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Collaborative working at CIRIA

Collaborative working, bringing together different disciplines and stakeholders, is widely recognised and advocated as being a key to achieving the improvements in performance targeted in the HM Government Industry Strategy Construction 2025.

From its inception in 1960, CIRIA has recognised and put these principles into practice, and in 2014 we published our 1,000th collaboratively developed project.

CIRIA’s collaborative and peer-review process has been used to produce independent and authoritative guidance across a range of topics and in a variety of media, usually tackling topics at interfaces between disciplines, regulators, operators and other stakeholders.

The success of CIRIA projects relies on its appointed authors, project steering group (PSG) and chairmen, project funders and the many other stakeholders who contribute to CIRIA guides. The following quotes are from a small selection of those who have participated in RP1000 and/or other projects over the years.

Dr Mervyn Bramley, Engineer and Environmentalist, PSG chair RP1000
“As chair of the UK/Ireland PSG for RP927 The International Levee Handbook (ILH) and RP1000 Application of Eurocode 7 to the design of flood embankments, it has been a privilege to assist the successful delivery of these challenging projects. The CIRIA approach – with an experienced research contractor team, good CIRIA project management, knowledgeable PSG, and collaborative funding – was able to provide well-balanced and practical guidance via a thorough peer review. This is an essential part of providing reliable products for practitioners. CIRIA’s capability to develop an effective overall team to deliver the ILH project was the envy of our other national partners.”

Andy Moores, Programme Manager, Evidence Directorate, Environment Agency, project funder
“The Joint Defra/EA Flood and Coastal Engineering Research Management programme has used CIRIA’s expertise over the years within a number of projects focused principally on the asset management research theme. Involvement in CIRIA partnerships allows us to collaborate with other key industry partners, resulting in leverage on our funding but also, more importantly, the sharing of sectorial expertise and the development of a consensus viewpoint on how real world challenges should be addressed. A major benefit for us in working with CIRIA is a direct and credible route to end users through already established networks and industry guidance, which aids the dissemination and uptake of our research and ensures it is put to practical use.”

Rachel Sandham, Associate Director, ARUP, co-author RP1000
“CIRIA’s 1,000th project arose from a gap in knowledge identified when writing the International Levee Handbook (ILH) – namely the application of Eurocodes to the design of flood embankments. As designers, and as part of the National Backing Group for the ILH, we were keen to address this gap. The willingness of flood risk asset owners to come together with specialists across a number of consultancies was a critical factor in resolving this as was CIRIA’s role in brokering and facilitating this discussion.”

Richard Thomas, Independent Consultant, PSG chair
“I worked with CIRIA initially as a research contractor/author and latterly, over 14 years, as PSG chair. CIRIA’s approach to producing guides, where they provide the project management and production, an expert research contractor drafts the guide, and a PSG, chosen to represent the full range of experience in the relevant topic area, is active in developing the structure and content of the guide, culminates in guides that are up-to-date, complete, practical, readable, and therefore useful. This collaborative approach sets them apart from many others and ensures that their reports, more often than not, become industry standards.”

Steve Hold, Associate, ARUP, PSG member
“I have used CIRIA publications as a benchmark of quality engineering reference on a variety of subjects over many years. Now, as a practicing consulting engineer on the PSG for the Old waterfront walls project, it was enlightening to be able to see how the cumulative experience of the different members was a fundamental part of the process. The different contributions from client bodies, academics, contractors and consultant engineers elicited by CIRIA’s processes were used to guide the authors to produce a meaningful work that covers the commonly faced – and some of the less commonly faced – issues that modern day owners of these structures face.”

For more information about CIRIA's research and to get involved in forthcoming projects, click here.