n IMIESA - Alternative models for infrastructure delivery : infrastructure delivery

Volume 35, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0257-1978



Dr Martin Barnes, the originator of the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract, in his Smeaton Lecture in 1999, pointed out that virtually no civil engineering was carried out in the UK, after the Romans left, until the 17th century, the two notable major works being the Exeter Ship Canal (1567) and the drainage the Fens. This all changed between the 1760s and the 1850s. John Smeaton, who is often regarded as the founder of civil engineering and whose largest project was the Forth and Clyde Canal linking the eastern side of Scotland to the western side, developed his approach to managing works. In 1768, he set down his management scheme for the construction phase with detailed tables of responsibility. His team comprised the engineer in chief, the resident engineer and the 'surveyors' for the various geographical sections working under him, and contractors (as opposed to direct labour). This 'master - servant' model has remained in use for the majority of civil engineering projects for more than 200 years and is still used on projects managed in the traditional manner.

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