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Open Doors 2013 to lift lid on leading sites

This September, some of the most notable construction sites around the country will invite the public in to see how the industry really works and its importance to the UK as part of the Open Doors Weekend 2013.

The industry is once again encouraging school children, local residents and interested members of the public to go behind the hoardings at some of the most high-profile and prestigious sites in the UK as part of the 2013 Open Doors Weekend.

On 27 and 28 September sites across the country will be opening up to give the public a unique look at what happens on construction sites.

Onsite project experts will be available to discuss topics as varied as sustainability, design engineering, history and the archaeology of the sites and answer questions about what it’s really like to work in the industry.

Some of the UK’s most technically interesting and regionally important sites are taking part in this year’s weekend, including the Crossrail site at Tottenham Court Road, the Stonehenge Visitor Centre in Wiltshire and the Centre for Creative Industries in Cardiff.

The initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of the industry, show young people the variety of career options open to them and allow residents a behind-the-scenes look at the progress of local projects.

Construction News is supporting the Open Doors Weekend, which is organised by the UK Contractors Group with the Scottish Contractors Group, CITB, the Chartered Institute of Building and the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

This is another fantastic opportunity for clients, contractors and those working  on site to show the rest of the  UK why they love construction.

Stonehenge to show construction’s sensitive side

One of the sites that will be opening its doors to visitors this September is the world-famous Stonehenge, where Vinci Construction is working with English Heritage to improve facilities for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the 4,000- year-old site annually.

The work involves building a new visitors centre 1.5 miles away from the stones, made up of three rectangle pods that will house a new ticket office,  café, retail space and educational facilities.

Due to the archeologically sensitive nature  of the site, construction is taking place on the topsoil to avoid disturbing the ground below. Each time the ground is excavated, an archaeologist has to be present.

During Open Doors Weekend, visitors  will have the opportunity to see how the work is progressing and further understand the unique set of challenges facing the team working on this high-profile project.

Building on inaugural success

The 2012 event was the inaugural Open Doors Weekend and saw sites including the Olympic Aquatics Centre, the Tate Modern and the Lee Tunnel opened to the public.

A total of 91 sites across England, Scotland and Wales encouraged the public to go behind the hoardings and see what was happening on their local construction projects.

The Construction News team went around the country joining members of the public, getting an inside view of what the industry has to offer.

The work impressed those going onsite for the first time and had a marked impact on several students we spoke to.

One of the students visiting the Oasis Academy at Hadley said the visit “opened my mind to the different work I can do – and helped me to see what jobs are available”, while a local resident who went to see the Technical Hub at the European Bioinformatics Institute said: “As a layman interested in construction, the visit was really, really interesting and having the presentation before was very useful.”

The 2013 weekend aims to build on this success and attract more talent into the industry.

Schools competition to open young minds

As part of this year’s Open Doors Weekend, pupils across the UK are being encouraged to find out more about a potential career in the industry via two national competitions.

Children aged nine to 11 will be asked to design a logo for next year’s event and are in with a chance of winning an iPad for their school, an iPad Mini for themselves and will also be the guest of honour on a tour of their local Open Doors site.

Meanwhile, secondary school pupils will be asked to produce a video with their class of up  to 90 seconds about their favourite structure, in which they explain what it is about that structure that they like so much. These videos can be made during a site visit on the Open Doors Weekend and will see the winning class awarded £1,000.

Industry judges will select the winner. As an added incentive, the first 50 schools that register for the secondary school competition will receive a free flip camera to help them with their competition entries.

See opendoorsweekend.co.uk/school-zone for more details.

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