Article | July 30, 2021
ntil recently, the infrastructure measures at Lake Zug East were the longest construction site in Switzerland. The 15-kilometer-long project has since been successfully completed after 20 months of construction. Not only has the full closure – which was necessary for economic and environmental protection reasons – been lifted, but one of the important access routes to the Gotthard Tunnel has also been completed. The fact that this could be done without any problems and delivered on schedule despite Coronavirus is due to the work of Emch+Berger WSB AG. The engineering firm was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) to undertake the planning, overall project management, and construction management. The planning was based on a BIM model in Allplan Engineering.
Article | February 27, 2020
Competition among established OEMs and start-ups is at a fever pitch as the race to design and develop a fully electric vehicle that meets both customer and regulatory demands continues. The heavy equipment industry, from agricultural to construction, are in the same position. Stringent regulations to reduce or remove pollutant levels and emissions, and customer demand for lower total cost of ownership and customization are causing a shift to bring electrified heavy equipment to market.
Article | June 16, 2021
The UK has undergone five years of unprecedented change while facing up to long-term challenges, such as reducing regional inequalities and mitigating the impact of climate change.
Over that period, ICE’s annual State of the Nation reports have set out a range of policy interventions aimed at ensuring the UK has the high-performing infrastructure needed to meet those challenges. Each report has focused on major cross-cutting infrastructure issues, including devolution and reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Article | August 4, 2021
In amongst the chatter about how we can 'do' infrastructure better, there's now a growing consensus that we need to improve the way we design our interventions - 'design' in the broader sense of the word, rather than the narrow sense we tend to use as engineers.
My front-end principles for better infrastructure
Over the course of my career, the following front-end principles have served well to ensure we think through, before we rush in where angels fear to tread.
Be clear about the purpose and the expected outcomes, and engage communities in decision-making through an effective communication strategy.
Prioritise the user, aiming to offer services that are modern, effective and affordable.
Seek to improve people's quality of life and support the transition to a more sustainable future, while also facilitating the functioning of the economy, enhancing productivity and accommodating growth (to the extent possible, given other competing objectives).
Extract greatest value from existing infrastructure through timely maintenance, repurposing, renewal and upgrading. Seek to remove constraints and bottlenecks.
Aim to make best use of data, automation, innovation and technology (including for future asset management), recognising the complexity and risks this may introduce.
Recognise, analyse, mitigate and manage technical, environmental and climate risks, and complete any surveys necessary to support this.
Improve governance, with robust, timely and transparent decision-making, supported by strong evidence-based planning, clear prioritisation, and best practice technical design and delivery.
Seek an appropriate funding balance between 'user pays' and general taxation which incentivises behaviours in the best long-term social, economic and environmental interests.
Complete well-evidenced business cases and risk assessments of proposed initiatives before embarking on projects, including financing proposals. Aim to allocate the risks identified to those best able to carry them.
Facilitate collaboration between the government and business to promote delivery of the broader social, economic and environmental benefits.
Clearly, there are many other issues to consider as a project develops, and the above principles may seem obvious to some, and a counsel of perfection to others, but it's surprising how many are overlooked in the rush to build.