Latest news from Loughborough University
|6 March 2006||PR 06/19|
‘Lack of joined up thinking is putting UK’s built environment at risk’ warn Loughborough University academics
A Loughborough University research project has highlighted a lack of ‘joined-up thinking’ in emergency planning for the protection of the UK built environment.
The ongoing study is being led by a team of academics from the University’s Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC). Its aim is to assess how a safe, secure and sustainable built environment can be achieved by reducing the frequency and impact of natural and manmade disasters that result in damage to infrastructure, built assets and loss of human life. A key part of the project is the development of a decision support framework to assist built environment professionals, such as architects, urban planners and civil engineers, and other relevant stakeholders.
There is growing concern for the safety and security of the UK’s civil infrastructure in relation to natural and manmade disasters. Safeguarding the future requires the expertise of professionals involved in the design, planning and construction of the built environment. This is particularly important if you want to ensure that safeguards have the long-term vision to not only protect this generation, but future generations also. However early findings from the IMCRC research show that emergency planning in the UK is not sufficiently integrated with the activities of the construction sector.
As part of the research, questionnaire surveys were used to review the opinions of more than 100 professionals involved with emergency planning, construction, urban planning and insurance on issues related to emergency planning in the UK. So far the research has highlighted that:
- The most significant threats to the built environment in the UK were perceived to be floods, climate change, ageing/inadequate infrastructure, and inadequate urban planning. Minor threats were perceived to be civil unrest/war and terrorism. Only those with responsibility for public safety (such as emergency managers and urban planners) believed that terrorism is a significant threat to the UK.
- Awareness of natural/human-induced/climate change related hazards tends to be most prominent with respondents who govern/advise on the built environment, rather than those who actually design, build and operate it.
- There was a general lack of awareness demonstrated by the respondents regarding who is responsible for, and involved with, emergency planning and consultation in the UK.
- Of those who construct the built environment, only 30 per cent are involved in emergency planning in most cases, and one third are involved on an ad-hoc basis. Three quarters of the respondents agreed that there is a pressing need for disciplines associated with the construction industry to become more involved with emergency planning in the UK.
Project leader Dr Lee Bosher, who is based in the University’s Department of Civil and Building Engineering, said: “These early findings indicate a lack of ‘joined-up thinking’ regarding the protection of the UK built environment and suggest that professions involved with the construction industry, and the expertise they can offer, need to become more integrated with emergency management if lessons are to be learnt from the past, and a resilient built environment created in the future. This could be achieved by embracing a strategic framework that integrates a wide range of disciplines from the construction sector.”
In light of these early findings, the research team would welcome the views and opinions of professionals involved with all aspects of the construction sector in relation to the ways in which the industry could contribute towards the development of a safer and more secure built environment in the future.
For further information about the project please contact Dr Bosher by emailing L.Bosher@lboro.ac.uk
For further information contact:
- Judy Smyth, Public Relations Office,
T: 01509 228697, E: J.L.Smyth@lboro.ac.uk
Notes to editors
- The research project is being funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
- The Loughborough University Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre (IMCRC) brings together a multi-disciplinary group of more than 40 academic staff undertaking leading-edge collaborative research to enhance the processes, products and competitiveness of the UK’s manufacturing and construction industries.
- Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.
- In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.