ACCOLADES AND AWARDS

UK engineers and engineering celebrated 24 Oct 2019

TunnelTalk reporting

So many projects and achievements are the legacy of the recipients of the annual BTS (British Tunnelling Society) James Clark Medal recognition since it was awarded for the first time in 1981. Established in memory of the career in tunnelling of James Clark who worked for Charles Brand & Son and who was instrumental in establishing the BTS in the early 1970s, the Medal is presented each year to a leading UK engineer or professional to recognise a major contribution to the industry, a contemporary achievement or innovation within the industry, or having been responsible for a large underground construction project.

Medal recipients at the 2019 luncheon (and the year of award) from left to right: Alastair Biggart OBE (1991), Maurice Gooderham (2005), Alan Dyke (2006), Rodney Craig (2004), Alan Dyke (2006), Dave Court (2012), Rodney Craig (2004), Roger Remington (1993), Andy Sindall (2013), Hugh Doherty (1996), Gerard, Ged, Pakes (1997), Oliver Bevan (1992) and Terry Mellors (2011)
Medal recipients at the 2019 luncheon (and the year of award) from left to right: Alastair Biggart OBE (1991), Maurice Gooderham (2005), Alan Dyke (2006), Rodney Craig (2004), Alan Dyke (2006), Dave Court (2012), Rodney Craig (2004), Roger Remington (1993), Andy Sindall (2013), Hugh Doherty (1996), Gerard, Ged, Pakes (1997), Oliver Bevan (1992) and Terry Mellors (2011)

For recipients at the 2019 celebration lunch, Medal recipients represent the British contribution to the fields of insurance best practice and improved health and safety within the international industry, services to the education and training of new generations of tunnelling engineers and workers in the UK and to the Society, as well as for innovations developed for, and the management of, so many major UK projects that include the Channel Tunnel; the Jubilee Line Extension of the London Underground; the Thames Water Ring Main; the initiation of a network now of many, many kilometres of high-voltage electricity cable tunnels under London; and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Phase 1 into St Pancras Station in London or HS (High Speed) 1, as it has become known, in advance of the current HS2 Phase 1 extension north to Birmingham.

Recipients and BTS Committee guests for the annual luncheon this year (2019) were welcomed to the grand surroundings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Westminster, London, by current BTS Chairman Ivor Thomas. The BTS was founded in 1974 and is an Associate Society of the ICE. Many members of the BTS are Fellows and Members of the ICE, and many renowned tunnelling engineers and statesmen have also been Presidents of the ICE. Membership of the ICE however, is not a requirement for being a member of the BTS and all those engaged in tunnelling both in the UK and abroad are welcome to become members of the BTS and its Young Members group, and enjoy the advantages of membership.

BTS Chair Ivor Thomas presents the 2019 James Clark Medal to Mike King for his industry contributions
BTS Chair Ivor Thomas presents the 2019 James Clark Medal to Mike King for his industry contributions

In his welcome address, BTS Chair Thomas presented a list of current UK innovations and aspirations, including the first use of a boltless trapezoidal segmental lining in the UK and a 30-30-30 initiative by a BTS workshop to strive to reduce the cost of tunnelling projects by 30%, have excavation advance faster by 30%, and both by 2030. Following his address, Ivor Thomas of the BAMNuttall-Morgan Sindall-Balfour Beatty (BMB) JV, made apologies and departed to go back to his office at the West Contract of the Thames Tideway project where the Herrenknecht TBM was about to make its Thames River alignment passage under Putney Bridge on its westward drive from Carnwath Road working site towards Acton.

The diners then enjoyed the meal and great conversation, networking and visiting during the afternoon and ahead of the monthly BTS evening meeting in the ICE Telford lecture theatre.

As a second event to celebrate UK engineering achievements, a reception was held in the city of Reading, west of London, to recognise the 25th anniversary of the completion of the Thames Water Ring Main, a system of more than 80km of deep level water supply that acts as a reservoir and an improved, more secure network for supplying drinking water to households, businesses and all potable water users in the UK capital city.

The gathering welcomed engineers who managed and controlled the project through from its early inception, its design, its construction and its inauguration into operation, including Roger Remington who was awarded the BTS James Clark Medal in 1993 in recognition of his contribution and leadership of the project for Thames Water, the owner authority.

Colleagues, engineers, staff and partners at the 2019 25th anniversary of the successful completion of the Thames Water Ring Main project – James Clark Medal recipient Roger Remington (third from right back row) and fellow Medal recipient Peter Jaques (seventh from right front row)
Colleagues, engineers, staff and partners at the 2019 25th anniversary of the successful completion of the Thames Water Ring Main project – James Clark Medal recipient Roger Remington (third from right back row) and fellow Medal recipient Peter Jaques (seventh from right front row)

Several interesting topics were part of the discussions during the event. Some of these included the fact that:

  • it was the IChemE Green Book form of contract, rather than the more usual ICE 5th Edition, that was adopted by the project and apply, successfully, a target cost price based procurement for the civil and tunnelling works;
  • that the methods of contract procurement adopted by Thames Water avoided lengthy periods of contract evaluation with bids for many contracts being invited with a three week notice and an award three weeks later;
  • that principal TBM supplier to the project, Lovat, with also Market at the time, came to the assistance of the project in time of trouble, including on the Tooting Bec contract in South London where ground freezing was needed to rescue the TBM drive in a reach of sands and gravel within the prevailing London Clay geology, and an EPB TBM was needed from Lovat in short order to maintain programme: a further three Lovat machines were purchased to complete the second stage of the ring main project ; and
  • that at the end of the project, the full programme project was completed and delivered “two years ahead of programme and under budget”.

The opportunities to honour engineers, their achievements and their projects, are rare and are so appreciated by all when they occur, not only to bring friends and colleagues together but also to ensure that the achievements of years and projects past are not lost or forgotten in current recollection or national industry history.

The 2019 recipient of the James Clark Medal is Mike King who was unable to attend the celebration luncheon, as were other regular recipients of recent years who sent their apologies. Visit the BTS website to see a full list of the 39 recipients of the accolade which will swell by another in 2020.

References

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