Have you thought of...

4 January 2012

...doing the Maracana in Brazil?

Not to be confused with the eponymous Macarena dance associated with the 1994 pop hit of the same name by Spanish group Los del Río, the bane of every New Year’s Eve party, we’re talking about Brazil’s Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

It looks as though UK firm Hightex, through its Brazilian arm SEPA, has performed a bit of fancy footwork itself, winning the commission to engineer and install the tension cable system and membrane structure for the iconic home of Brazilian football and the venue for the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

It’s a publicity coup for the firm, as the stadium will be seen by a global audience of hundreds of millions, and with a contract value of more than €10m, it should keep Hightex in Caipirinhas for quite some time. Just as long as they don’t end up too worse for wear and doing that silly dance… many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall?

John Lennon might have noted that there were four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire — but that was only a guesstimate. However, now that Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham have secured funding for pothole research from the Institution of Civil Engineers, hopefully they’ll be able to test Lennon’s supposition empirically.

Nottingham Trent’s Dr Mujib Rahman (pictured above), says increasing traffic volumes and reduced road maintenance mean that the repair bill for cars damaged by the nation’s potholes is estimated to be £1bn a year, so the project is welcome.

As part of the research, a section of road will be built, tested to breaking point until it forms potholes, and then patched. Rahman says potholes are a sign of “underlying problems requiring structural rehabilitation”, although why he needs to build a new road to prove that is beyond us. Has he driven down a UK road recently?

...raising the roof at Versailles?

The last time Louis XVI had anything to do with a scaffold, he was walking up one for an expeditious date with Madame Guillotine. But he might be pleased to know that a modern version of it is aiding in the future preservation of the Palace of Versailles, the king’s erstwhile Paris pad, which he was forced to vacate in 1789 with the onset of the French Revolution.

As part of the €390m, 17-year restoration project, Combisafe has installed its UBIX temporary roofing system over the palace while its roof is refurbished. This will weatherproof both the building fabric and provide shelter to the experts carrying out the renovation of the infamous king’s private apartments, which involves the reapplication of gold leaf to its intricate painted ceilings.

Though he might be long gone, we’re sure Louis XVI would approve of the fact that while the building might have temporarily lost its head, it hasn’t lost its dignity.

...tackling winter the Kier way?

The PR people for Kier are on fire this month, here using the inclement winter weather as a hook for how the contractor is going to deal with it.

Yes, up in Boston, Lancashire, it looks like it’s going to be “snow problem” for the Kier team, who have “implemented a number of measures to minimise disruption to services over the winter months”.

This includes 4WD vehicles for technicians, in-van grit reserves, and a “buddy” system for safety in rural areas. Sounds great, although the company’s provision of “thermal underwear” to staff sounds like a preoccupation with health and safety verging on the prurient.

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