I recently attended two events that made me re-evaluate the role of temporary works in ground engineering and the importance of collaboration.
talking point steve hesketh
The first was GE’s 50th anniversary event late last year where I was privileged to meet Imperial College emeritus professor John Burland who talked about how the magazine was started and has evolved into one of the world’s leading technical authorities.
The second event was the BSI Standards Forum a few days where it was announced that BSI is to remain a permanent member of the European Standards Organisation post Brexit. At the event I caught up with Atkins BIM strategy and development director Anne Kemp who was speaking and also received an International Standards-Maker Award for BS EN ISO 19650 Parts 1&2 “Organisation and digitization of information about buildings and civil engineering works, including BIM …” The issuing of an ISO demonstrates that the UK is leading the world in this area and the importance of BSI worldwide and, interestingly, BSI has been setting worldwide engineering standards since 1901.
Burland noted that GE magazine was set up to provide an authoritative source of information to the industry. He said that, even today, the technical challenges and the need for GE remain and improvements can only come by sharing best practice openly.
Kemp talked about the need to improve performance in construction via BIM and that it simply means better information management. The key to better information management is organisations and individuals embracing the need to share information in an open and collaborative manner.
It struck me that both speakers were saying much the same thing in terms of the need for open sharing and communicating best practice. In addition, I could see that the UK has a place on the world stage via BSI and GE providing a lead.
Immediately I thought about how similar the role of the Temporary Works Forum (TWF) was to them. While TWF will mark its 10th anniversary in September, it is already recognised as an international source of best practice and authoritative information. TWF has over 170 member companies and a presence in several countries.
The key to improving the industry is to have organisations and individuals aligned in embracing the need to better share information and learn from each other. To do this we need common standards, attitudes and cultures.
Clearly someone needs to set the standards and culture and I believe that the UK is uniquely placed to do this. By combining the work of organisations such as GE, TWF and BSI we can take the lead and for me at the heart of it should be trust and collaboration.
- Steve Hesketh is engineering director at MGF and a director and founding member of the Temporary Works Forum