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Contents CIRIA celebrates 50

Building, construction and technology

Construction and process explained

CIRIA’s role in supporting the sector

New and forthcoming titles Photograph acknowledgements Cover artwork by Hannah Waters

Courses from CIRIA

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Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

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Dave Richards, Arup

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Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering

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Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA)

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Halcrow and Richard Allitt

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Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering

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Environment Agency

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Roger Nowell, Sheffield City Council

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Mott MacDonald

Working with the ground engineering community

CIRIA’s achievement in the water sector

Keeping up-to-date

© CIRIA 2010 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 Evolution is printed with vegetable inks on paper comprising 75 per cent post-consumer waste and 25 per cent ECF recycled paper.


In this special edition of Evolution, celebrating CIRIA’s 50th anniversary, our panels have taken the opportunity to look back over the last 50 years at the key developments and achievements in their respective areas of interest – as well as looking ahead to consider what the next 50 years will bring. The macro issues that we face are well documented. The reality of climate change, coupled with policy and regulatory pressures (such as government commitments to reduce emissions by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050) encourages more sustainable, low carbon, solutions. While current economic uncertainties are foremost in our minds, carbon reduction ensures that we continue to look for new opportunities. The transition to a low carbon future will require a multitude of changes including improvements in construction efficiency, waste recycling, the widespread adoption of whole-life costing that includes carbon accounting, and the retrofitting of both domestic and nondomestic buildings. Mitigation will


CIRIA celebrates 50

Bill Healy, Chief Executive

embraced, yet the counterpoint of health and safety and improvements to site practices will remain another vital constant as the industry works towards a zero accident future.

remain high on the agenda with flood risk management and SuDS (sustainable drainage systems) a priority. Changes to the energy mix can be expected, with an increased focus on nuclear power generation as well as renewable sources, including offshore wind power, all delivered through a power optimising smart grid. And perhaps we will see the evolution of a set of EDM (energy design and management) regulations, providing impetus to stimulate innovative low carbon technologies and practices.

All of these opportunities have to be realised in the context of legislation. Yet while legislation evolves, acting as a focal lens for the industry and providing clarity of the conditions to be met, there will be significant ambiguity in how these are to be achieved in practice. To deliver future changes we need a collaborative industry that addresses the challenges in an integrated way. Collaborative research, which has formed the basis of CIRIA’s work for the last 50 years will surely play an increasingly crucial role. Coupled with our not-for-profit status, we will continue to pursue our mission of “championing performance in construction and improving the quality, efficiency and safety of the modern built environment”. It is thanks to our members and supporters that we are able to remain an independent and impartial organisation, guided by members and senior figures from across the industry. With your ongoing support we will continue to maintain and develop our activities to reflect the increasingly demanding requirements placed on the built environment and to meet the challenges the future holds.

Economic pressures continue to provoke the industry into seeking more efficient solutions, increased productivity and better, demonstrable value. This offers an array of new opportunities in technology, materials and processes, such as off-site prefabrication and building information modelling (BIM). Assets will need to be smarter and systems will be expected to perform better. Concurrent and continuous improvements that minimise cost and maximise value will be

Welsh renewable energy

Bill Healy Chief Executive


Building: concrete achievements As part of CIRIA’s 50th anniversary, Alan Gilbertson and the Building and Construction Technology Advisory panel take the opportunity to look back, recalling and celebrating past events and achievements and looking ahead to what the next 50 years will bring Building construction and technology Building construction and technology (BCT) is a core topic. The people who participate in its panel activities and in the projects that it is associated with include specialists in particular fields such as materials or design or construction. Many of them have a wide experience of the industry and maintain an involvement in other topic areas such as industry processes and ground technology. There is expertise and interest in cross-cutting topics that affect all CIRIA’s panels, in particular health and safety, and the developing topic of designing and building in a sustainable manner that reduces adverse effects on the environment.

2002), which pointed the way to achieving reliable performance under far more difficult conditions than we experience in the UK. Also published was guidance on the control of cracking in concrete: Early-age thermal cracking in concrete (C660, 2007), which has been recently updated in-line with Eurocodes that have been created over the last 30 years.

Designing for people

Looking to the future, continuing developments in concrete technology will almost certainly drive us further towards seeing concrete being sold as a series of products rather than being simply a mixture selected by the designer. Also, there will be improvements in recycling arrangements. But will there be significant replacements for concrete, possibly involving recycled plastics? Unlikely perhaps but “the future is another place”, and whatever happens CIRIA will maintain a watching brief and run projects if its members need guidance, keeping in contact with the Concrete Society, The Concrete Centre and other concrete industry bodies as they evolve.

CIRIA has worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide guidance on floor surfaces in Safer surfaces to walk on, reducing the risk of slipping (C652) and an update is now freely available to download. Also, Guidance on designing for crowds – an integrated approach (C675) was published in 2009 and work is now underway to provide guidance on design against crime and disorder in large public spaces. How this new “family” of people-focused guidance progresses in the future will depend on societal concerns. The slips guidance was developed in response to disturbing statistics, which showed that slipping over was the most common type of accident for the population as a

The BCT repertoire originally concentrated on technology not people issues. However, CIRIA is for all disciplines and increasingly over the decades projects have evolved that have looked at factors affecting people, which need to be understood before starting design and construction.

Concrete achievements 50 years ago, concrete was established as the material of choice for many uses, but design and durability issues remained to be overcome. Many active programmes of work were underway on these topics between the 1960s and the 1990s and CIRIA was at the forefront of these activities. In particular was Guide to the construction of reinforced concrete in the Arabian Peninsula (C577, 4

Example of unacceptable uneven paving

whole. The guidance crime and disorder responds to growing fear not only of traditional crimes but also terrorism, a fear that has grown exponentially over the last 50 years.

professionals expect to access free guidance at the click of a mouse and will work with what is available. CIRIA members will need to address this issue earlier rather than later.

What concerns in the future will CIRIA need to respond to? How will population growth, urbanisation, climate change etc affect our industry? Will oil become a highvalue commodity, forcing changes in energy creation/capture/use and the associated infrastructure? Whatever the answers, the industry will help contribute to the response and CIRIA will play its part in providing information and advice.

And finally….

Constructing safely Fifty years ago, health and safety as we now understand it was a glint in a site manager’s eye. Of course, not killing the workers was important, but the attention given to avoiding accidents and (probably more important with experiences of asbestos) not damaging health and well-being, was at an early stage. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 contributed to later changes, and the arrival of the CDM (Construction Design and Management) Regulations 1994 had an effect that was reinforced by the 2007 amendments. CIRIA has been active in responding to this agenda, working closely with the HSE. Many guides have been prepared and updating has been needed to reflect the advances made in site methods – particularly in methods of access. Looking ahead, the improvements in performance should continue, but directors and senior managers will need to manage the risk of catastrophic events (that are of low frequency but potentially of high

What wildcards can the current BCT panel members expect? Here are a few:

consequence). Recent events in other industries have demonstrated that society is becoming more risk averse and less accepting of major disasters. CIRIA’s 2010 report Preventing catastrophic events in construction to the HSE explores these issues.

the built environment will continue to improve in the quality of life it delivers to people and will adapt and respond to changes in climate and sustainability issues

Egan’s vision of buildings as integrated products with repeat modules will arrive, offered by major contractors leading integrated supply chains

off-site prefabrication will become “the norm” until the oil dries up. If we haven’t developed new power sources by then, we may return to construction maximising the use of materials found locally

site methods and skills will change, with robots entering the lexicon of “site plant and equipment”

designers and constructors will work more closely together so that “zero accident” projects become an attainable goal for construction teams. Construction workers will increasingly retire without health problems arising from their work

fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) will come of age but there will be some significant failures along the way.

Oldies but goldies Work from the past has to be regularly sifted, revisited and renewed as appropriate. For example, CIRIA’s seminal guidance on Design for movement in buildings (TN107, 1981) as prepared nearly 30 years ago and currently seeking industry funding. CIRIA is particularly grateful for time spent and advice received from panel members who review old guidance and who advise on its status. Management of this developing knowledge resource, in an electronic age, will be an exciting opportunity for CIRIA. The subject of knowledge management and web access presents challenges for the BCT panel. Guidance on technology and design will be out of date almost immediately following publication. Moreover, many young construction

In 50 years time perhaps someone will read this article and see how right we were!

If you would like to be involved in the update of TN107, contact Alan Gilbertson on email:


Process: it’s not what you do, but the way that you do it Owen Jenkins and the Construction Process Advisory panel examine how CIRIA has developed a range of guidance aimed at helping the industry to understand and adopt principles of new management and regulatory approaches

consultants. New topics such as noise and ecology were introduced into design, and clients began to ask why out-turn costs were invariably greater than tender estimates. Construction processes began to be talked about again and the publication of the Latham Report in 1994 led to a big shift in attitude to these topics.

How the industry has changed Construction processes were hardly an issue in 1960. The industry was rigidly hierarchical: consultants were trusted to design and supervise, contractors to construct and clients’ organisations were generally small and relatively inexpert. Contracts were awarded under the ICE 4th edition for civil engineering, the JCT 1939 edition for buildings or the original GC/Works 1 for government work. In 1964, the Banwell Committee found these issues central to reform of the industry. Banwell found an industry with people keen to improve practice and procedure. However, the majority seemed to be following traditional patterns. Banwell’s central recommendation was to adopt a common form for building and civil engineering conditions of contract. Regrettably, the recommendations were not adopted. Little changed for two decades as the industry focused on construction materials, until the 1980s when health and safety, introduced by the 1974 Act, and quality assurance concepts from the manufacturing sector, began to be taken seriously. Contractors started to develop expertise that overlapped with


Over the last 50 years, while site activities and the products of construction may be recognisable to professionals from the 1960s, the role of organisations and the way they work together may be less familiar. Promoted by the Latham and later Egan reports, the 1980s saw the introduction of a wide range of management systems affecting quality, health and safety and the environment. This trend continued through the 1990s with the development of value, risk and knowledge management approaches.

its activities give an indication of how the industry has developed over time.

Construction operations and management Site practices have been a strong element of CIRIA’s process work with well received titles covering important topics such as noise, tower crane stability, ship to shore linkspans and health on site. These have contributed to the improvement of the industry’s safety record. Also, the panel’s work has resulted in several important management publications including: 

Quality assurance in construction (SP63V, 1985)

Target and cost-reimbursable construction contracts (R85, 1985)

Construction contract incentive schemes – lessons from experience (C554, 2001)

CDM Regulations – work sector guidance for designers (R166, 1997)

Control of risk – a guide to the systematic management of risk from construction (SP125, 1996)

Value by competition: a guide to the competitive procurement of consultancy services for construction (SP117, 1996)

It’s a people thing – practical ideas for accelerating change (C586, 2003)

Integrating value and risk in construction (C639, 2005)

Business case for knowledge management in construction (C642, 2005)

CDM 2007 – workplace “in-use” guidance for designers (C662, 2007)

Site health handbook (second edition) (C670, 2008).

How CIRIA has helped CIRIA has anticipated and responded to a range of improvement and wider agendas over the years. As a result, CIRIA has developed guidance across the spectrum of these topics, helping industry both understand the principles of the new management and regulatory approaches and, importantly, how to adopt them. The construction process panel has focused on three primary areas, and

“Among the swathe of new safety legislation introduced over the past 20 years, the CDM Regulations have had a significant impact, forcing clients and designers to be aware of, and take seriously, their safety responsibilities. CIRIA’s excellent guides have helped designers put the regulations into practice”

“Lean thinking offers Western industries a great opportunity to become more efficient and to drive out all forms of waste, not only in activities but between organisations. UK construction will value this development. As an industry-wide organisation, with members from major construction clients, contractors and designers, CIRIA offers an opportunity to establish a common approach to Lean thinking and has the standing to share the philosophy throughout construction”

Martin Roach, Lead Engineer, London Underground Ltd

Learning, collaborative networks Although CIRIA’s outputs were largely publications until the late 1980s, CIRIA had long recognised the value of collaborative working and the learning process that the CIRIA steering group mechanisms presented. This led to research by its process panel on learning networks and the development of the Construction Productivity Network (CPN) and the Construction Industry Environmental Forum (CIEF). These networks enabled CIRIA to remain at the forefront of discussion and debate on productivity issues and have become the longest running networks in the industry.


Kings Cross ticket hall

While health and safety and environmental concerns have grown in importance over the past decades, productivity and providing value to clients have been a constant theme for CPN and CIRIA projects. This is illustrated by those such as Planning to build? A practical introduction to the construction process (SP113, 1995), More for less. A contractor’s guide to improving productivity in

recession but continuing postrecovery

construction (C566, 2001) and Lean construction – currently underway.

Alan Hodges, Company Quality Manager, BAM Nuttall

regulatory and other drivers, particularly in terms of environmental and social requirements and greater emphasis on European and International standardisation. However, this is likely to be compounded by greater local decision making

globalisation at an organisational, project and workforce level. Greater markets with more competition from the emerging economies and the associated increased mobility of workforce, particularly on large scale projects

increased focus on the “health” in health and safety. Attention to the interfaces between people and systems, particularly automation and IT systems

further emphasis on soft skills and relationship building

less specialism and greater movement within and between different industries and disciplines

knowledge management and knowledge transfer play increasingly important roles

integration of systems and information across supply chains and over the life of the structure.

CIRIA’s role in the future Over the years, many commentators have speculated on the future shape of the industry. In 1999 to 2000, CIRIA led a construction foresight study, drawing on the knowledge of 10 member companies, including board-level representatives. Recent trends can be extrapolated to indicate the types of activities that CIRIA and its members will be involved with in the future: 

greater complexity in the relationships between financing, design, construction, ownership, operation and use of buildings and infrastructure

increased importance of wholelife considerations

a greater focus on value and efficiency driven by the current

As construction and the organisations within the construction sector become more complex, there will be many opportunities for CIRIA to help the industry respond to the inevitable challenges and changes it will face in the coming decades.

For more information contact Owen Jenkins on email:


Giant hogweed

Environment and sustainability understanding in construction

First glimpses Many would say that virtually everything that has developed in the environmental and sustainability fields has occurred in the last 50 years. Perhaps the start was first seeing our planet from space, giving us a bird’s eye view. It gave us a glimpse of its beauty, emphasising its fragility and energy. With ever more sophisticated technology we are learning more about the Earth and how our actions are affecting it. This is particularly poignant given the projected effects of climate change. Over the last 50 years, there have been many books published on the environment, but two in particular stand out. Firstly, Rachel Carson’s book Silent spring published in 1962, has been widely credited with helping to launch the environment movement. Secondly, Barbara Ward’s and Rene Dubos’ book Only one Earth, published in 1972 for the Stockholm conference on human environment, pioneered sustainable development. This important concept was developed further in 1987 following the launch of the Brundtland Commission report: Our common future, which proposed a definition of sustainable development that is still the most widely used today: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


The legal framework and CIRIA’s role

ground gas and as such has had a major beneficial impact on the development industry. Having updated this guidance in 2006, CIRIA has continued to support the industry in resolving this complex problem and assisting the government achieve its targets for development of brownfield sites.”

It has been said that legislation is “the stick” to force us to change, but to many it provides a clear framework that leads to a change in practice. In 1985 the assessment of the effects on the environment was formalised into the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process, which was widened in 2001 to consider the assessment of plans and programmes, so called strategic environmental assessment (SEA). These developments have widened our consideration of effects from beyond the site boundary to the surrounding environment as well.

The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 formalised the management of environmental effects. This legislation was expanded in 1995 with the establishment of the contaminated land regime through Part IIA. This has led CIRIA to developing a series of contaminated land reports to support industry. “When the issue of ground gas risk was highlighted by Loscoe and Abbeystead, insurers removed cover for ground gas risk to properties within 250 m of landfills. CIRIA took up the challenge in the 1990s with a series of projects.... This work largely restored the confidence in development sites affected by

Peter Witherington, Group Deputy Chairman of RSK

In 1992 CIRIA established the Construction Industry Environmental Forum (CIEF). This independent network helps to inform government on strategic issues relating to sustainability and the built environment by bringing together industry practitioners and experts to share experiences on key issues, developments and future challenges. CIRIA has played an important role in supporting industry by developing practical on site environmental guidance through the Environmental good practice on site guide (C502), first published in 1999, updated in 2005 (C650) and the third edition to

Excavation in progress at Merton Abbey Mills

Philip Charles and the Environment Advisory panel look at CIRIA’s important role in supporting this sector through its publications and related training

Since 2000, CIRIA has played a strategic role in the development of CEEQUAL. This is an assessment and award scheme for improving sustainability performance of civil engineering projects into a key mechanism for highlighting the positive effect construction has on the environment. More recently, the government published Securing the future – delivering UK sustainable development strategy (2005), and launched the Strategy for sustainable construction in 2008, which enables the UK to meet the challenging targets of reducing its contribution to, and the effects of, climate change. CIRIA’s involvement in the development of guidance on lean construction and sustainable procurement relates to this. The guides are further examples of CIRIA distilling complicated ideas into understandable information and, more importantly, into guidance that can be adopted. Other CIRIA initiatives include: 

Building Greener. Guidance on the use of green roofs, green walls and complementary features on buildings (C644, 2007) providing guidance on the design, construction and operation of green roofs and walls. It is linked to the World Green Roof Congress held in London in September 2008 and recently in 2010 Archaeology and development – a good practice guide to managing risk and maximising benefit (C672, 2008). This guide offers the development sector with a unified accessible source of independent and practical advice and information regarding archaeology, drawing on the array of existing guidance

Green roof terrace at One Bishops Square, London

be published in 2010. The guide has proved to be extremely popular and provides a benchmark of what good practice should be. Several training packs evolved from this, covering a broad range of areas including waste, working with wildlife and contaminated land as well as more recently web-based training.

Flood resilience and resistance for critical infrastructure (C688, 2010). The publication concludes that flood resilience measures should be adopted as an integral part of individual organisations’ business continuity management processes, whole-life asset management plans and climate change adaptation strategies.

Looking ahead On the horizon, there are high profile events such as the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, which promise to be the most sustainable games ever and have developed new techniques that can be applied to the wider industry. CIRIA could play a role in this by assisting the organisers in the dissemination of learning from the projects to wider industry, so that others can benefit from the experience. In 2012 there will be an Earth Summit evaluating the progress in the 20 years since Rio and looking forward to the challenges to come. Much of the ground work has been done over the last 50 years and the task for the future is to develop and embed effective mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement. CIRIA will have an important role in providing industry with the tools to meet the challenges. These include government targets aimed at ensuring the transition to zero carbon of all new homes and schools by 2016, public sector nondomestic buildings by 2018 and other non-domestic buildings by 2019. These objectives form part of the wider government targets for climate change mitigation of reducing total UK carbon emissions by at least 34 per cent on 1990

levels by 2030 and 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. These targets force the industry to adapt and adopt sustainable construction methods. A particular focus will be material selection and operation of the built environment. CIRIA’s role is this area will be to promote “green” building, increase adoption of CEEQUAL and support guidance on responsible sourcing. CIRIA can support industry by developing guidance and practical examples on how clients, designers and contractors can meet the carbon aims both in terms of new build and the growing market of retrofitting existing assets. With the issues of climate change, efficient management of flood water to minimise its effects will require guidance on innovative solutions. The waste management industry is expected to reduce the amount of construction, demolition and excavation waste to landfill by 50 per cent of 2008 levels by 2012. It will require guidance on minimising waste, seeking alternatives to landfill and development of alternative solutions including waste to energy plants. A lot has happened to increase understanding of the environment, but there is still more to learn. While there is uncertainty of the magnitude of climate change and other future challenges, the industry needs to be prepared to adapt. CIRIA will continue to draw upon its unique expertise and aid construction to retain the flexibility required in the uncertain future.

If you would like more information, please contact Philip Charles on email:


Overtopping of seawall, Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK

Publications With over 600 titles on offer, CIRIA has been and continues to be at the forefront of good practice guidance in the construction industry. While many back catalogue publications are still widely regarded as the best available, more recent publications are quickly establishing themselves as authoritative in their own right. CIRIA has recently published four important industry guides, available through its bookshop and at a discount for CIRIA members.

The use of concrete in maritime engineering – a guide to good practice (C674) Concrete is a highly versatile, costeffective construction material, offering not only strength and durability, but also a wide range of opportunities in terms of structural type and form, construction techniques and surface aesthetics. This guide aims to distil conclusions from existing research and practical experience, develop good practice guidance on marine concrete materials selection and design, and set out guidance on pre-casting of a variety of elements.

includes the latest information on state-of-art methods, guidance on beach monitoring and maintenance, evaluation of the state and performance of a beach, design, procurement, execution and the after-care of beach improvement schemes. It is divided into four parts and makes use of case studies to illustrate popular management techniques and draw from experience of existing management approaches, reflecting the wealth of experience gained since 1996.

asset management, reflecting the significant changes that have occurred in the business of asset management over the past 10 to 15 years. Price: £120 (£60) ISBN 978-0-86017-689-3

Environmental good practice on site (third edition) (C692) Construction activities have the potential to affect their surroundings, including neighbours as well as the natural and built environment. This guide is intended to be a userfriendly, reference and training aid, and provides practical advice about managing construction on-site to minimise environmental effects. This third edition of the Environmental good practice on site (C692), updates the second edition (C650, 2005).

Book: £300 (£200) CD-Rom: £150 (£100) ISBN 978-0-86017-682-4

Culvert design and operation guide (C689) This guide replaces the Culvert design manual (R168) published by CIRIA in 1997. It adopts a whole-life approach to the design and operation of culverts, with a focus on

Price: £60 (£30) ISBN 978-0-86017-692-3

Forthcoming in 2010

Price: £150 (£75)

Planning for SuDS – making it happen (C687)

ISBN 978-0-86017-674-9

ISBN 978-0-86017-687-9

Beach management manual (second edition) (C685)

Working with wildlife: guidance for the construction industry (C691)

The new manual addresses beach management as a whole, and 10

ISBN 978-0-86017-691-6 A typical pre-cast concrete culvert

Beaches play an important role either as the sole barriers to coastal flooding and erosion, or as part of manmade defences. Beach management in the UK has evolved significantly over the last 10 years, motivated by increased expenditure on capital schemes aided by guidance from the first Beach management manual (R154) published in 1996.

Noise and vibration from road and rail (CRP772) ISBN 978-0-86017-693-0

Geotechnical papers (RP788) To order any of these publications please visit:

Training With 50 years’ experience in providing authoritative guidance to the construction and built environment sectors, CIRIA delivers a range of informative, accessible and interesting training courses covering topics from construction management and sustainable drainage to environmental good practice. Training can be delivered in-house or through open courses and is delivered by industry experts. The course content is based on recognised good practice, which is regularly reviewed by CIRIA and its team of trainers. This ensures that the information given is relevant and up-to-date as well as offering delegates plenty of scope for interaction and active learning.

Benefits of in-house training 

cost effectiveness – CIRIA comes to you, saving you travel time and cost

training customisation – courses can be adapted to focus on your specific requirements

less disruption – flexible course times to fit your schedules

delegate interaction – create focus and discussion on issues important to your organisation for more effective learning

team building – delegates can freely discuss issues in an open forum

immediate productivity – as soon as the course is over, your employees start adopting what they’ve learned.

In-house training

CIRIA has launched the first online training course on contaminated land, providing an excellent foundation level understanding of contaminated land legislation, liabilities and technical matters. Packed full of authoritative guidance, the course offers flexibility and exceptional value for money. The course is aimed at graduates and professionals who have limited experience in assessing and managing risk on brownfield sites. Also, it is of benefit to experienced contaminated land professionals who are looking to update their knowledge. Visit: for full details.

Testimonials for in-house courses delivered in 2010

In-house training can be based on existing open course programmes or tailored to suit individual company needs. Courses are interactive and combine up-to-date experience with practical examples and group work to create the ideal learning environment. Visit for full details.

Excellent course, highly professionally presented with fluent and informed response by the trainer to any and all questions. Steve Hillan, EC+I Project Engineer, RWE

Open training courses Current courses on offer are delivered on published dates in various locations in the UK. Visit for full details: 

Environment good practice on site

SuDS foundation

Designing SuDS

Working with wildlife.

To find out more about CIRIA training and to book please visit:

Online training

The course was very interesting, the duration spot on and I am certainly grateful for the benefit the presentation of the course will have to me by making others on site more environmental conscious and aware of the regulations and rules that apply. Hopefully I will not be considered simply as the “tree hugger”. Paul Claughan, Environmental Specialist, Alstom An intense introduction to environmental issues which covered core topics, giving guidance and references to legislation. Thoroughly enjoyed the training session which expanded on my existing knowledge. Sue Lake, EHS Advisor, John Sisk & Co Ltd


Ground: built on solid foundations CIRIA has worked with the ground engineering community over the past 50 years. Outputs have included ground breaking industry good practice guidance following its wellestablished collaborative research approach. Here, Chris Chiverrell and past and present members of the Ground Engineering Advisory panel consider what have been the most important publications, and what CIRIA is likely to be working on over the next 50 In years past – the first three decades CIRIA has over 150 engaging ground related publications to its credit: The in-situ testing of rock deformability (R2, 1965), Adhesion of piles in stiff clays (R26, 1970), Further work on the engineering properties of Keuper Marl (R47, 1973), Design and construction of ground anchors (second edition) (R65, 1980) to name a few. The diversity of subject matter reflects the fact that all publications were realised from industry ideas and initiatives.

Responding to contractor driven technology – piling CIRIA’s response to industry continued with the development of the comprehensive suite of guidance on piling methods, design and testing, producing the PG1 to PG11 series (1976 to 1980). Many practising engineers still have well worn copies of this series on their bookshelf. 12

“The classic PG series of piling publications are a valuable reference set on pile types, testing, design and construction issues” Viv Troughton, Arup, GEAP Chair, formerly Skanska when elected to GEAP

The contents and style of reports continued to evolve with recognition that they were providing a basis for standardisation of approaches across industry sectors, and many have become de facto standards or were produced specifically to support national standards and codes of practice. Design of retaining walls embedded in stiff clay (R104, 1984) was a real milestone. This was and still is seen by many as one of the first documents to set out the design process for geotechnical structures in a rational and succinct manner. “Retaining walls is a major area where CIRIA is globally acknowledged – the old Report 104 followed by C580 (Embedded retaining walls – guidance for economic design) are probably the most referred to geotechnical design guides in the world” Tim Chapman, Arup, current GEAP member and former Chair, 2007–2009

In recent years– the last two decades More recently, the widening scope of CIRIA guides provides comprehensive coverage of geotechnical topics for the practising engineer, helping them to undertake and manage geotechnical works. Noted publications include The observational method for ground engineering (R185, 1999), the whole-life approach encapsulated in the infrastructure asset management

guidance documents that cover inspection, condition appraisal, assessment, maintenance and remedial treatment, and all the guidance in the contaminated land area.

Geotechnical design for infrastructure – learning from major projects High profile construction projects created a better connected and more advanced infrastructure, and have been the driving force behind many scientific and technological advances in the field of geotechnical engineering. Examples of this include the first engineered earth embankment in the UK on the initial section of the M1 (Preston by-pass 1959). Another major project where CIRIA encapsulated design and construction experience and produced industry guidance was the report Building response to tunnelling – case studies from construction of the Jubilee Line Extension (SP200, 2001).

Infrastructure asset management – having built it somebody has to look after it The suite of good practice publications covers the whole-life management of individual infrastructure assets including cuttings, embankments, masonry structures, tunnels, drystone retaining walls, iron and steel bridges and culverts, as well as new work to develop guidance on drainage systems. The publications provide an overview on an integrated approach to the management of these diverse assets and have been influential in the development of an integrated, comprehensive and risk-based

A421 M1 J13 to Bedford

approach to the appraisal and prioritisation of maintenance activities. They arm the engineer with tools to support improved planning and forecasting against clear levels of service for the infrastructure function that the asset serves. “Much more is spent on asset management than new build in the UK both historically and today. The infrastructure asset management series of CIRIA reports have provided much needed guidance for the industry in a rapidly moving field. Essential reading!” John Perry, Division Director, Mott MacDonald, current GEAP member

Contaminated land and brownfield redevelopment – responding to changing land use The need to regenerate former industrial sites and to manage landfill has created a regime of different issues. CIRIA has produced over 50 good practice and guidance publications on contaminated land and brownfield regeneration. Often these were very timely, for instance CIRIA’s guidance in the early 1990s on the hazards associated with methane (R130/ R131, 1993), which preceded Part IIA of the Environment Protection Act. “The whole series of CIRIA reports on methane changed the perception and assessment of

methane and associated soil gases and has been the corner stone of current standards of assessment and safe design for protection system – they have a major influence on engineering standards worldwide” Geoff Card, Card Geotechnics, and author of C665 (2007)

Geological strata – the engineering is easy but the geology is difficult CIRIA’s guidance publications on the engineering behaviour of certain geological strata are widely recognised as definitive references for engineering in these materials. These include an update of the old Keuper Marl report (now called Mercia Mudstone) (C570, 2001), Engineering in chalk (C574, 2002), Engineering in glacial tills (C504, 1999), and the notoriously complex Lambeth Group (C583, 2004). “For the Highways Agency, C574 (Engineering in chalk) was invaluable in drawing together recent best practice from relevant UK and international experience to influence ongoing projects such as the A2/M2 widening and collaboration with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL)/High Speed 1 (HS1) project, as well as those currently in development” David Patterson, Highways Agency, current GEAP member and Chair of Geotechnical Asset Owners Forum 2007–2010

Looking to the future… Over the last 50 years it is clear that CIRIA has responded to ground and geotechnical engineering issues and provided crucial guidance in key areas. CIRIA will continue to do so in

the coming 50 years to help meet new challenges. For example, as we move toward greater multi-discipline and asset system approaches there will be an increased need for sharing knowledge and good practice. By way of response, the annual GEAP conference Geotechnical issues in construction, established in 2008, brings the ground engineering community together to highlight emerging technologies, new techniques and difficult issues. The conferences highlight the importance and relevance that many of the older CIRIA publications still have, and the need to review and update them as and when appropriate. The main strength of CIRIA’s outputs in the ground engineering field has been interpreting complex geotechnical engineering practice into useful guidance. Although much of this practice will remain unchanged in the near future, there will be a growing need to promote the development and use of innovative low carbon technologies, new methods to recycle waste materials arising from ground engineering processes in construction, and development of industry consensus on how to carbon footprint the entire ground engineering process. CIRIA will continue to play a lead role in this respect. “Future challenges for CIRIA will be to disseminate best practice reports on smart geotechnical structures with a view to improving the sustainability of geotechnical works throughout a whole life cycle” Martin Pedley, Skanska, GEAP member 2003–2007

For more information contact Chris Chiverrell on email:


East Mersea Hall seawall, Essex

Water: half a century of leading the sector Jonathan Glerum and the Water Advisory panel discuss CIRIA’s achievements in the water sector over the past 50 years as well as the role it will play in the future Over the last 50 years, CIRIA has taken a lead in many developments to improve the knowledge and effectiveness of the water sector. This has included work on water storage, treatment and supply, as well as sewage treatment and services, developments in the design of dams and reservoirs, and beach and coastal management. More recently, work on flood risk management and infrastructure within the water sector has been completed. Development of the personal computer has led to: “Much more sophisticated designs, greater opportunities to collect and analyse observations and data, and ultimately led to better construction technologies”

This multi-dimensional approach has led to improved design and safety, optimisation of investment and whole-life asset management. Systems thinking can lead to: “Best utilisation of existing infrastructure and sunk cost, with savings found in operational and replacement costs” Mervyn Bramley Independent Consultant

Erosion of sewers and drains (R14, 1968)

Cost-effective sewage treatment – an assessment of the prototype model (R54, 1975)


Maintenance of coastal revetments (TN124, 1986)

Scope for control of urban runoff, volumes 1 and 2 (R123 and R124, 1992)

Beach management manual (second edition) (C685, 2010)

“CIRIA has been, at the forefront of developments, helping to influence key stakeholders, educating engineers and planners alike.”

CIRIA has helped to adapt to these changes through the publication of a diverse range of guidance documents, including: 

A discussion of CIRIA’s work over the past 50 years would not be complete without the mention of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and flood risk management. From the formative discussions on source control and sustainable urban drainage, through to the development of The SuDS Manual (C697, 2007), and more recently support on the development of the National Standards for Sustainable Drainage.

Bob Sharpe, Deputy Head of Engineering, Tube Lines

Regional pond providing biodiversity, Elvetham Heath, England

Richard Ashley, Professor of Urban Water, Pennine Water Group

Coupled with changes in working practices, there has been a significant change in the way that engineers in the water sector consider the performance of assets. Components and structures are no longer designed, assessed and maintained in isolation. Instead a comprehensive system-based approach is regularly taken.

CIRIA has promoted the use of multidisciplinary teams and is in the early stages of supporting a cultural shift in the perception of water from a problem to a multi-faceted opportunity. With the formation of LANDFRM (the local authority network on drainage and flood risk management) and a variety of SuDS training courses, CIRIA has helped to raise the profile of flood risk management and sustainable drainage. Ultimately, this has led to improvements in how flooding is viewed, creating a science based approached to risk management. This has involved bringing stakeholders together, understanding the challenges and

integrating approaches with land-use planning. The water sector realises that it is extremely complex, requiring a broader vision of what it should be, ie integrated and more sustainable.

50, not out Over the next 50 years, the water advisory panel is unanimous in agreeing that climate change will be the biggest challenge and potential opportunity that the sector will face. The water sector’s ability to adapt and respond to climate change will be hugely important, as the engineering and construction industries aim to maintain the best achievable value and quality from its assets. “Society must move to a situation where it is less dependent on infrastructure in light of uncertainty. This may mean moving out of floodplains or having more robust, sustainable defences”. Jaap Flikweert, Technical Director, Royal Haskoning

A canal in high density housing development, Stamford, England

This brings non structural approaches into the spotlight with more of a focus on softer behavioural issues for practitioners and the public. The panel also sees CIRIA’s role in helping the sector to adapt to climate change as providing evidence to support policy change, the production of briefing papers, training and workshops, as well as the development of guidance and learning support tools. “Providing guidance on adaptation to climate change should not just be on a standalone basis, but embedded into all CIRIA documents”. Jonathan Simm, Technical Director of Engineering, HR Wallingford

This echoes the approach taken for health and safety, which is a crosscutting theme in much of CIRIA’s guidance.

Stormwater wetland area, Malmo, Sweden

Away from climate change, taking an integrated and comprehensive approach to managing water within coastal waters, shorelines and inland water is needed. Whether this is risk management becoming part of landuse planning or the development of larger regional or national infrastructure, improved approaches are needed. To support this, CIRIA may provide guidance that outlines the evidence needed to deliver this new approach, and address the nonstructural or engineering aspects of innovation by challenging barriers wherever necessary.

As part of this integrated approach, the emulation of nature and natural processes is likely to play an important role. As the sector aims to become more environmentally conscious, delivering responsible design and construction, the more likely it is to fall back on nature and natural processes. Finally, further developments that may be significant to the water sector over the next 50 years may include the development of new and innovative technologies (leading to continued improvements in the performance of systems and structures), the need to develop leaner, smarter construction of assets (including the use of cost effective and innovative systems, methods, processes and materials), and the development of ethically driven engineering (helping to manage unsustainable population growth). The last 50 years has seen may achievements, but there is still more work to be done. With CIRIA acting as a facilitator, drawing together organisations, disciplines and publishing good practice and providing evidence, it is likely that the water sector will continue to change and positively respond to future challenges. With this leadership and continued collaboration the sector can explore many opportunities.

For more information contact Jonathan Glerum on email:


Networks, events and conferences The power of networking… People, knowledge, connections and the potential to develop business are crucial as organisations attempt to respond to business challenges and opportunities. CIRIA has embodied this approach through its networks, primarily practitioner communities, where members meet to share and develop knowledge relevant to construction and the built environment. The networks cover a diverse range of topics, delivering a variety of events (breakfast briefings, seminars, workshops, training and webinars) to a wide range of audiences. They provide: 

community building – promoting the common interests and values of members

communicating – sharing knowledge and experiences

learning and facilitating – helping members learn and develop

making connections – bringing together people from different disciplines and sectors.

Our two main networks are the Construction Productivity Network (CPN) and the Construction Industry Environmental Forum (CIEF). These provide opportunities for professionals to remain connected to people, organisations and good practice, as well as gain a vital understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape. In 2010 the CPN has focused on improving the design and delivery process, looking at approaches to improve skills, competence and efficiency. It has held several events addressing the management of infrastructure assets with a particular focus on climate change adaptation. It has also focused on the role of effective briefing and construction processes looking at opportunities to share good practice on lean manufacturing processes from different sectors. 16

During 2010 the CIEF has examined supporting industry consultations, the role of green infrastructure in the built environment and an overview on the sustainability aspects of the design and construction of the 2012 Olympics. The network has held several events on carbon and sustainable procurement. Linked to its research and industry activities, CIRIA has developed thematic networks to respond to specific challenges. The SAFESPUR forum complements the SAFEGROUNDS and SD:SPUR learning networks, assists with the development and dissemination of good practice on contaminated land and the management of assets and decommissioning wastes from defence and nuclear sites. CIRIA’s reputation for the delivery of guidance and support for local authorities has led to the development of two exclusive networks. The Local Authority Contaminated Land Network (LACL) established in 2002 enables local authority officers to deal with the issues of contaminated land and

regeneration of brownfield sites. The network assists local authorities in responding to the provision of public open space and in the growing agenda of the wider community benefits of brownfield regeneration. Similarly, the Local Authority Network on Drainage and Flood Risk Management (LANDFRM) helps officers respond to the issues of flood risk management and the changing regulatory frameworks. CIRIA’s Brownfield Risk Management Forum (BRMF) provides cross-sector communication and learning for those involved in brownfield projects, improving the management of risks and liabilities in a lean economic climate.

Events and conferences


Together with its networks, CIRIA events and conferences provide an effective platform to communicate with other experts, generate new ideas and realise business to business opportunities. The events programme delivers around 100 to 120 events per annum attracting some 3000 delegates. The programme includes good practice seminars, workshops, training as well as conferences. Full details of our forthcoming programme are available on the CIRIA website at:

CIRIA is pleased to support and exhibit at Ecobuild exhibition at ExCel, London on 1–3 March 2011. Visit:

The European Marine Sand and Gravel Group (EMSAGG) is a forum for sharing information, experiences and good practice between a wide range of stakeholders in the sector. These networks complement CIRIA’s mission to share knowledge and build best practice. Membership and involvement in the networks provide opportunities to build knowledge, contacts and business. The networks welcome strategic partners who can provide financial support, allowing organisations to promote their organisations’ commitment to good practice and influence such initiatives.

For more information contact customer services on email: or tel: 020 7549 3300

The World Green Roof Congress 2010 held on 15–16 September at One Bishops Square in London was delivered jointly by CIRIA and The Congress brought together leading green roof experts from across the globe, providing an engaging platform for communicating inspirational case studies, research and policy initiatives. Delegates learned about latest innovations and research to support the effective delivery of green roofs within the context of green infrastructure and several inspiring keynote presentations and case studies demonstrating successes were given. The event attracted over 200 delegates from 25 nations and feedback so far indicates another successful event.


David Gutteridge Divisional Director, Mott MacDonald

Viewpoint When looking at the achievements over the last 50 years and what the future may hold for CIRIA, it’s important to reflect on what life was like five decades ago. For my part, I was still at school and the slide rule was the calculator of choice. Communications were far more formal and considered, and as such dissemination of knowledge was much more structured. How technology has revolutionised the way we do things! Indeed CIRIA has had to manage change throughout much of its existence from its inception as the Civil Engineering Research Council to adoption of new thought leadership from luminaries such as Egan and Latham, as well as the very important increased emphasis on health and safety.

Drawing upon its membership to identify topics for research and decide which to take forward through a voting process, CIRIA’s contribution continues to develop and improve as the base of knowledge underpinning engineering practice today. Many useful design and good practice guides have been published with funding from member subscriptions, the government and other interested parties. Obtaining funds to deliver the wish list has often been a challenge, particularly in the low points of the economic cycle, and this is likely to continue.

CIRIA’s networking and training events continue to be excellent value and this is likely to remain the case through carefully targeted face to face meetings and training. The evolving publishing communications arena will continue to present the real challenges for CIRIA as members will expect information more quickly and in readily accessible formats. Globalisation will need to be factored in to any communications planning. Finding funding will remain a challenge as all media organisations are experiencing the financial effects of free online information.

The emergence of the worldwide web and popular use of the internet has presented further change and

Drilling for rock dowels

The use of the authoritative CIRIA guides was, and is, an important part of understanding and adopting good practice for the civil engineering fraternity. Looking back at some of the earlier publications, CIRIA addressed such diverse subjects as energy efficiency, compressed air

challenges for CIRIA. In the modern world of the internet, where information is plentiful and instant, CIRIA has had to market its credentials in a noisy market place. However, information published on the internet often can be less transparent in terms of reliability of source, and this is where CIRIA can and should differentiate its offering. Professionals need access to trusted information sources as there is always the need to be accurate with work, particularly as litigation is becoming more common in the construction sector. By providing reliable good practice information and acting as a benchmark, CIRIA continues to play a vital role.

working, buildability, noise, target and cost reimbursable contracts as well as improved contract practices for tunnelling and site investigation to name but a few. Most of these topics are still relevant and widely discussed today, indicating that CIRIA is at the forefront of civil engineering research and reporting.


CIRIA’s sustainability is in delivering high quality and reliable research publications that have practical application for the whole industry, and are good value for money. Some of the longer more academically biased volumes may become no longer viable, although this will obviously be driven by the membership. CIRIA has demonstrated value to the industry over the last 50 years and I am in no doubt that this will continue. Here’s to the next five decades!

How do you achieve best practice in practice? In-house training from CIRIA CIRIA delivers a range of informative and engaging in-house training courses, covering topics from construction management and sustainable drainage to environmental good practice, all delivered by industry experts.

Interested in CIRIA in-house training? Call now for a no obligation quote Tel: 020 7549 3300 Email: Web:

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