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Research Focus Issue No. 31 NOVEMBER 1997 PROMOTING THE APPLICATION OF RESEARCH IN BUILDING AND CIVIL ENGINEERING


IN THIS ISSUE Coastal Engineering Marine sands manual


Dredged material properties 9 10


Construction process Intelligent component labelling 2 Standardisation and pre-assembly 5 CIMsteel project


12


Environment Focus on flooding


Greening of coatings


Predicting interior sound Exports


Call to suppliers Highways


Improved deck drainage Innovation


Simulation with multi-media Calls for research proposals


Materials


Greater PFA use Timber frame 2000


Motivation


Concrete R&D coordination Rivers


Focus on flooding Safety


Structures


Greening of coatings Timber frame 2000


Water Selecting emergency water sources 9


6 8


11 3


Blast loading on cladding fixings 4 SCOSS 11th Report highlights 11


• Environment: promot- ing sustainable develop- ment and improvements in the environmental performance of buildings


2 8


3 6 8


10 4


3 5


New DETR Research Priorities The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) has


revised priorities for its annual £23m construction research programme. The result is the Construction Research and Innovation Business Plan, supported by five individual plans which reflect each business area within the programme.


C


onstruction Minister Nick Raynsford announced the revamped programme at a meeting of industry representatives at the Institution of Civil Engineers. Mr Raynsford said ‘I emphasised the importance I attach to research and innovation when I spoke to the Construction Industry Board. I reiterate that I want to see an industry which is competitive at home and abroad, gives proper training and places value on its workforce, has a strong quality ethos, builds safely and sustainably, is looking to innovate and is receptive to change’.


The Minister announced the publication of five DETR business plans for construction research. Research Focus Issue 28 (February ’97) reported on the development of the business plans and these have now been finalised following wide consultation with the industry. The five plans, which divide funding into priority and secondary research objectives, are shown below.


Mr Raynsford emphasised that decisions on research funding would be strongly influenced


by the priorities identified in the business plans but confirmed that genuinely innovative proposals which could not be aligned to any of the plans’ priorities would not be ruled out. A new initiative to promote the application of research was also announced. Mr Raynsford said, ‘There is no point in doing research unless it is likely to be of practical value. Yet, one of the most resonant criticisms I hear of the industry is that it fails to make best use of the substantial fund of research outputs, technical advice and best practice which already exists. I propose to take steps to address this issue by developing a best practice programme’. DETR and the Construction Industry Board have begun discussions to develop proposals in detail.


For further information and copies of the business plans please contact Robert Crangle at DETR’s Construction Sponsorship Directorate (0171-890-5704; fax: 0171-890-5759; E-mail rcrangle@detr-cirm.demon.co.uk).


THE FIVE PLANS


• Technology & Performance: including the interaction of


materials, components and systems, new technologies and techniques to improve product performance


clients and/or users, and management of the process


• Safety and Health in Buildings: supporting the Building Regulations for safety, health and security, including the suitability of buildings for disabled people


• Construction Process: to bring about greater efficiency through improvements in quality, productivity, value to


Research Focus NO. 31 NOVEMBER 1997 1


• Motivation: promoting a culture of change by encouraging a climate of innovation and


exploitation of new ideas.


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