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Dome celebrated in revamp for Rethinking Construction

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A new book to be published by CABE next month celebrates the Millennium Dome as an exemplar of good design and building practices.

'In spite of the adverse publicity, the Dome actually exemplifies a number of points which the Egan report tried to get across, ' said CABE policy and research manager Robert Bargery. 'The building was up and running in a very short time period, irrespective of its content, and the number of defects and site accidents were well within Egan targets.' Celebrating Innovation brings together 20 examples of well-run and well-designed projects, including Bill Dunster's BedZed housing scheme in Sutton, Niels Torp's Waterside building for British Airways and the Murray Grove modular housing scheme by Cartwright Pickard.

The book is part of an initiative to revamp the Rethinking Construction programme, which was last week granted an extra two years of life by the DTI. The programme, initiated by John Prescott three years ago, was due to come to a close in March 2002, but the government decided that more work could be done to streamline the programme and disseminate its findings.

Bargery welcomed the extension: 'Certainly it's got a lot more life left in it. It would have been a pity to cut it short before the integration of design and construction became a mainstream practice.'

Construction minister Brian Wilson said he hoped that the extension would allow 'more widespread industry ownership' and enable the lessons of the research programmes to filter down more effectively to smaller firms. 'There is clearly widespread support and enthusiasm for Rethinking Construction. But there is also a belief that there must be a new emphasis and drive if day-to-day practices are to be changed throughout the wider industry, ' he said. 'The programme has already achieved a major impetus for reform, and demonstration projects have shown substantial, measured improvements in performance compared with industry averages.Now that the leaders have shown what can be done, we must launch a renewed drive to make the best practice of today the common practice of tomorrow.'

Final details have yet to be worked out, but Wilson has committed himself to sitting down with industry bodies this autumn to thrash out ideas.

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