Comment from Antony Oliver
“It is a worry that success often depends on individual passion to do a good job rather than any particular corporate desire”
“It is fantastic to see optimism returning to the market with 60% of UK consultants predicting growth in 2013”
“Boosting investment in maintenance and renewal must become a priority for government across infrastructure.”
Should there be a question mark or not? We debated this issue for some time when preparing this week’s cover.
“The industry must take action through technology and process reforms to limit the dangers posed by its activities”
“The high cost of nuclear has always been known. Witness the fact that Sizewell B is the only evidence of Thatcher’s nuclear vision”
“This time of global crises is also a time for global solutions. Opportunities must be embraced. They could be life changing”
“It is even more important that we work to secure the future talent needed to deliver infrastructure investment”
We talk a great deal in the industry about the need for government to commit investment to drive infrastructure projects. Less prominent is the need to secure similar focus on the industry’s bigger shop window - the management of the nation’s existing assets.
This week’s cover story features work to reinstate the long-abandoned Borders Railway in Scotland. It highlights the result of decades of campaigning for this vital transport link.
“Procurement behaviours and associated processes remain stubbornly lengthy, expensive, adversarial and risk averse”
It is always good to start the week with some mass media infrastructure coverage. Publication of the High Speed 2 (HS2) phase 2 route didn’t fail to deliver.
This week’s National Audit Office (NAO) report underlines the scale of the task facing the government when it comes to kick-starting the long-awaited roll out of its infrastructure plan. The fact is that, for all the months of public sector austerity, under performing growth means we could yet be heading towards a triple-dip recession.
According to a new report published today by consultant McKinsey, global infrastructure investment will have to increase by nearly 60% over the next two decades from the £25 trillion spent in the past 18 years to £40 trillion.
As he delivered his latest Autumn Statement, chancellor George Osborne once again highlighted investment in decent modern infrastructure across the UK as central to meeting the challenge of “equipping Britain to compete in the modern global economy”.
After last week’s gloomy profit warning by Balfour Beatty and this week’s equally bleak workload trends survey by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Ceca), there can be little doubt that the UK remains a very difficult place for civils contractors.
For a graphic example of why we need to build resilience into critical public infrastructure look no further than New York right now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
I had the pleasure of addressing Mott MacDonald’s global highways forum last week. Why, I demanded of this experienced bunch of professionals, does the UK make such hard work of managing its valuable £80bn road network?
Breakfast with Tony Douglas, chief executive of Abu Dhabi Ports Company and former boss of the £4.3bn Heathrow Terminal Five project, always provides food for thought.
When David Cameron gave his well-documented “infrastructure for growth” speech at the Institution of Civil Engineers last March, he made it clear that levering investment into UK highways was high on his agenda.
Antony Oliver is Editor of New Civil Engineer and PPA Business Editor of the Year 2008.
Whether the issue is rail, roads, bridges, airports, earthworks, power, education, recruitment or environment policy he is always interested and usually has got a view.
He is also passionate about ensuring that the next generation sees civil engineering as a realistic career option and as a trustee of engineering disaster relief charity RedR-IHE, is keen to ensure that young and old engineers are able to channel their energy and expertise into life saving activities across the globe.