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The Duke of Edinburgh Gives Construction his Royal Approval

Read more about the Duke of Edinburgh gives Construction his royal approval

The Duke of Edinburgh Gives Construction his Royal Approval

The Duke of Edinburgh donned hard hat and boots to visit the National Construction College to see for himself students from Imperial College London managing and building their own versions of engineering landmarks.

Prince Philip arrived by helicopter and spent nearly an hour talking to students about their involvement in the Constructionarium, an annual event where groups of engineering students have five days to tackle a challenging project.

Projects tackled during the week included a scale model of the Millau Viaduct, the tallest vehicular bridge in the world, a 20 tonne version of Ravenspurn oil rig in the North Sea, the mushroom-shaped Naples underground station in Italy and East Reef pier a 21st Century pier currently being planned in Essex.

Constructionarium is designed to complement the existing theory exams. It links the theory and reality of construction, something that is often missing from the current course curriculums, and puts into practice what students have learnt during their studies.

Each Constructionarium programme runs as a real construction site for the whole week, with everyone receiving a full safety induction. Students initiate everything themselves and work in all roles from labourers, steel fixers and foremen, to schedulers, managers and estimators, using formwork, concrete and steel. Method statements, risk assessments and budgeting for plant and labour rates, are also an integral part of the construction scenario.

The Constructionarium is a unique partnership between academia and Industry. It was launched in 2002 and is the brainchild of engineer Chris Wise who came up with the idea whilst teaching at Imperial College. Wise was the chief engineer on the Millennium Bridge. He escorted the Prince around the Constructionarium site.

Prince Philip toured the different projects and met the students involved. The Prince is an engineering enthusiast and Senior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng). He personally requested a visit to the Constructionarium after reading about it in the Royal Academy of Engineering magazine, Ingenia.

David Dalgoda, 22, Civil Engineering student, Imperial College London, spoke to the Prince and commented; “It’s really good that he (Prince Philip) is supportive of construction and engineering. It helps to raise the profile of the industry which is important because of the existing skills shortage.”

Gemma Rees Civil Engineering student, Imperial College London and site manager for the model of the East Reef pier spoke to the Prince and commented; “He asked some really good questions (about the project). It’s great that he’s genuinely interested in what we’re doing. It is important and significant work and the Prince’s visit proves that.”

Robin Holdsworth, of Constructionarium stated: “The practical experience of working on site is invaluable for students. Constructionarium demonstrates how industry and academia are combining to combat the ongoing shortage in construction and design expertise, and it provides our future construction managers with practical skills and experience.”

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