Tales of the unexpected, Belfast

6 November, 2017 | 18:15 - 20:00

See what you can only learn from experience
See what you can only learn from experience

About this event

In Civil Engineering, unexpected things happen. 'Unexpected' usually means something has gone wrong, but not always. Either way, there is usually an explanation from which one can learn.

In this talk Brian and Richard will reflect over their 50-year careers on some projects, ranging from tunnels to large bridges, where the unexpected has occurred. In some cases the situation 'could not reasonably have been foreseen,' while in others mistakes were made.

The lecture will begin at 6:15pm, with refreshments served from 5:30pm. This event is a joint meeting with IStructE.


Richard Davies and Brian Bell both joined Ove Arup & Partners in the late 1960s, Richard on the Geotechnical side and Brian on the Structural side.

Richard remained with Ove Arup until 1985 when he established his own practice, Richard Davies Associates, which merged with Benaim in 2002. Brian joined Kier in 1976, then Benaim in 1988, and in 1999 started his own practice which became Bell Johnson in 2010. Both have worked extensively in the UK and overseas on such projects as the Hong Kong and Singapore metro systems, London's Jubilee Line and CrossRail, and on many projects in Northern Ireland.

Both have considerable experience of deep retained excavations for all stages of construction, and were expert witnesses in the Public Inquiry into the Nicoll Highway Collapse in Singapore in 2004. Brian has also taught Temporary Works design and construction at MSc level.