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  1. #11
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
    It is very unusual for a major structure to collapse in the UK. ..
    I suspect it is unusual for stuff to fail in China to be fair. Italy has seen a few structures fail, largely due to corruption as I understand it. So to be fair Europe is not any better than Asia in that respect.

    Having bought a business when we returned to the UK the one thing I have noticed is that there is a great deal of corruption and a lack of openness in UK business. Some days it seems like everyone is trying to make a fast buck and with little if any regard to either quality or the longevity of the business overall. It has been an eye opener for me to say the least. None of this was taught in business school.

    When you look at Grenfell then realise that half the high rise buildings are a death trap it is clear that the so-called "light touch" regulations do not work and that the deregulation and removal of "red tape" that has been an obsession of the governments of the UK for the last 40 odd years has not been the right way to go. The current muppets are even more of the same but supercharged.

    Notwithstanding the rights and wrongs of HS2 (or Hinckley C for that matter) it appears to me that we (the UK) should be spending public money with UK contractors as much as possible and that the contracts drafted up should be rather higher quality than has been the case with penalty clauses and so on to get good value for money. I have little doubt the Chinese engineering can match anything we can do and may well be better. That said if we are about to double the national debt it would surely be better to keep the work and the profit in the UK? Even if the construction companies are Tory donors at least the money stays here. Of course the reality is that offshoring the profits is the modern way and many UK based companies still take the money out the country. At some point (soon) we will run out of money.

  2. #12
    Established TDF Member jamesp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    I suspect the Chinese are now aware of all the current hoops to go though to move people and animals. They're used to turfing people off the land for the benefit of the state. 1m people moved IIRC for the 3 Gorges Dams project.

    Given the cost of materials, more time on analysis to save on materials would be cheap. https://www.newcivilengineer.com/lat...on-18-06-2019/
    A few years back, a local engineering business had a bridge design that they were trying to rationalise: the going rate was £500/per tonne of steel reduced (about 60~70% the cost of the material).
    Nobody would take the job on.
    Mantra for decades has been "Throw steel at it, it`s cheaper".

  3. #13
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    One of the major issues in UK construction in recent years is the lack of supervision at the appropriate level - particularly on large infrastructure/publicly financed buildings.

    Taking a few major headline projects up here:
    1) Edinburgh Schools PFI - walls falling down as the contractor built the cavity walls in two stages instead of both leafs together which meant the ties were in the wrong place for the outer leaf. Almost killed dozens of kids (was approx 30 mins away from kids being under it) and cost millions in disruption/repairs to sort. Architects didn't supervise (their fees were slashed to a fraction of a %), no Clerk of Works verifying the construction for the client and contractor looking to get things done quick= shortcuts taken.
    2) Dumfries One - similar to the above but with more internal problems such as damp proof membranes not in place, firestopping not done right etc. Cost the council millions to rectify even after recouping some costs from the contractor.

    Both of these featured the same problem - cutting a level of supervision (albeit an advisory level) from the process by going D&B or DBFO. The Clerk of works that would have been employed in the past for the Councils was removed (saving possible £100K) on each project, the mistakes were not picked up at the time (when they would have had minimal effect to rectify) and only became apparent after completion.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clark View Post
    There are undoubtably some quality problems with some Chinese construction. Thereís a massive amount of stuff being built and they probably donít have proper control of everything. However, we do have to recognise that we can learn something from them, particularly with regard to speed and cost.

    In the 3 years of 2011, 2012 & 2013 the Chinese used more cement than the USA used in the entire 20th century. A century when the Americans essentially built all their major infrastructure. Most of the skyscrapers, concrete-paved highways, thousands of bridges, ports, big industry, airports, military stuff & the hoover dam.
    I was living in China in 2006, working for (albeit in Mining and still am) possibly the worlds largest manufacturer of construction equipment.

    At the time, it was suggested to me that China was pouring way more concrete than the world produced cement to safely make. Sczechuan earthquake, thousand of children killed because the schools cut costs in construction.

    Someone visited a work site, and those nice bits of rebar sticking out of the pickings turned out to be goons down less than a foot, enough to look like it was doing the job

    Could they cut costs here? We arenít going to see lots of Chinese labourers shooed over. We may see construction equipment bought cheap at home and sent over, we may see fewer contractors involved - depending how you look at it in the UK we are either really good or really bad at corruption, which is where all the costs on taxpayer funded projects come from.


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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1w View Post
    I was living in China in 2006, working for (albeit in Mining and still am) possibly the worlds largest manufacturer of construction equipment.

    At the time, it was suggested to me that China was pouring way more concrete than the world produced cement to safely make. Sczechuan earthquake, thousand of children killed because the schools cut costs in construction.

    Someone visited a work site, and those nice bits of rebar sticking out of the pickings turned out to be goons down less than a foot, enough to look like it was doing the job

    Could they cut costs here? We aren’t going to see lots of Chinese labourers shooed over. We may see construction equipment bought cheap at home and sent over, we may see fewer contractors involved - depending how you look at it in the UK we are either really good or really bad at corruption, which is where all the costs on taxpayer funded projects come from.


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    Having had to drive up and down the M3 quite regularly for the last 5-10 years its shocking how shite UK is at building anything. It took how many years and how many nights of closed motorways and how many lanes closed to put up a few smart motorway gantries - I dread to think of the cost.

    Yet in Asia what they can achieve in a short time is astounding and before you start going on about cheap Chinese just look at Japan and Korea ...

  6. #16
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham_hk View Post
    Having had to drive up and down the M3 quite regularly for the last 5-10 years its shocking how shite UK is at building anything. It took how many years and how many nights of closed motorways and how many lanes closed to put up a few smart motorway gantries - I dread to think of the cost.
    ...
    Yeah but like the subbie didn't turn up this morning 'cos like the rental broke down innit?

  7. #17
    Remember, remember Adrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham_hk View Post
    Having had to drive up and down the M3 quite regularly for the last 5-10 years its shocking how shite UK is at building anything. It took how many years and how many nights of closed motorways and how many lanes closed to put up a few smart motorway gantries - I dread to think of the cost.
    I wonder what driving would be like on it now had the M3 been left at 3 lanes each way.

  8. #18
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    I wonder what driving would be like on it now had the M3 been left at 3 lanes each way.
    I'm fairly confident that the extra lanes make very little difference. If you drive this road or the M25 or other 4 lanes you quickly see a pattern. The middle lane idiots take lane 3. Lane 4 is (as on 3 lane) full of cars at 62-73 mph about a meter away from each other and a sea of brake lights. Lane 1 has the odd lorry with a 500m or more gap to the next one and lane 2 has a few more lorries, caravans and old farts at the 100kmh limit of the trucks. The traffic density of the final overtaking lane on a 3 or a 4 lane road is much the same and the other lanes are often half empty.

    If you drive correctly and return to the leftward lane after overtaking you will find yourself in lane 1 at 70mph undertaking a stream of traffic in lane 4 at 66mph. Pull out to overtake a lorry and you are in lane 2 at 70mph undertaking two lanes of traffic to your right at 61 and 66 mph respectively. Eventually something else stops you and you find yourself in lane 4 being undertaken by all the slow moving cars you undertook a while back. Now add in the moronic speed restrictions and everything is doing 50mph and only one lane has high density if that.

    Smart my arse.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisch View Post
    I'm fairly confident that the extra lanes make very little difference. If you drive this road or the M25 or other 4 lanes you quickly see a pattern. The middle lane idiots take lane 3. Lane 4 is (as on 3 lane) full of cars at 62-73 mph about a meter away from each other and a sea of brake lights. Lane 1 has the odd lorry with a 500m or more gap to the next one and lane 2 has a few more lorries, caravans and old farts at the 100kmh limit of the trucks. The traffic density of the final overtaking lane on a 3 or a 4 lane road is much the same and the other lanes are often half empty.

    If you drive correctly and return to the leftward lane after overtaking you will find yourself in lane 1 at 70mph undertaking a stream of traffic in lane 4 at 66mph. Pull out to overtake a lorry and you are in lane 2 at 70mph undertaking two lanes of traffic to your right at 61 and 66 mph respectively. Eventually something else stops you and you find yourself in lane 4 being undertaken by all the slow moving cars you undertook a while back. Now add in the moronic speed restrictions and everything is doing 50mph and only one lane has high density if that.

    Smart my arse.
    Another example of smart technology overwhelmed by idiots and don't get started on the slow overtaking world record attempts on the run up to the a34 ;(

  10. #20
    Established TDF Member Chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graham_hk View Post
    Another example of smart technology overwhelmed by idiots and don't get started on the slow overtaking world record attempts on the run up to the a34 ;(
    I have a theory and I am only going to share it with you good people because I like you all so much.

    If the motorway is truly "smart" why not separate the traffic in a more intelligent manner? So rather than the moronic 40-50-60 across all lanes why not gradate the limits with lower speed limits in the inner lanes, particularly as they approach and leave junctions? Similarly the "smart" display boards could show maximum weights at peak times to keep trucks out of lane 3 (so two lanes of cars and two for trucks/cars) and have a minimum speed for the final lane? The overhead cameras could enforce all of it. The minimum might be problematic to enforce but would not be needed if the cameras caught middle lane twats. We were assured middle lane twats would be caught but this was another lie.

    The moniker "smart" seems to over egg the technology rather a lot to me, what it means is dumbass speed limits that theoretically might increase traffic flow if people drove properly. Given all the money thrown at it would it not have been a good opportunity to try to be a bit more ambitious? All the moaning now that the system is dangerous and there is a fair chance it will all be scrapped. Nearly as stupid as Chris Grayling. Wasting public money should get an Arts Council grant it is so skilfully done in the UK.


 
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