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Brits make headway to rebuild Iraq

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British architects are gearing up to win major schemes in the postwar reconstruction effort in Iraq.

The AJ has learnt that both London-based GMW Architects and Chichester-based Miller Hughes have been approached to draw up designs.

An Iraqi contractor has approached the Turkish office of GMW Architects about an airport in the north of the country while Miller Hughes said it was also in discussions about a number of potential projects.

GMW senior partner Ali Ozveren said he understood 'there has been some progress on the topic of reconstruction in the last few months'.

'We have just completed Istanbul airport very recently and have become known for our work in the region, ' he said. 'Airports are a speciality and so we have submitted a statement of interest.

'We have also done a few projects in Iraq many years ago including a military training academy for the government, 'Ozveren added.

'To be honest, we are happy to take on jobs anywhere in the world as long as we judge it to be safe.'

And Colin Adams, the chief executive of the British Consultants and Construction Bureau (BCCB), of which the RIBA is an affiliate member, confirmed that it is making progress in negotiating work for British architects.

The BCCB and the Department of Trade and Industry met a new Iraqi authority minister in Iraq last week. 'There were a series of very impressive presentations and it seems that there are many projects they are keen to get us involved with, ' Adams said.

And he is also set to attend a meeting - with DTI minister Mike O'Brien - in Washington to meet the Bechtel American contractor charged with overseeing the reconstruction.

'We believe in the medium term there is tremendous potential, ' Adams added. 'But one must not forget there are many hugely competent Iraqis themselves - they are basically trained but very good.'

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