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Major recognition for City’s Civil Engineering education and research

The Temporary Works forum (TWf) designates City University London as a Centre of Excellence in Temporary Works and Construction Method Engineering

by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

The Temporary Works forum (TWf), which promotes best practice within the UK construction industry, has designated City University London as a Centre of Excellence in Temporary Works and Construction Method Engineering. The TWf has pledged £250,000 over five years towards developing educational provision and research. The forum has also committed to fundraising a further £400,000 primarily for research.

Temporary Works refers to works enabling the construction of, protection, support or provision of access to permanent works which might or might not remain in place at the completion of a construction project. Examples of Temporary Works include structures such as gantries for heavy plant, materials or accommodation as well as supports for partially completed or partially dismantled structures, excavations and accesses. The TWf, whose work is guided by a strong emphasis on improving safety, is supported by the Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Building, the Health and Safety Executive and the Standing Committee on Structural Safety.

City University London designated as a Centre of Excellence in Temporary Works and Construction Method Engineering

Pictured L-R: Dr Brett McKinley, Tim Lohmann and Dr Andrew McNamara

The activities of the new Centre of Excellence will be co-ordinated by the Director, Dr Andrew McNamara, a senior academic specialising in geotechnical engineering in collaboration with its Deputy Director, Dr Brett McKinley, whose expertise is in structural engineering. A new academic member of staff will be appointed to contribute to the activities of the Centre of Excellence, especially research.  The Temporary Works forum funding will support the Centre Director and six PhD studentships between 2015 and 2020.

The work of the new Centre will draw on City’s Civil Engineering education and research strengths across the fields of Geotechnical Engineering, Hydraulics, Surveying and Structural Engineering and develop new collaborations with the Department of Electrical Engineering, for optical fibre sensor monitoring, and Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics for physical testing involving wind loading.

The new Centre of Excellence will develop educational provision for practicing engineers: initially short courses as CPD training, with the aim of launching an MSc in Civil Engineering Temporary Works in September 2016. This will add to City’s established strengths in delivering popular MSc programmes in Civil Engineering Structures and Construction Management.

Professor Roger Crouch, Dean of the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering, said: "This is a most exciting collaborative venture for the School, enabling us to work very closely alongside leading civil engineering practices. I heartily congratulate the team on their vision and strategy and anticipate the Centre going from strength to strength."

Dr Andrew McNamara, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering and Director of the new Centre of Excellence, said: “Temporary Works is a safety critical aspect of the construction process across the industry; regardless of the size of a project.  City has had a research focus in this area for several years and we are delighted that the Temporary Works forum has decided to establish this important Centre of Excellence at the University.  We are well placed to offer post graduate education in temporary works and construction method engineering and look forward to contributing to improvements in construction safety and innovation.”

Professor of Soil Mechanics and Head of the Civil Engineering Department, Professor Sarah Stallebrass, said: “I am very excited by the prospect of working with the members of the Temporary Works Forum to set up opportunities for education and research that will enhance the technical abilities of those involved in this important area and promote innovation through the insight provided by research.  Andrew McNamara's position as a highly respected industry expert in construction processes and a world leading academic in the field of geotechnical physical modelling makes him ideally placed to coordinate the activities of the Centre of Excellence, in particular the application of novel research to industry problems.”

Director of TWf, Tim Lohmann, commented: “The board of the Temporary Works Forum are delighted to be able to use the funds we have raised, along with further commitments from members, to fund this centre. We believe that through research we can tackle some of the major issues in temporary works. Similarly teaching informed by that research will provide much needed formal training in temporary works at Masters level, as well as offering CPD. We have been impressed with the work that the team at City have done so far and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial working relationship. We hope that by establishing the centre to undertake both research and teaching we are moving the field of temporary works forward.”

The new Centre for Excellence is launched on 1st September 2015.

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