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BCF2/BOF6: June 2002


Printable version of these minutes:
[DOC] minutes_20020624.doc (54K)


Ian LeighBRBCharles CocksedgeFaberMaunsell
Geoff MeddBRBStuart WithycombeHalcrow
John PowellBritish WaterwaysVardy JonesHighpoint Rendell
Rod HoweBritish WaterwaysMike ChubbWS Atkins
Gordon ReidCounty Surveyors SocietyTony SmallPell Frischmann
Graham ColeCounty Surveyors SocietySteve DentonParsons Brinkerhoff
Andrew CookDept. for TransportSimon CollinsMouchell
Ronnie WilsonDoRD (Nth Ireland)Angus LowArup
Gerry HayterHighways AgencyGareth HughesWSP
Victoria HoggHighways AgencyNigel BeavorBabtie
Jim MoriartyLondon Underground LtdJavad AkhtarMott MacDonald
Brian BellRailtrackDavid MacKenzieFlint & Neill
Raymund JohnstoneScottish ExecutivePeter SparkesBullen
Richard MorganWelsh AssemblyPeter ChongPeter Brett
Tim NicholsonJacobsGIBB
John BerryParkman
John VincentTony Gee & Partners
John MenziesTechnical Secretary


BOF members unavailable for meeting Cambridge University
John CollinsWelsh AssemblyCam MiddletonChairman
Barry MawsonWATO (Welsh Tech. Officers)Paul Fidler
Brian SwanSCOTSRebecca Lock
Graham BessantLondon Underground LtdHai-Yun Lu
Daniel Imhof
Graeme Walker


Campbell Middleton (CRM) welcomed those present to this first joint meeting of the Bridge Owners Forum (BOF) and Bridge Consultants Forum (BCF). He hoped the meeting would be a positive interaction between bridge owners and consultants. He outlined the main goals for the meeting:

Prior to the meeting, the consultants had worked together in five small Subgroups to discuss issues and research needs in five theme areas:

Presentations of the Subgroup's findings and views were then made.

Procurement Methods - Subgroup: CC, SC, VJ and TN.

Clients' objectives were identified relating to:

Attention was drawn particularly to the importance of quality and the perception that, nevertheless, lowest price still wins in most/many cases. Associated Client's difficulties were discussed. Whilst different methods of procurement are available to the Client (D&B, DBFO, PPP/PFI etc) it was emphasised that efficient implementation is the key concern whatever procurement method is used. The procurement method needs to be matched to the size and complexity of the project. Difficulties were seen to arise from the separation of technical engineering expertise from the procurement process which is often in the hands of procurement managers/administrators.

The main principles of good procurement were identified as:

The presentation concluded that successful procurement requires active client involvement in the process and positive relationships throughout. The prime need is to focus on the project and good communications. Early contractor involvement was believed to be very beneficial.

In discussion, it was agreed there are many questions to consider. Points and suggestions made were:

The marking of quality was seen as an area of particular difficulty often resulting in quality being relatively unimportant compared to costs. Wide marking ranges for quality were advocated: guidelines are needed. It was also suggested benefits would accrue if engineers were in control of procurement.

The relative success of different procurement methods is not known. It is not clear how the Client can/should measure success. Work to gain a measure of the relative success of methods would be worthwhile.

New Materials - Subgroup: RB, SD, DM.

Attention was first drawn to the general difficulties in introducing new materials into bridge construction:

Demonstration projects were suggested as essential to overcome/minimise these difficulties.

The development of concrete was considered. Two areas of development were identified:

To improve existing technology , three streams of research/development are needed:

Project funded research for field research relevant to the project was advocated, based on a levy of x% on each project over £Xm cost.

It was suggested that mistakes had been made in the introduction of 'new' materials resulting in particular from lack of full understanding of the new material, its characteristics and limitations. Hence demonstration projects are valuable as they 'test' all the issues at once. The strengthening of concrete beams with FRP composites was given as an example. Issues mentioned were thermal effects, use on curved beams, ductility, robustness, material characteristics/specification and installation management. Conclusions were that the introduction of 'new' materials is often rather the development of existing materials and needs to be derived from a wide research base. The use of a peer review panel to improve the chance of success was advocated in addition to demonstration projects. Peer review in advance was thought to be especially valuable in order to prevent the reputation of a 'new' material being lost through a bad application.

In discussion of the three proposals (demonstration projects, levy and peer review) the following points were made:

New Design/Analysis Methods - Subgroup: AL,JA,SW,JV,VJ.

In introduction, two 'overarching' points were made:

Development studies should examine, for example, the effect of the proposed new method of bridge design, implications, opportunities for significant savings, suggested design solutions, examples of justification calculations, design development conditional on other research to be done, and proposed prescriptive rules for D & B.

It was suggested Clients should step back from prescribing solutions and instead give higher level project objectives, eg relating to risk/safety level, durability and loading. Much saving can be obtained at the design concept stage if alternative structural systems can be considered.

Issues relating to the dynamics of lightweight structures were presented:

Actions needed to deal with these issues were proposed:

Areas for research to assist consideration of alternative structural systems were suggested:

In addition some specific reseach topics were suggested:

The following points were included in the discussion of the presentation:

Assessment of Existing Bridges

Areas where research is needed were suggested:

In discussion, points made included:

Bridge Management - Subgroup: MC, NB, GH, TS.

Elements of the process were outlined [Assessment, Strengthening, Maintenance (Routine/Preventative), Improvements and Monitoring] and the objectives summarised:

Areas suggested for research were:

The following points were raised in discussion:


CRM summarised the main issues that had emerged:

Since there is no other national bridges group, CRM suggested it is important that the BOF/BCF tackles such issues.

John Menzies
3 July 2002