British Life and Culture Class with Alan Hertz.
The main topic covered was the history of transportation in London. To begin, our class was asked the question, “what makes a city a city”. A city depends on selling goods for something in exchange, a trade. This depends on a way of moving or transporting the goods. In the 1600s the main source of transportation were by water. Road were still used, but were rough and dangerous to travel on. For easy travel through water, many people traveled along the coast to avoid getting lost. Since water transportation was so important, large political units were built around water. In the late early 1700s, farmers wanted a direct road to the nearest towns. The need for an active parliament arose to help fund and build the roads. This lead to the idea of turnpikes, where travelers were charged to use the roads. These road were very important for people, products, postal service, mail orders, and the business of Inns. In the 1800s the urbanized stagecoach was invented. It was call the omnibus (Latin for everybody), and were pulled by horses. This was the first time there was a cross of different classes of people socializing. Around the mis 1850sHorse trams pulled more people, they were like horse buses, but ran on rails. Two horses could pull a heavier vechicle more easily on smooth iron than on a uneven road. Trams were therefore much larger than buses, carrying nearly twice as many passengers. This allowed operators to reduced fares, but still make a profit. Thousands of working horses populated Victorian London. Operating a bus or tram for a single day required at least six changes of horse, twelve horses per vechilce every day. By 1900 London’s public transport relied on about 50,000 horses. Horses had to be stable, fed and cared for. Or a transport operator they were the most expensive part of the business. A working horse has a carefully mixed diet that included hay, oats, maize, corn, and bran. It was very important to lookafter the horses properly. Without them, there were no services and no paying passengers. In the mid 1800s the the 1st steam powered passenger trains, the Puffin and the Rocket, were built by the Stevenson family. Steam engines were first used to pump water out of mines, then used to pull coal out of mines. The inventions of cars was not as revolutionary as canal or rail. Also car were only own by the wealthy. The first 20 years of the car era, there was a law which stated someone need to be 50 yards in front of the car with a red flag to warn other travels. The main idea for transportation was people wanted a reliable, fast, safe, cheap way to travel.
Another topic Professor Alan Hertz touch on was education in London. Education in Europe is more specialized, meaning by the age 16 you need to realize what you want to do. During the ages of 12-16 you take “specialist” classes to prepare you for National Exams. The only grades that effect you are your exam grade. There are informal grades , but have no value. During high school years you only take 3 or 4 subjects based on what you specialized in. If you want to attend a college or university, a student takes an extra year (year 13). Normally in the US a student must take 14 years, and 4 years of college. However in Europe students are enrolled for 12 years, then an extra year if they plan to attend a university, and must take 3 years in college. Also in the UK a public school is considered a private school, and a state school is called a public school.
Tour of the Transport Museum
A Reliable motor bus that could cope with London’s traffic condition did not exist in 1900. Horses still worked better than any of the early motor vehicles. Buses with petrol engines, paraffin-fired steam power and even hybrid petrol-electrics all appeared on the streets , most did not last long.
IBI Group – Architects
87-91 Newman Street, London W1T 3EY
Our morning tour was to visit the IBI office. Which was across from the project demolishing the old Royal Post Building. IBI Group, which was established in the 1970s focus on construction project dealing with health care, education, science, and peacemaking (public sector). The company’s expertise are in intelligence, buildings, and infrastructure. The intelligence originates from improving system designs and software development. They have extensive research on the sensory impacts of learning environments. Depending on what their project is, they design the building to have an aesthetic appearance parallel to the function of the building. They also incorporate bioficulor design in the majority of their projects. The building sector includes, building architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, transportation, and civil engineering. They utilize PFI contracts, PVP, Pier 5, and NEC3 Option 3 in their projects. Also they are mostly funded by private sectors. Last their focus in infrastructure involves planning, urban design, landscape architecture, transportation, and civil engineering. IBI incorporates the environment with their construction, trying to make the building fit in with the rest of its surroundings. IBI aims for salutogenic designs in all of their projects.
IBI gave a presentation over one of their current projects, the New South Glasgow Hospital. It will be one of the largest critical hospitals in the UK. IBI is using a PFI contract on this project to meet all performance levels. The most cranes used on this site at one time was 16 tower cranes. All of the concrete was poured on site. They are working with 12 different major contractors. Two things I found very fascinating about the New South Glasgow Hospital were IBI use of AGV in the hospital and the use of an ETFE roof. AGV, states for automatic guided vehicles. They are programed to transport lintels and drugs through underground tunnels to the hospital utilizing a pallet conveying system. They work 24/7 and never get bored. The other innovation I found appealing was IBI’s decision to use an ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) roof instead of a glass roof. Compared to glass, ETFE is lighter, more effective in light transmission, and durable. Which all have a great effect on reducing the overall cost of the building.
Neil Murphy (Studio Principal), one of the presenters, taught us to be a salesperson when dealing with construction. Also relationship are key. Last to learn all aspects of the project.
Tour of the U.S. Embassy
Ponton Road London SW8 5BA
Our tour guide was Jordan Caddick (electrical manager) who was a graduated from Texas A&M in 2005 with an electrical engineering degree. To get clearance to enter the Embassy was a hassle. Passport information was needed and each individual’s background was checked. No electronic devices were allowed through security, for safety reasons. During the tour we asked many questions, but only few could be answered. The main goal of this Embassy was to make it different from the others. They did not want it to look like a fortress, they wanted a more eco-friendly aesthetic appearance. Three things I found interesting were their use of slurry walls, the CHP system, and the perimeter walls. Slurry walls is a technique used to build reinforced concrete walls in areas of soft ground close high ground water. First a trench is excavated to make a form for each wall, then filled with slurry. Slurry prevents from walls collapsing by providing pressure outwards, balancing the inward hydraulic forces. After cement is pumped in and since cement is denser than the slurry, the slurry is natural pumped out. The CHP system is a simultaneous production of heat and electricity from a single source/system. This means that the heat and electricity generated can be used in the building extremely efficiently because there is no energy wastage or loss during transportation to another site. The last interesting thing to me was the perimeter walls around the Embassy. There were two kinds of barriers, a ram wall, and a climbing wall. These are to protect any threat to the Embassy.
Construction Law Classes with Professor Steve Rogers
In class we discussed and reviewed Ch. 18 in the Common Sense Construction Law textbook. The main topic covered was project risk. Three subtopics were; contracts (the agreement between two parties), Parties (need to be qualified), and Risk Shifting (Indemnities). Risk shifting is very important in distributing and limiting the liabilities. Two main ways to risk shift are through contracts and insurance. Contracts help state what the coverages are (the risks that are insured), who is the additional insured, and if there are any exclusions (risks that are not covered by the insurance). In construction the three main types of Insurance are Business Risk (insurance that protects from failed project and the 1st party), Commercial General Liability (liability insurance” from injuries, property damage, and completion of projects.), and Errors & Omissions (in the construction industry mainly protects architects and engineers from their own negligence, error, or mistake. “Malpractice insurance”). There are two subtopic that fall under Commercial General Liability, Occurrences and Claims made. Occurrences are damages originating from a third party claims made are normally chosen when occurrence coverage is not available or too expensive. Two main characteristics: specify by a reactive date, and claims need to be made during policy period.
We also study an incident of the failure of Lowes retaining wall, and discussed who the liability is placed upon. Then we did an exercise over the summary of a contract. The four sections we divided the contract into were 1. Persons, Purpose, and Project 2. Payment 3. Performance Problems 4. Problem Resolution
White & Case LLP – Attorney Anthony White (Presentations on Role of Law in Construction & Engineering and Dispute Resolution in Construction & Engineering Projects)
5 Old Broad Street London EC2N 1DW
Our Presenter today was Attorney Anthony White, from White and Case. The main topics he discussed were projects and dispute work, and standard form contracts. The standard form contracts UK mostly utilizes are JCT, NEC, FIDIC, and ICC. 80% of the contract in the UK are JCT documents. Attorney Anthony White also talked about statutes of adjudication and the difference procurement types for construction. FIDIC favors engineers, because they have the leading role. We learn that ICC dispute resolution is better than the AAA of the US. Another topic that was discussed was traditional procurement (the pictures above show the two main traditional procurements). The last topic Mr. White presented was issues causing disputes in construction and engineering.
RICS is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors by Parliament Square. We had the honor to listen to an amazing presentation by Allison Nimmo, who is the CEO of the Crown Estate. The inspiring speech was about how to be successful in the future and a how to grow within a team. One statement that I will remember is “we can move faster as an individual” and “we can go far as a group”. This conference meeting was a great place to network.
Day Trip to Cambridge
Our study abroad group took an amazing trip to Cambridge on Friday the 20th of February. In Cambridge we had a tour guide show the history of the town. We went to all of the colleges, and other historic places. The colleges we toured consisted of, the University of Cambridge, King’s College, Trinity College, Clare College, Queen’s College, Downing College Corpus Christi College, and St. Catherine’s College. Trinity College is the largest college of the Oxbridge universities. Also Trinity was the college of Sir Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Charles the Prince of Wales, and James Clerk Maxwell. At Trinity College there is a statue of Henry which used to hold a golden orb and a sword, but now hold a chair leg instead of the sword. Students now take the chair leg to continue the legacy. Some notable alumni at Downing College are John Hopkins, John Cleese, and Michael Atherton. Some notable alumni at St. Catherine’s college are Harivanshrai Bachchan, Roger Harrabin, and John Ray. Also we went to the historic pub called the Eagle. The Eagle is a traditional English pub dating back to the 16th century. It boasts many historical features including the RAF bar with its world famous ceiling where members of the air force burn initial into the ceiling. Also the Eagle housed the room in which the ‘secret of life’ (DNA) was announced. This discovering was accomplished by James Watson and Francis Crick.