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What civil engineers have learned from past disasters explored in latest NCE

21 June 2023

NCE’s July issue is out now and is available to all ICE members to read in digital format in a browser or on the NCE app.

What civil engineers have learned from past disasters explored in latest NCE

What can be learned from past tunnelling disasters is part of the sector focus for this month's issue of New Civil Engineer (NCE), which is available for free to ICE members. 

Editor Claire Smith starts the issue with discussion around the sixth anniversary of the fatal Grenfell Tower fire and asks whether we've done enough in the time since to improve competence in the industry.

She feels the answer is not yet, and talks about the forthcoming consultation by the ICE to bring in mid-career competency checks for members as a result of the ICE’s In Plain Sight report that followed the fire.

Smith’s leader also marks International Women in Engineering Day, and, later on in the issue, Sizewell C managing director Julia Pyke considers the role of major projects like the nuclear newbuild in Suffolk for inspiring more women to enter the civil engineering sector.

This opinion piece is followed by an interview on what metrics and measures set a megaproject up to be successful – or not.

Discussing the topic is Oxford University professor of major programme management and IT University of Copenhagen professor of programme management Bent Flyvbjerg.

The interview follows on from Flyvbjerg’s new book, co-authored with Dan Gardner, How Big Things Get Done, which looks at where megaprojects succeed and fail and what learnings can be applied to others.

The Future of...

The sector focus in this month’s Future of… section is tunnelling.

The overview considers the need to learn from past tunnelling disasters, while the other articles look at the progress of twin bore tunnelling on phase one of HS2, and the work involved in making the final connections on London’s super sewer Tideway.

In the Innovative Thinking section, details are shared of a trial underway in Rotherham to use lignin – a material taken from trees – as a replacement for bitumen in asphalt for road surfacing to boost the sustainability of the work and cut carbon.

Also in that section is some project insight from the United States with a review of how 3D planning has helped fast track a $1.5bn (£1.2bn) Texas road upgrade from design to construction.

The section concludes with an interview with Barhale CEO Martin Brown on how Network Rail is planning to use the minimum viable product concept, which has proved to be very successful in the water industry.

The issue concludes with all the latest news from the ICE and opinion pieces and insight from trustees and leading ICE members.

How to read NCE

To read the digital issue, which is available to all ICE members (including those who still receive a print issue of NCE, go to and log in using your MyICE details.

The content can also be viewed via the NCE app which is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

If you currently receive a paper copy of NCE and wish to go digital only, go to to change the delivery method.

  • Claire Smith, editor at New Civil Engineer