construction

Focus on carbon

In 1998, the Egan report Rethinking construction championed performance improvement as a way for the construction industry to ensure quality and become more efficient. The current economic climate has also brought into sharp focus the need for the cost savings and efficiency. Lean construction can deliver these while retaining quality and meeting sustainability goals. CIRIA’s new project on lean construction will provide up-to-date and authoritative guidance and will demonstrate how organisations in the sector can embed lean within their operations. Contact:

There are few major organisations where carbon has not been a boardroom discussion. Considerable effort is being invested in producing tools and guidance across the built environment sector. However, if you are finding it increasingly difficult to find out any information, then visit:

Retrofitting surface water management measures A variety of guidance documents exist on surface water management and particularly sustainable drainage in new developments. However, the UK has a legacy of inadequate urban drainage in existing cities and towns. The broad objective of this new project is to develop a practical approach to more effective and sustainable management of surface water runoff (both quantity and quality) in existing urban areas. For more information visit: Contact:

Nuclear decommissioning Four new guidance documents were launched at CIRIA’s Nuclear Networks conference in June. Produced through the SAFEGROUNDS Learning Network, the guides cover the remediation of radiologically and chemically contaminated land on nuclear and defence sites in the UK. The documents comprise an introductory overview, and guides on the comparison of options and site characterisation. For more information visit: Contacts: or

Abandoned mine workings Construction over abandoned mine workings (SP32) published by CIRIA in 1984 was a seminal publication that is still widely used by industry. Although targeted to the former UK coal industry the book also provided guidance on the wider subject of mine workings applicable to other former mineral extraction industries. Work has started on a new guide to update and extend the existing guidance, providing further information on health and safety issues, the legislative framework, the planning regime and environmental considertions. Contact:

Halving waste to landfill CIRIA is working with BioRegional to deliver a series of over 30 workshops to support WRAP’s work on minimising construction waste sent to landfill. Delivered through a series of free regional workshops, the aim of this series of events is to secure commitment from clients, developers, housebuilders, their sector bodies and supply chains to reducing waste to landfill (W2L), and to help embed the corresponding behaviours within their corporate processes and projects. Contact: Visit for a full listing of current CIRIA projects.


Thames flooding at Wittenham (courtesy HR Wallingford)

International guidance on the management of flood embankments Kristina Gamst discusses the forthcoming International levee manual.

Background Levees (also known as flood defence embankments) are used throughout the world to provide a vital line of defence against flooding. The tragic events in New Orleans in 2005 demonstrated the critical nature of such structures and the catastrophic consequence of failure. Major programmes of work are required to assess and improve the protection provided by levees, addressing the challenges of poor quality design and construction as well as the deteriorating condition of levees, while also adopting adaptation measures to respond to climate change and population growth. Good practice on levees has not been widely shared between international and national organisations, and the potential for improving the effectiveness of assessment, design, construction and management of levees have not always been realised.

The importance of levees Levees provide protection against fluvial and coastal flood events along coasts, rivers and artificial navigable waterways. They range in size from small and simple grass covered bunds to larger structures with berms, hard slope and crest protection systems to significant complementary structures such as wave or flood walls on the crest. The extent of levees worldwide can be measured in hundreds of thousand of kilometres and the populations that they protect, in millions. In England and Wales, for example, the Environment Agency is responsible for 7500 km of flood embankments (DEFRA, 2007).


In some cases, levees are old structures that have been periodically improved, maintained or raised over time. In contrast, others are large purpose built structures that have been conceived, designed, constructed and commissioned over short time frames. There are considerable investment programmes for the construction, maintenance and improvement of these levees. To reduce the risks associated with flooding, there are several aims that require long-term planning. In particular the EU Flooding Directive (Europa, 2007) and national flood management policies, such as the UK’s Making space for water (DEFRA, 2008) and The Netherlands’ Room for the Rhine in The Netherlands (WL|Delft Hydraulics, 2001) have emphasised the need for flood risk management to embrace a portfolio of responses or adjustments that include structural flood defence measures such as levees.

The challenges of flood management The primary challenge for flood management authorities is to determine how best to inspect, manage and upgrade their existing systems of levees and associated defences, to manage the increasing flood risk and to obtain good value from investment. In many cases, there is no alternative other than to build on existing alignments. A particular challenge in strengthening and/or raising existing levees is dealing with the uncertainty of their internal and foundation conditions. Many have been extended or raised over the years, and often gradually. Design and construction records are often poor or missing and the levees frequently have low factors of safety to cope with extreme events. Also, many have deteriorated over the

years since initial construction because of settlement, cracking and infestation of burrowing animals. High quality assessment and design guidance is essential to ensure that levees where designed, repaired and augmented are made appropriately resilient for future extreme events without incurring excessive cost.

The importance of new guidance Recent experiences have emphasised the importance of designing and adopting appropriate inspection and maintenance strategies for levees. These include:  the extensive breaching of levees in New Orleans, USA, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has led to a review of levee safety in the US  a recent UK study (DEFRA and EA, 2007) supported the need for integrated guidance for levees across the engineering disciplines (hydraulics, geotechnics, geology and structures) and adopting comprehensive risk management principles and approaches. One of the main recommendations of the UK study was the development of a full design guide capturing international good practice and endorsing an integrated approach  levee failures in France during the major floods of the RhĂ´ne River indicated that levees should be correctly monitored and maintained following the approach adopted for the monitoring and maintenance of dams since the 1970s.

Embankment protecting housing in the Netherlands (courtesy HR Wallingford)

The need for good design or modifications and a comprehensive approach to design are critical to long-term performance of flood defences. Although there is considerable experience worldwide on the topic, guidance on the assessment, design, construction, and maintenance of levees is variable in detail, and scattered through numerous and often obscure documents within different countries motivated by different engineering disciplines. New solutions and approaches will be required as the challenges on professionals involved in flood risk management increase. Compiling existing experience, drawing on existing guidelines and taking advantage of recent and ongoing research on an international basis would be an important step in meeting these challenges.

The International levee manual and how to get involved The UK, France, the Netherlands and the USA are now working together to make this vision a reality. A single, comprehensive levee manual collating international practices and knowledge will make dissemination and wide use of consistent standards and approaches more effective, proving greater value for money with countries applying good practice suitable to their local conditions. The international levee manual will provide the user with an overview of the approaches in the different existing national and international codes and standards and guidance. The manual will offer a “decision support” framework for competent engineers, rather than a prescriptive “decision making” code of practice looking at specific challenges during the life cycle of levees. The manual will also provide a consistent framework to all countries (including European countries and USA) for understanding, assessing, designing and managing levees.

CIRIA is managing the UK input into this initiative with support of the Environment Agency, HR Wallingford, Royal Haskoning, Halcrow and also Building Research Establishment (BRE).

Get involved Work on an initial scoping exercise has begun, however, to ensure the best possible UK consortium of industry leaders CIRIA is seeking support, part-funding and involvement of interested organisations. For further information, please contact Kristina Gamst on +44(0)20 7549 3300 or email

References and further reading DEFRA Technical Reports (2007) Management of flood embankments: a good practice guide, R&D Technical Report FD2411/TR1, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, London. Available from EUROPA, EU Flooding Directive: Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks. Available from DEFRA (2008) Making space for water. Available from Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, London WL|DELFT HYDRAULICS (2001) Room for the Rhine in The Netherlands – summary of research results, commissioned by Directorate-General of Public Works and Water Management. Available from DEFRA and EA (2007) Management of Flood Embankments. A good practice review, R&D Technical Report FD2411/TR1, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and Environment Agency, London. Available from


Anchors aweigh! Ben Kidd investigates the issues faced in the whole-life asset management of ground anchors. The most critical elements of a structure are often those that cannot be seen. Ground anchors are one such example, and provide restraining forces that prevent structures from unacceptable displacements or even collapse. However, despite their importance, often it has been a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. While asset management principles are well established for important infrastructure assets such as tunnels, bridges, earthworks or retaining and other structures, the attention given to any associated ground anchors is often insufficient or indeed non-existent. The loss of an anchor’s restraining capacity (its pre-stress) can lead to failures in many ways. For some structures, for example retaining walls, this would lead to progressive failure of the wall. In more complex structures, a redistribution of stresses across the structural elements could lead to a less obvious progressive failure. Inspection regimes for anchors, when possible, are normally limited to the state and condition of the anchor head, ie that part of the anchor where the pre-stress is held against a restraint. This tells the asset owner nothing about the state and condition of the anchor and whether or not it is functioning as its original design intended. This issue becomes increasingly important when considering the consequences of failure of many of these anchors could be severe, endangering life and causing significant damage or disruption.

(Spey Dam) Revised flood estimates led to a requirement to improve the stability of a dam in the Highlands of Scotland under extreme conditions, achieved by the installation of vertical post tensioned rock anchors into the dam foundation (courtesy BAM Ritchies).

Many of these ageing assets were installed over 30 years ago and commonly designed with corrosion protection considered inadequate by today’s standards. Although techniques have advanced in this time, current standards and practice for design of corrosion protection for ground anchors do not place ground anchors within the wider asset management context. For example, monitoring of ground anchors in service is often overlooked at the design stage. BS 8081:1989 is not explicit in the requirements in terms of types of monitoring and methodology required. Protection measures that constitute acceptable barriers in accordance with BS 8081:1989 and BS EN 1537:2000 must ensure:  durability over the lifespan of the anchorage (often up to 120 years)  integrity, ie an impermeable barrier over the full length of the tendon  they remain intact during handling, installation and stressing. Ground anchors are particularly susceptible to corrosion if they are incorporated as part of a waterside infrastructure where the environment is usually aggressive. Risk associated with failure of these ground anchors is usually high as many will be associated with flood defences or transport infrastructure where the consequences of failure are potentially significant, a situation common to many ground anchors (see image above).

The importance of ground anchors was raised at the International Conference on Ground Anchorages and Anchored Structures in Service in November 2007 by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE, 2008). The conference provided case studies on the condition appraisal and remedial treatment of ground anchors. Examples were provided of anchorages installed from the mid1970s to the early 1980s as part of major flood defence works along the banks of the River Thames. This included Erith, East London, where the river wall forms part of the strategic flood defences for the area and typically comprise driven steel sheet piling held back by tensioned ground anchors. (See illustration opposite) In a report to the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS), the authors of the ICE conference papers covering the Erith waterside redevelopment reported that where inspections had been commissioned as part of monitoring during foundation construction, most anchors had lasted, were in fair condition and any loss of original pre-stress was not of major concern (CROSS, 2007). However, isolated cases of significant rusting of anchor heads were noted together with instances where anchors are no longer stressed. This suggests that, had monitoring not been adopted as part of the process of redeveloping a site, failures could have occurred and gone unnoticed.

There have been several failures of ground anchors worldwide and it is anticipated that instances of failure will increase as permanent anchorages in service become older and suffer further deterioration.


current government plans for extra energy generation capacity through development of new nuclear facilities, many are likely to require significant use of ground anchors (to meet nuclear industry requirements for mitigation of seismic risk). It is vital that any such development considers the whole-life infrastructure asset management of the ground anchors to support its structural integrity.

Typical details of restressable anchor head assembly as used at Erith (courtesy Applied Geotechnical Engineering and Ken Rush Associates).

Identifying ownership of ground anchors is a further potential issue. However even when ownership is clear, records are not always available to indicate the types of anchor used, their positions, original pre-stress loads or procedures for maintenance, checks and inspections. So there are no benchmarks to check the condition and ongoing performance of the anchors. Given the long design life required for many structures including ground anchors, continuity of knowledge throughout the design life of the anchors is a major issue. For new developments, this issue should already be addressed through requirements for a health and safety file under CDM regulations, with vital details of construction and maintenance schedules. However, difficulties arise where developments take place on sites with legacy ground anchors already present. Such developments are increasingly common due to the prioritisation given to brownfield sites for redevelopment and regeneration. Development of these sites is difficult, complex and costly (and may also incur contamination problems with anchors at risk of chemical corrosion). Where development takes place, checks would normally have to be carried out to verify the integrity of the ground anchors before construction and reusing the foundations. However, if site development

costs are high, then inspection and maintenance may not be undertaken in an attempt to save costs. The result may be that foundation construction over and around legacy ground anchors, undermines their structural integrity and the integrity of the development. Access for inspection of ground anchors is also an important issue. Because of the nature of their construction, ground anchors cannot be tested and validated for their entire length. Corrosion monitoring of the anchor heads may provide information as to the likelihood for more extensive corrosion. However, direct monitoring techniques of the anchor have proved to be variable in their results and there is little confidence in their accuracy. The best way to test an anchor remains a direct load test and maintained load test. If an anchor fails there remains no reason as to why it has failed. Research into non-destructive testing and trials of some methods is ongoing but has yet to provide a complete solution. It is possible that ground anchors may corrode without anyone being aware of the risks and of the potential for failure of a single component leading to overstressing of nearby structural elements. This is significant for planned and existing high risk structures that require considerable confidence in the anchorages installed and an appreciation of the consequences of failure. Given

Failures or problems associated with ground anchors, such as those highlighted in this article, are invariably linked to poor specification or poor installation. Anchors properly specified and installed by competent contractors are fit for purpose and may be used with confidence.

Get involved To address the issues raised here, CIRIA plans to develop good practice guidance on the condition appraisal and remedial treatment of ground anchors (P2618). For further information contact Chris Chiverrell or Philip Charles on: +44(0)020 7549 3300 or email:

References British Standards Institute BS 8081:1989 Code of practice for ground anchorages CROSS (2007) Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety (CROSS) Newsletter No 8, October 2007 ICE (2008) In: Proc International Conference on Ground Anchorages and Anchored Structures in Service, Littlejohn, S (ed), Institution of Civil Engineers and Thomas Telford Ltd (ISBN 978-07277-3561-4)


Utopia or reality? Designing against crime and disorder Alan Gilbertson discusses some of the challenges faced in designing against crime and disorder. CIRIA continues to respond to the need for designers to consider all aspects of in-use performance so that owners, designers and operators can meet their legal obligations. In this article we take a look at issues relating to crime and disorder, where CIRIA plans to provide new guidance. As discussed in the feature on urban design on pages 14–15 in this issue, the “atmosphere” of a residential neighbourhood is highly influenced by the outcome of the planning, consultation and design process. A comprehensive approach has always been a requirement of successful design. However, in addition to designing buildings and communities that encourage well being, or have a high environmental performance, designers also need to consider some of the more negative aspects of society.

Legislation affects this decision making process and in particular designers are required by CDM2007 to consider in-use hazards and risks (Gilbertson, 2007). The urban environment may not be covered by “workplace” legislation, but all designers are required by the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to consider the effect their work has on the health and safety of others. Consideration of how their designs will work “in-use” should not be unfamiliar to designers. However, the implications of this are wide and cover not only buildings, but also neighbourhoods as well as regional and national infrastructure.

this means in terms of the design decisions they are making? Are designers aware of the options, risks and opportunities open to them? This is a fast moving subject, with changes motivated by a range of societal issues, now including terrorism, and ongoing technological developments (for example, CCTV). Detailed guidance on particular aspects is available from several agencies and experts, both in written form and by consultation.The process by which issues are identified and addressed is also developing and should be incorporated at an early stage in a project to avoid the requirement for costly and disruptive changes being introduced later.

Those responsible for operating the built environment have to consider the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, concerned with day-to-day issues, and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, concerned with emergencies. They have to operate within the environment created by designers, but do designers understand what

Often, simple measures can be introduced into the design of residential, retail and other public areas that will mitigate or discourage theft and vandalism and other anti-social behaviour. Such considerations do not solely apply to buildings and their surroundings. The UK’s infrastructure including its water supply and transportation networks are also vulnerable to disruption and required to have contingency measures in place to deal with civil emergency and national security events.The considerations are not restricted to deliberate and malicious acts. Planning to deal with large gatherings of people, whether travelling to or from sports or entertainment events or at busy transport interchange hubs, particularly at peak times also requires careful consideration (Rowe and Ancliffe, 2009).


The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 promotes the practice of partnership (between relevant authorities and local bodies) working to reduce crime and disorder and places a statutory duty on police and local authorities to develop and adopt a strategy to tackle problems in their area. In doing so, the responsible authorities are required to work in partnership with a range of other local public, private, community and voluntary groups and with the community. This approach recognises that both the causes of crime and disorder and the interventions required to deliver safe and more secure communities lies with a range of organisations, groups and individuals working in partnership. Crime reduction is not solely the responsibility of the police. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 imposes a series of duties on local bodies in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (known as “Category 1 responders”). These include the duty to assess the risk of an emergency occurring and to maintain plans for the purposes of responding to an emergency. The range of Category 1 responders is broader than the range of local bodies, which were subject to previous legislation. It includes certain bodies with functions that relate to health, the Environment Agency and the Secretary of State, in so far as his functions relate to responding to maritime and coastal emergencies. The Act also provides the mechanism to impose duties on other local bodies (known as “Category 2 responders”) to co-operate with, and to provide information to, Category 1 responders in connection with their civil protection duties.

Some of the issues that require consideration are: 1 What are the requirements/ preferences of the police in their role to provide society with a secure environment? 2 What kind of measures need to be taken to support local crime and disorder plans? 3 Who needs to be involved in planning against crime and disorder? 4 What are the main references that should be consulted for more detail? However, in responding to such considerations, the solution will need to meet several criteria including: accessibility and functionality, aesthetics (including heritage issues) and do so cost-effectively. As emphasised at a recent RIBA debate (Rowe and Ancliffe, 2009) the issue is far wider than simply “hardening” the environment.

Further reading CIRIA has already produced guidance for designers on a range of in-use risks: Gilbertson, A (2007) Workplace “inuse” guidance for designers, (C663), CIRIA, London (ISBN: 978-0-86017-663-3) RIBA (2008) Building futures debate. Available from: Rowe, I and Ancliffe, S (2009) Designing for crowds, (C675), CIRIA, London (ISBN 978-0-86017-675-6) Secured by design focuses on crime prevention at the design, layout and construction stages of homes and commercial premises and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products. Go to:

Get involved CIRIA is planning to investigate these issues, to help clients and designers to understand these needs and processes and to provide sign-posting to sources of information and guidance. If you would like to learn more about the project please contact Alan Gilbertson, email


An introduction to CIRIA

evolution magazine has a far broader circulation than just our members and for those of you who are new to CIRIA here is a quick tour of who we are and what we do. We would be delighted to talk to you about how you can be involved.

CIRIA CIRIA is the construction industry research and information association. Operating across market sectors and disciplines we deliver a programme of business improvement services and research activities for our members and those engaged with the delivery and operation of the built environment. CIRIA is a an independent member based, not for profit association.

engagement and influence Acting as a focal point and independent forum for industry innovation and improvement we engage with policy groups, government sponsors and regulators, clients, consultants, contractors and suppliers. This engagement provides our members with a unique insight to new and emerging developments and the opportunity to influence policy and industry development.

improvement, innovation and research At the heart of our activities are work streams and projects that address industry issues, challenges and opportunities and all with the aim of providing business and delivery improvement. Working collaboratively across traditional sector boundaries provides opportunities to identify best practice, develop new approaches and to identify and enable innovation.


networks and networking

information services

Our networks and forums enable industry groups and stakeholders to share knowledge and exchange ideas through events, reports, meetings and web services.

Our activities place us in a unique position to gain an early insight into policy and regulation development, changing operating environments and new developments in construction techniques and materials.

Networks and events also provide unique opportunities for networking and relationship building across supply chains and market sectors.

Newsletters, briefings and events supported by the CIRIA knowledgebase are designed to keep members informed on developments affecting both construction and the wider built environment.

training and CPD Our training courses, training packs and CPD events cover a wide range of construction and built environment related topics. We also organise in-house training.

publications The majority of our research projects and activities culminate in the publishing of guidance documents, many of which have been adopted as the standard for excellence in their respective areas. Members can also access these guides online.

conferences and events Our rolling programme of conferences and events is designed to raise awareness, share knowledge and to promote discussion on new and emerging topics.

For more information visit


Sustainable procurement – do you go all the way…? Shaun McCarthy, Director of Action Sustainability, Chair of the Strategic Supply Chain Group, and of the London 2012 Sustainability Committee, on scoping the sustainability risks in your supply chain. Many organisations are recognising the importance of managing their supply chains more responsibly. The expressions “sustainable procurement”, “green procurement”, “responsible procurement” and many others are in regular use in businesses and public sector organisations alike. As a consultant in this field the most frequent question I have been asked recently is: “how far down my supply chain should I go?” My answer is usually an unhelpful “it depends” but I will try to shed some light on the subject. Organisations need to think hard about their sustainability objectives and how they may apply to their supply chains. These usually fall into two broad categories:  Positively influencing an effect. These tend to be motivated by corporate or political targets. For example, reducing carbon emissions, reducing waste to landfill, increasing the number of disabled people employed in the supply chain. They may also be driven by cost related to energy consumption or landfill costs.  Mitigating a risk. These tend to be reputation led. For example, detecting and preventing inappropriate labour standards, pollution incidents or other nasty things your suppliers may do to damage your reputation. To decide how far down the supply chain to investigate it is necessary to have some idea of the size of the risk or effect you are dealing with.


For example, a major sportswear manufacture I spoke to explained: “We know where every garment we sell is manufactured and under what labour conditions, we know where every metre of fabric that goes into every garment is made and under what conditions. We don’t yet know where every fibre comes from to make up the material but we are working on it”. Why go to such lengths? The sportswear industry suffered badly in recent memory with international news coverage of poor labour conditions and excessive profiteering, this significantly affected the sales and stock values of global brands. The issue of fibres is mostly about cotton. This product accounts for 25 per cent of the world’s pesticide use and has a significant effect on ground and air pollution. Also, in some countries cotton is picked by forced labour. Manmade fibres have their own problems related to the energy intensity of manufacture, safety and toxic waste. Put these factors together and you have a major reputation risk for the industry so it becomes necessary to trace every fibre. Organisations with less risk related to clothing may only chose to go back to the point of manufacture, while others may not address the issue at all. A robust risk analysis is needed to develop the right solution.

Recent reports of conflict in this region have raised this issue again. As part of their comprehensive CSR programme Farnell, a major electronics distributor, dealt with this risk long before recent reports of the conflict made the news. They sought written assurances from their three suppliers of capacitors that their supplies of coltan are not sourced from this region. Having received written assurances they have

Tantalum or coltan is a little known mineral but it is a vital ingredient in manufacture of electronics equipment, particularly capacitors. It is mined in very few places in the world and has great commercial value. There are abundant supplies of this product in Congo, where mines have, at times, been taken over by guerrilla groups and the profits used to support violence and oppression in the region. Companies’ reputations have been hit over the past 10 years by a campaign entitled No blood on my cell phone

A small dam and power plant in Gudbrandsdal, close to Lillehammer, eastern Norway

informed their customers of this. They have not performed checks but they have a contingency plan to divert sourcing between the remaining suppliers if one (or even two) is found to have a problem. This is an appropriate response to a risk with potentially serious effects but low probability. A major issue for the construction industry is the combination of natural resource use, waste and embodied energy, this is the energy required to make and transport material. The London 2012 Olympics project claims to be the “most sustainable Games ever” and has been very diligent in managing its carbon footprint. This is necessary given the recent announcement that their reference carbon footprint is 3.4m tonnes, over 60 per cent of which is embodied in construction. This has led to amazing new designs for venues and some innovative work in commodity procurement. The carbon footprint of concrete is tracked and managed all the way back to the quarry, and this has led to savings of 100 000 tonnes of carbon (and the most sustainable supplier was the lowest cost). Other construction clients tend to focus on the energy efficiency of the built environment but as our knowledge of the carbon cost of construction improves, there will be more focus on this issue. If the UK construction industry is to remain competitive, we need to learn to design, build and operate facilities that are not only energy efficient, we need to radically reduce the energy used to make the materials or source from suppliers who use real renewable energy. This is a constantly moving agenda and up-to-date knowledge is necessary to keep your strategy fresh. Responsible organisations need to develop a deep understanding of these issues to formulate a plan. A good example of this would be a major utility operator, United Utilities, an organisation accustomed to longterm planning and investment. Clear definition of their sustainability risks and objectives over the long-term followed by a thorough analysis of

their supply chain has resulted in a six year plan to address a wide variety of issues to different levels depending on the level of risk or ambition against individual supply categories. For example, as a major civil engineering client, they want to understand the carbon and waste footprints related to the materials they use but it is recognised that this will take time. To address this they have developed a six year plan to identify, quantify and reduce the effects through progressive stages of their supply chain. As a water utility company they buy a lot of pumps that use a lot of energy. They are addressing not only the efficiency of the pumps and motors, but also the competence of their designers to optimise the efficiency of their plants. This is an immediate objective based on carbon targets that have been declared in public and also motivated by reducing the company’s huge electricity bill, which helps to keep water costs to customers to a minimum. However, pumps are made of cast or forged metal, a highly energy intensive manufacturing process. Pumps are heavy and need to be transported, leading to more emissions. To address this, the company has a longer term plan to understand and manage these effects, which will eventually start to influence where and how products are made. For example, aluminium is an energy intensive material that requires electric arc furnaces for smelting. Supply of electricity from renewable resources such as the abundant hydro-electric power in Norway would reduce the carbon footprint to near zero. Do we think of this when we buy aluminium products? Not yet, but we will one day.

Do you go all the way…? Five tips to decide how to address sustainability in your supply chain 1 Be aware of the issues. Sustainability is a constantly evolving agenda and it takes time to address issues in complex supply chains. You need to be up-to-date with today’s issues and have a clear view of things that will affect your organisation in the future. 2 Understand why. If you are not doing this to mitigate a risk or to achieve an organisational objective, you should probably think again. Look for the “golden thread” back to your organisational goals. 3 Understand your effects and risks. A robust analysis will lead to a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve and why. 4 Understand your supply chain. Good purchasers should already know where excessive costs may lie within their supply chain. But what about excessive risk or environmental effects? 5 Make a plan. Plan for the medium/long-term and take your suppliers and stakeholders with you. Do not be tempted to find a “one size fits all” solution.

Sustainable Procurement event 22 October 2009, London. Visit for full details and to book.

Responsible organisations need to deal with sustainability risks and effects that are important to them at the point in their supply chain where it can make most difference. This may be in a pump factory, a cotton plantation or a quarry. It will support your organisation’s long-term success but is not easy and will take a long time to do.


Urban design

– the art of place making Louise Clarke discusses the important role that urban design has in creating sustainable places and CIRIA’s involvement in the discipline. Where we live shapes how we live our lives. The environments that we live, work and play are paramount to our quality of life and social wellbeing. Most people expect the same thing from where they live: jobs, a healthy economy, a decent home, good public services and attractive safe environment. Construction and built environment professionals are well placed to create distinctive and inclusive living spaces through good urban design. Urban design links the environmental concerns, social equity and economic viability of creating places that work and are sustainable. It delivers places that are planned, designed and developed so they are attractive, prosperous, safe with a good mix of facilities, services and opportunities, a strong sense of local distinctiveness, ample green space, a lively public realm and good community life. Successful urban design requires coworking and co-operation between different disciplines including planning, transportation, architecture, design, landscape and engineering. A focal point of this is creating connections for people ensuring that there are flows of movement between the urban form, nature and built fabric.

Places and people The places where people live and work have a profound effect on their quality of life. The emphasis should be on how places function and not just on how they look. If people enjoy an area and have a positive response they are likely to return and interact in those spaces. Places affect people’s quality of life in a range of ways. These factors include reduced crime and pollution levels, improved employment opportunities, and encouraging social ties and community involvement. The quality of local services is also crucial especially transport links and green spaces. A well designed street can help create a sense of safety and community. Mixed use areas with a range of services and amenities where pedestrians have priority create a sense of place and encourage social interaction and community cohesion. Placing pedestrians at the centre of street design encourages natural surveillance and can discourage crime and antisocial behaviour. A good quality of life helps people’s physical and mental health. If people feel safe and part of a community it also helps their mental well-being. If they have pleasant surroundings it encourages the pursuit of outdoor activities, which helps both their physical and mental health. Regeneration is an important aspect of urban design, improving the existing urban environment can increase the attractiveness of an area and encourage investment. Simple measures like better street lighting, better connections, planting trees and adding street furniture can improve a place. These small measures can have an effect on a place and give a renewed sense of ownership.


Historically CIRIA has produced a comprehensive collection of guidance outputs, training and events focused on addressing technical and process oriented engineering challenges. In recent years its work has broadened to include a much wider range of activity particularly in support of sustainability. As part of this development CIRIA is working to deliver multiple benefits through guidance on sustainable drainage, open green spaces and biodiversity.

Open space and economic benefits Urban design manages engineering, landscape design and community involvement to create a balanced and adaptive environment. Parks, squares and open space are often vital in creating attractive places. They encourage people to walk, cycle and spend time outdoors. Urban design incorporates open spaces within developments to help interactions and improve the quality of life. CIRIA is currently working on a project to encourage open spaces in the urban environment Development of previously used sites for open green space and creative schemes – good practice guidance (Prop 2630). The project will help professionals involved in the reclamation and redevelopment of previously used land (brownfield sites) to sensitively transform sites into good quality, accessible open green space. There are strong arguments for investment in well designed places. People place value on their work and home environments and if an area is vibrant it will encourage further investment and reinvestment. This helps create jobs and other opportunities guaranteeing the sustainability of the area. Green spaces and parks encourage wildlife, create habitats and have other

The pond provides a space for water in extreme weather events and provides green infrastructure through the development.

benefits including flood management. Open spaces have economic benefits of adding value to a development and property that overlooks parks, and green spaces tend to attract higher rents and financial value.

Climate change Climate change is influencing the way we design. We have to consider how the climate affects the existing urban environment and how the creation of new development will interact with the natural environment. When designing, it is vital that we reduce the effect on the environment and create places that can adapt to the changing weather patterns. Reducing the carbon footprint of buildings and decreasing flood risk are two vital elements of climate change. Urban design plays an important role in creating places that have a reduced effect on the climate. It encourages the early involvement of main stakeholders to create developments and buildings that adapt to these challenges by considering them in the early design stage.

the use of green infrastructure – a network of green and blue elements in and around urban areas.

The future The streets, roads, squares and green corridors that connect buildings are just as important as the buildings themselves. Green infrastructure including public and private spaces creates places that are more attractive, healthier, and economically competitive as well as helping urban areas cope with climate change. Urban design seeks to incorporate all of these ideas to create socially inclusive areas where people interact. Sustainable places are created through good design. The scale and shape of buildings, the layout of the streets, squares and parks all influence an area and the way it functions. Urban design draws together these multiple elements and has a significant role in ensuring developments are designed to create places for people and community interaction.

Flood risk is one of the main challenges of climate change that the urban environment will have to adapt to. CIRIA has developed several projects on flood risk management from surface water management to sustainable drainage and flood resistance and resilience. CIRIA is working on several projects in this area at the moment including Planning for SUDS – making it happen (RP784) and Guidance on retrofitting surface water management (RP922). Urban design helps flood risk management by involving stakeholders in the early design stages and ensuring sustainable drainage is included in the master planning of a development. Sustainable drainage encourages

People are central to the street design and have priority over cars. This encourages greater use of the streets as they are regarded as safe places.


Publications from CIRIA With more than 600 titles in the current publications catalogue, CIRIA’s research has given rise to a huge variety of publications over the year with many of our older publications still regarded as the best available in the industry. Included in our published outputs in 2009 are two important industry guides: unexploded ordnance and whole-life infrastructure asset management.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO). A guide for the construction industry (C681) The legacy of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) has caused many problems for construction projects throughout the UK. Invariably these problems have led to delays and an associated increase in costs, especially during the site investigation and groundwork phases of construction. In many cases these problems could have been avoided if an appropriate risk management procedure had been carried out at the initial stages of the project design process. This document aims to provide the UK construction industry with a set and defined process for the management of risks associated with UXO from WWI and WWII aerial bombardment. Also it will be broadly applicable to the risks from other forms of UXO that might be encountered. This publication is a construction industry guide. It focuses on the needs of the construction professional if there is a suspected UXO on site and covers issues such as what to expect from an UXO specialist. However the guide is not intended to give details guidance for the EOD contractors or contracting practices. Price: £80 (£40) ISBN: 978-0-86017-681-7


Whole-life infrastructure asset management: good practice guide for civil infrastructure (C677) This good practice guide:  identifies the principles of effective whole-life infrastructure asset management for long-life civil engineering infrastructure assets, particularly in the transport and distribution industries  describes the main steps required to successfully enforce whole-life infrastructure asset management

Published shortly  The VOCs Handbook. Investigating, assessing and managing risks from inhalation of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at land affected by contamination (C682) Price £100 (£50) ISBN 978-0-86017-685-5  Tunnels: condition appraisal and remedial treatment (C671) Price £120 (£60) ISBN 978-0-86017-671-8 To order any of the above publications please visit

 highlights existing good practice

Forthcoming in 2009–2010

 examples and case studies for practical use.

 Noise and vibration issues in urban development (RP722)

This guide is not intended to be an all encompassing asset management manual, or to provide comprehensive coverage of all associated subjects, but enable readers to apply the basic principles of asset management and to locate more detailed information if necessary.

 Manual on the use of concrete in maritime engineering (RP764)

By using the experiences of the steering group involved in its development, this publication exemplifies the asset management context for civil engineering infrastructure in the UK. It is aimed at engineering or other technical and professional managers who are new to the principles of asset management. It may also be useful to experienced asset managers who are interested in reviewing the good practice examples and case studies from UK infrastructure organisations.

 Setting-out for modern methods of construction (CON170)

 Update of the beach management manual (RP787)  Culvert design and operation guide (RP901)

 Planning for SUDS – making it happen (RP784)

Price: £80 (£40) ISBN: 978-0-86017-677-0

Networks, events and conferences CIRIA delivers several learning and business networks covering a diverse range of topics for those working in the construction and built environment sectors. CIRIA networks provide a platform for sharing experiences, disseminating good practice, encouraging innovation and providing opportunities to network and develop business. Our two main business networks are the Construction Industry Environmental Forum (CIEF) and the Construction Productivity Network (CPN). The CIEF covers topics in the environment and sustainability areas and CPN tackles issues related to construction process, technology and infrastructure. Over the last year these networks have attracted nearly 1000 delegates to workshops and seminars on subjects as diverse as asset management, sustainable construction, biodiversity and modern methods of construction. These networks have a continuing programme of events and site visits providing a unique opportunity for professionals to remain at the forefront of new and current good practice, as well as understanding the latest policy, business and technology developments. Alongside these established networks, we also develop and assist theme or sector networks to respond to specific needs as new opportunities arise. These include:  the SAFESPUR forum has been set up along with the SAFEGROUNDS and SD:SPUR Learning Networks to develop and disseminate good practice on contaminated land management and the management of assets and decommissioning wastes from defence and nuclear sites  CIRIA has developed two networks supporting local authorities in their functions: the Local Authority Contaminated Land Network (LACL), which has been running since 2002, helps officers fulfil

their responsibilities relating to land contamination and the regeneration of brownfield sites. The Local Authority Network on Drainage and Flood Risk Management (LANDFRM) supports local authorities with the challenges of responding to flood risk and surface water management  CIRIA’s Brownfield Risk Management Forum (BRMF) aims to promote cross-sector communication and learning for those involved in brownfield projects, encourage sustainable and good practice in procurement, and improve the management of risk and liability  complementing CIRIA’s work in the coastal and marine sector, CIRIA assists the European Marine Sand and Gravel Group (EMSAGG), which provides a forum for data exchange between researchers, regulators, policy makers and contractors. In common with the other CIRIA networks, EMSAGG supports the dissemination of good practice and policy change  the University Engagement Group (UEG) co-ordinated by CIRIA aims to share and exchange ideas and information on research themes that are topical, important and forward thinking to the broader construction industry.

approaches as well as business to business opportunities. The events programme delivers over 130 events each year attracting some 4000 delegates. The programme includes conferences, workshops and good practice seminars. Full details of our forthcoming programme are available on the CIRIA website. Annual contaminated land conference Succeeding in challenging times: an international approach to brownfield projects on 14 October in London. The event aims to guide land regeneration professionals worldwide on how to secure funding, and provide them with methods to gain more efficiency and competitiveness in schemes in the UK and overseas.

Exhibitions CIRIA staff will be available on our stands at both the Civils exhibition ( in London from 25–26 November 2009 and at the Ecobuild exhibition ( at Earls Court, London from 2–4 March 2010.

Linked to CIRIA’s research and industry activities these networks bring together innovators, practitioners and the main decision and policy makers helping industry to respond to changing agendas. If you would like to participate, join or support any of these networks please visit

Events and conferences Together with our networks CIRIA events and conferences provide a highly effective means to communicate and generate new ideas and



Training In response to increasing time pressures facing industry professionals, CIRIA has developed a range of comprehensive, informative and accessible one and two day training courses covering topics from CIRIA’s best selling guidance, including SUDS, environmental management and sustainability issues in construction. Each course is developed by recognised experts in the field who have worked with CIRIA extensively in the past. All course content is assessed and guided by the relevant CIRIA research manager to ensure it is high quality as well offering delegates plenty of scope for interaction. All CIRIA training courses can be delivered in-house at company offices. A standard course can be delivered as an update for company staff or CIRIA can work with companies to develop a bespoke course for their staff. To find out more visit:

SUDS The recent consultation on the Floods and Water Management Bill has highlighted the role that sustainable drainage systems (SUDS) can make in managing local flood risk with proposals to make SUDS a requirement in new developments. CIRIA’s established training programme and published SUDS guidance aims to equip professionals with the basics needed for those new to this natural approach to drainage and provide detailed design principles to those involved in delivery.

CDM This course examines the duties of a designer following the updated CDM2007 Regulations, and also explains the requirement for consideration of workplace “in-use” risks. The difficult issues that face designers are discussed and practical examples used to illustrate the points being made. A team exercise enables designers to apply the knowledge learned and ask any questions.


2009 Environmental good practice 13 October 10 November

London Bristol

Working with wildlife 23 September


SUDS foundation 17 September 8 October 10 November 17 November

London London Bristol Dublin

Designing SUDS 23/24 September Bristol 15/16 October Belfast 27/28 October Manchester 8/9 December London CDM for designers 7 October 4 November

London Bristol

Resource use and waste management 17 November


Post-recession construction Leading industry figures share their views The events of October 2007 sparked the largest global economic crisis in recent history, and the effects are still resonating loudly in our ears. Many industries were hit by the financial firestorm, including the construction sector and even the most robust of organisations have had to batten down the hatches, take stock and hope that they will emerge on the other side. But no one will surface from the ruins unscathed. At a recent CIRIA member’s day, John Connaughton (Partner, Davis Langdon) and David Belsham (Director, BAM Nuttall) expressed their views on the effects the credit crunch has had on their respective organisations as a client and a contractor. Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich and Chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction also offered his perspective. Although the contingency plans for each organisation may be different, the end goal is the same: to minimise the damage. Following the collapse of several major financial institutions, there was a remarkable decline in construction activities in 2008–2009. The housing market was the hardest hit, while the public sector workload also decreased significantly: a trend that is predicted to continue until 2011 or 2012. Many mid-scale contractors have failed or have been forced to renegotiate banking facilities. The supply chain has been forced to dramatically reduce prices to liquidate stock and clear inventories at levels that are unsustainable. In short, the immediate future for the construction industry looks bleak and will almost certainly test the values, culture and relationships with stakeholders of any business. So what are the strategies to ride out the storm? This depends on the markets, business model and ethos of an organisation. In the case of Davis Langdon, whose focus is on buildings, the old adage “cash is king” is the

John Connaughton Partner, Davis Langdon

main focus of all operations, as John Connaughton explains. The trick is to “follow the money”. This may mean extending business activities into areas previously unexplored or unexploited. The pre-2009 cost base was also challenged, resulting in a rationalisation of staff costs, including, unfortunately, redundancies and salary reductions, albeit with mechanisms and incentives to recover this over a two year period if performance is improved and targets are reached. Fees and margins have also been heavily scrutinised. Other ways to control cost and improve capacity is to retain and nurture vital employees to prevent staff turnover, which can be costly. Improved business development is also high on the agenda. Although some of the strategies listed previously are synonymous across the sector, BAM Nuttall, which focuses on the civils market, has adopted a different approach. In David Belsham’s view, the focus should concentrate on its eight business competencies and areas of expertise, rather than diversify. He also recognises that in times of recession, it is the organisational values, visions and commitments of the organisation that are tested, internally as well as externally. A firm commitment must be made to ensure that all stakeholders (clients, employees, shareholders etc) remain confident in the business. For staff the mental, physical, occupational and even spiritual health is an essential parameter that should be monitored closely, as it will ultimately have an effect on health and safety (H&S) performance levels. Good H&S records are paramount in good times and even more so in the bad times as they can directly affect the chances of winning contracts. Other strategies require a review of the fundamental business model, and by auditing main business processes, areas to improve efficiency and productivity have been identified. Also, businesses should look to other stakeholders who can add value. By seeking to involve the “intelligent client” and developing projects in a collaborative as opposed to a confrontational style, the desired outcomes will be favourable to all.

David Belsham Director, BAM Nuttall

Nick Raynsford MP and Chairman of the Strategic Forum for Construction

Nick Raynsford was able to provide an insight into government strategies to mitigate the effect of the credit crunch. Although not a representative of the Government, Mr Raynsford suggested that there would be “similar behaviour regardless of the Government”.

Capturing good practice across the industry and even across the Government can be challenging. Success stories should be shared across government departments to improve process, for example, the current methods of procurement for Defence Estates.

A common misunderstanding in communications between industry and government is that both expect each other to speak with a single voice. The construction industry is a complex and fragmented industry. The Government is equally diverse and relates to the sector in one of three ways:

The Government also has an obligation to decrease the burden on industry by offering tax breaks and flexibility on current regulatory requirements, particularly Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Liquidity needs to be injected into the market by increasing lending within the private sector and the current disparity within government should be addressed by appointing an overall chief construction officer with sufficient links and considerable standing within Parliament to affect change.

 as a client – the buildings and infrastructure (either directly or delivered through agencies etc)  as a regulator, eg BERR, DECC  as an economic manager, eg UK plc (including input from the Treasury, the Prime Minister and BERR). This highlights the challenges in obtaining an adequate interface not only across industry, but also across government departments. Despite this disparity, the main objectives should be similar to those of the industry, ie minimise damage in the short-term. The medium-term goal is to enable and support recovery without increasing aggravation. This is particularly true for the flailing housing market, where demand is seriously outweighing supply: it was predicted that 240 000 new homes would be built in 2009 but current forecasts anticipate that only 70 000 will be erected. There are also several other ways that the Government could do more to improve the current situation and provide a solid base for the future. The first is to achieve an increase in certainty on delivery of projects. Building schools for the future is a good example of how a streamlined procurement process can improve efficiency and productivity, but it is important to note that government spending is likely to decrease by 2011. As such, capital investment and expenditure should be maintained accordingly.

One thing that is agreed by all is that the future will consist of an entirely new economy: one that will be a “low-carbon economy” and it is the Government’s responsibility to provide a suitable framework to promote and support the use of lowcarbon technologies, especially where retrofitting is concerned. Because of this, it is highly likely that carbon-accounting methods will become a significant assessment tool for the procurement of specific projects. History tells us that big industries like the construction sector emerge from the ashes of a recession in a very different form. Changes that are made are not necessarily fundamental, but each organisation will be much leaner and certainly more efficient. If there is anything to be gained from the events of the past 18 months it is that the basic business processes of the survivors will be in much better shape than they were before October 2007, putting them in good stead for a brighter future.


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