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14 THE CIRIA NET WOR K Ben Kidd, CIRIA Network Manager, looks back at an eventful year for the CIRIA Network and looks ahead to an exciting programme of infrastructure-focused activities in 2014. In the June edition of Evolution, I reported on the Industrial Strategy for Construction and Peter Hansford, Government Chief Construction Advisor, outlined the joint government and industry vision looking ahead to 2025. Alongside promoting innovation and skills, the Strategy highlights the importance of infrastructure investment in creating jobs and contributing to UK economic growth. Continuing this theme, CIRIA’s autumn Premier event on 17 October Engineering the business case for sustainable infrastructure investment, brought together a packed audience from across the construction supply chain at CIRIA’s new Barbican offices. Speakers from Infrastructure UK (HM Treasury), Standard & Poor’s, Transport Systems Catapult and UCL discussed the UK Government’s investment pipeline of infrastructure projects alongside emerging research to take a systems-based approach to infrastructure delivery and management. The Premier event coincided with a meeting of CIRIA’s Council where member representatives discussed CIRIA’s plans for a new theme group on infrastructure. The idea received enthusiastic support and there was recognition of CIRIA’s particular strength in this area. A programme of activities is now being developed, starting with an inaugural knowledge sharing round table meeting of CIRIA’s member civil infrastructure client organisations in December. Subsequent infrastructure-themed activities in 2014 will build on successful events held in 2013 and will cover emerging ‘hot topics’ for the industry including ‘big data’, BIM and opportunities for improved construction process through collaborative working, embracing innovation and early contractor involvement in procurement. In 2013, the CIRIA Network attracted over 2000 delegates, 100 high calibre speakers and continued to foster a unique open dialogue across the construction supply chain, helping to promote good practice and develop a collaborative approach to overcoming the numerous challenges faced by the industry. Activities ranged from managing knowledge sharing round table meetings to seminars and large conferences, covering a diverse range of topics including supply chain management, Lean construction and sustainable procurement, BIM, water sensitive urban design, and green infrastructure. Site visits have also proved to be popular including visits to the Jaguar Land Rover production plant in Birmingham and a behind-thescenes tour of the new DPWorld London Gateway site. The latter is the UK’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project and encompasses a new combined container port and logistics centre in the Thames Estuary, the design of which is making waves as Europe's most innovative and sustainable multi-modal transport hub. You can read more in the cover feature on pages 2-5. 2014 is shaping up to be a an important year for UK construction, with forecasted growth in construction output linked to new and ongoing publicly-funded infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and HS2, alongside major privately-funded capital projects in the utilities sectors. With ‘collaborative working’ as the new in vogue mantra, CIRIA is well placed to build on its good reputation as an independent facilitator to bridge the gap between policy and practice and tackle the difficult challenges set out in the Industrial Strategy 2025 vision. To find out more and to get involved email ben.kidd@ciria.org. COMMUNITY • SHARING • LEARNING • CONNECTING Ben Kidd, CIRIA Network Manager


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