With a little help from our friends….

Published: 8 March 2013

Last week I was delighted to co-host an Odgers Berndtson Infrastructure lunch held in London. Always well attended by the great and good of the industry, the event brings together a good number of ‘C Suite’ leaders from across the wider construction, support service and industrial sector.

Two distinct conversations captured my imagination and are worthy of comment, these being the engineering of the world’s tallest buildings and infrastructure needed to support the 2016 Olympics.

During the past century the engineering world has watched as boundaries have been pushed and the accolade of boasting the world’s tallest building has been passed around the globe’s greatest cities. I was delighted then to meet Graham Kean, Global Head of Client Solutions at EC Harris at the lunch. News of EC Harris’s joint venture with Mace to build the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia had been announced the week prior to the event. With such recent good press, Graham was keen to offer his insight into the build in the context of the global race to reach the one mile mark, and the challenges of building in the clouds. Also present were senior leaders from the building product world, which given more time could well have led to a lively debate on the limitations of concrete as a structural material in such builds.

I was fortunate to sit with Julian Lindfield, whom Odgers had placed as Director of Health and Safety at LOCOG in 2011. Led by Paul Deighton (another Odgers placement), Justin and his team were central to the delivery of such a memorable and above all safe Olympics for London. When asked by the table about his memories of the games Julian quipped how un-eventful they were from a health and safety perspective – surely a job well done for him!

With Rio 2016 fast approaching, I was keen to understand the opinion from the table on the infrastructure investments the city will have to make to support the games. The successful legacy of 2012 seems to highlight the development Rio must undertake if they are to achieve their bold ambitions. It was commented that questions were asked of London’s infrastructure prior to 2012, but much as LOCOG delivered in spades to a rapturous nation, the opinion was that Rio too will succeed - with a little help from Julian and his friends.

Korinna Sjoholm is a Consultant within the Infrastructure practice at Berwick Partners, an Odgers Berndtson company and is based in Leeds. You can contact her via email at korinna.sjoholm@berwickpartners.co.uk or telephone on 0113 386 8506.

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