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Construction's crowning achievements

50 GOLDEN YEARS

Past times Construction News looks back at what was happening in the construction industry this week 10, 25 and 50 years ago.

This week in 1992

Pressure group Movement for London said £12.5 billion needed to be spent on London's transport infrastructure. Vital schemes named by the group included the Jubilee Line extension, the £1.5 billion Cross Rail scheme, the £1.5 billion Chelsea-Hackney link, a £2 billion sister network to the M25 and a £2 billion scheme to built a southern orbital route in a tunnel underneath the current road system.

This week in 1977

Talks were set to talk place between the London branches of the T&G and Ucatt unions in a bid to improve their deteriorating relationship. T&G officials claimed that Ucatt had ordered members to ignore an unofficial strike at a Lambeth housing scheme. Both unions felt that a six-point peace plan hammered out by officials eight months earlier was not working. Each union accused the other of trying to poach their members and not recognising affiliations.

This week in 1952

A decoration special feature run in Labour News bemoaned the lack of painting contractors.

V W Hosp, president of the Federation of Painting Contractors, said the federation proposed to cut the length of an apprenticeship from five years to three 'so that boys can enjoy a full craftsman's rate at an early age'. Mr Hosp said entrants wanted a better rate of pay at an earlier age to cope with the increased cost of living.

John Patch, director, Roger Bullivant and managing director, Roger Bullivant Underpinning and Mini-piling Building: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 'THIS relatively modest refurbishment epitomises, for me, all that is best in building in the UK. A derelict Grade 2 listed school in what was formerly a run down area of inner-city Birmingham has been transformed into a beautiful, functional art gallery, exhibition and conference centre without losing any of its Victorian charm and character. It is, in my opinion, on a par with St Pancras Station and is made better by modern day engineering ingenuity.'

Civil Engineering: Mercury Bridge, Richmond, Yorkshire 'STAYING on the theme of refurbishment although this time due to structural damage, the reconstruction of the 150-year-old Mercury Bridge is a clear winner and another fine example of the use of modern engineering to save a magnificent structure and extend its valuable life. Flooding of the River Swale had brought the parapet and part of the pier crashing down into the river leaving a North Yorkshire community split in two.'

Innovation: RB Agrementcertified precast pile 'INVENTED by Roger Bullivant, the RB precast pile is an example of engineering simplicity, quality-assured high-tech factory production and a symbol of the way construction must be in the future. I believe it has saved customers around £20 million over the last 12 years.'

The Future: 'I BELIEVE the well-known Egan targets can and will be met and beaten. Coupled with this, customer demands and the quality of the built environment will improve tremendously.

'The challenge for all of us, however, is not to cut costs or quality or factory production - it is, quite simply, people. We must find ways of encouraging young people into this industry. If we don't, there is no future.'