Drones, tunnels and everything in between: President sees the highs and lows of London during regional visit

ICE President Tim Broyd was shown how London is becoming a leading centre for digital infrastructure

Professor Tim Broyd visited Crossrail Farringdon as part of the visit.
Professor Tim Broyd visited Crossrail Farringdon as part of the visit.

Over two days in May, ICE President Tim Broyd was shown how the Capital is leading the way in digital infrastructure. He was shown how drones are revolutionising the way engineers survey sites such as Smithfield Market and how new technologies are changing engineering practices at Crossrail Farringdon Station and Bank Station Capacity Upgrade.

Crossrail Farringdon

Farringdon Station has been progressing quickly as the countdown to Crossrail's opening in 2018 begins. The President visited the station concourse, platforms and tunnels, seeing the new diamond motif ceiling and the eastern and western ticket halls that will soon be one of the busiest stations in the Capital.

Joining the visit was Simon Bennett, Head of Crossrail's Learning Legacy, who explained what lessons have been learnt from the project and how the Learning Legacy programme will ensure key learnings are used for future infrastructure projects.

Drones at Smithfield Market

A drone is tested at Smithfield Market
A drone is tested at Smithfield Market

Tim Broyd joined surveyors Plowman Craven to see how they are using new technologies to survey one of London's most historic buildings. With the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, Plowman Craven was able to provide accurate, safer and more detailed surveys of the roof of Smithfield Poultry Market as part of Arup's restoration works.

A demonstration of the drones' flight showed how quickly it can capture images of the site, but surveyors also pointed out that there needs to be higher awareness of the benefits of drones for the industry.

The power of digital

Throughout the visit, the President was keen to meet with those leading the way in digital infrastructure. He met with Graduates and Students to discuss how technologies like information management can change how engineers work and to encourage them to be bold in challenging traditional methods of working.

He also met with senior figures from Turner and Townsend who explained how they are working with clients and the supply chain to show the benefits of digital technologies. The discussion looked at how the industry can speed up the use of digital.

Bank Station Upgrade

Upgrades to Bank Station will increase capacity by 40% through the construction of an extra Northern line platform, a new entrance in Cannon Street, new lifts, and two more moving walkways. The President saw how contractors Dragados are using Tunnel Information Management software to construct and monitor the progress of the project.

Diversity and skills

A lunch discussion offered the opportunity to discuss diversity and skills.
A lunch discussion offered the opportunity to discuss diversity and skills.

The visit finished with a discussion on diversity and skills in civil engineering with representatives from major clients like HS2 and TfL and engineering firms like Mott MacDonald and Atkins. The lunch examined the ways that the industry can bring in a more representative workforce and avoid a skills crisis potentially exacerbated by Brexit.

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