Comment on: Thames Water unbowed by fresh super-sewer claims
The problem in London, like many cities, is that drainage system evolved, from rivers and streams being buried and then overflows from septic tanks been connected to the surface water system. This resulted in a large catchment which is a combined system. During periods of extreme rainfall the system cannot cope. The fundamental and long term sustainable solution is clearly to increase separation between foul and surface water, so far as reasonably possible. It cures the illness, not just treating the symptoms. The super sewer, condemns Thames Water bill payers to a legacy of high electrical costs in pumping water. The issue for Thames Water is that dealing fundamentally with the problem requires complex design and investigation (and potential considerable disruption). Whereas the super sewer is a simple design solution, just with an exceptional construction cost. The real problem actually lies with OFWAT in that its fails to understand what makes an efficient return for the tax payer. It assumes that a low design/investigation cost and high construction expenditure (as per the super-sewer) is the most cost effective approach. Thames Water as a private company, within the rules set by OFWAT, then has every right, or one might suggest responsibility, to maximise the financial return enabled for its shareholders.
Given the lack of choice in the matter, its a surprise that 6% of the supply chain owned up to the fact that they don't use BIM. The fundamental problem is that BIM is designed for complex and constrained buildings not railways across miles. One can have a "digital focus" and pioneer the latest IT techniques without BIM. The idea that BIM is always correct by default, is completely wrong. The greatest procurement failure with HS2, is the effective prevention of small and micro engineering consultants and contractors, especially those which are based in the locality of the actual route.
Comment on: HS2: Payment may depend on BIM work
The evidence is that using BIM reduces free and fair competition from SME suppliers which drives up project costs. It would be "crazy" to use a building information system for a railway. BIM does not solve problems, people do. Better technical design and clearer communication can achieve far more than expensive computer modelling packages. Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk
Comment on: VIDEO | London's cycling vision
London have enormous potential for cycling and its great to see leaders start to appreciate the multitude of benefits. Back in 1996 I was responsible for the design of the London Cycle Network Phase 1 across Westminster. It was at a time when cycling in the city was viewed as a extreme sport or a dangerous mode of transport, which should be discouraged. Even though the changes were minimal, any removal of parking to make junctions safer was difficult. Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk
Comment on: U-Turn for the SuDS campaign bus?
Pitts recommendation's were correct and SABs was the correct approach for an industry which has to be forced to change. The irony is that SUDs is typically cheaper than unsustainable methods both in capital and maintenance. Loose talk about "huge cost implications" was never supported by evidence. The vast majority of new housing across the UK is schemes under 10 houses. The new proposals are a waste of time. As you suggest, the only element of hope is that the sewerage companies pass on the real costs of the surface water network to those connected and remove entirely the charges for those with SUDs. At the moment there is an unfair subsidy. That way SUDs can actually be sold as a benefit and increase the house price - just like a solar panel can reduce your electricity bill! Stephen Gibson www.wilsham.co.uk