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ICE Olympics Survey

A public opinion survey on behalf of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Date Published: 08 Jul 2012

Categories: Energy | Public and communities | Social | UK


        ‘Olympic fever’ hits civil engineering as Mayor of London and MPs praise the ‘unsung heroes’

9 July 2012: More than a third of people (34%) say that seeing the role civil engineers have played in the construction of the London 2012 Olympic Park has helped them appreciate the importance of civil engineering to society, according to a survey published today by a leading engineering body.

The ComRes survey of 2000 people, commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), also showed that over half of the public (53%) no longer just think about bridges when they think of civil engineering. 45% say they would consider civil engineering to be a ‘respected’ profession, alongside jobs such as lawyers and teachers. And over a third (38%) would encourage their children to pursue a career in civil engineering.

Civil engineers, working for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) alongside other built environment professionals, have played a vital role in bringing the Olympic Park to life – including designing and building the venues and facilities, building 30 new bridges, restoring 8.35km of waterways, and building 1.8km of sewer tunnels underneath the site. They also oversaw the demolition of over 200 buildings, the removal of 52 electricity pylons, the cleaning of more than two million tonnes of soil and the protection of wildlife and plant species.

ICE President Richard Coackley said: “Our day-to-day lives depend on the infrastructure around us that is designed, built and maintained by civil engineers – from roads, railways and bridges to energy, water and waste networks. It forms the backbone of society and the economy. But unfortunately it is often only when things go wrong that the work of civil engineers is thrust into the media spotlight. 

“The London 2012 Games have changed this - showcasing and celebrating the work of these often ‘unsung heroes’ while at the same time helping the public understand more about what civil engineers do and what a diverse and exciting career it is. If anything could excite and inspire young people to pursue civil engineering as a career it’s the Olympic and Paralympic Games - a true feat of engineering in every sense.”

Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and civil engineer of 45 years, added: “The London 2012 construction project has provided an excellent platform for civil engineers to showcase their talent and expertise to the world. The point that the venues and infrastructure have been delivered on time, within budget and to the highest possible standard is a significant tribute to the profession and one which has deservedly caught the imagination of the public.”

Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, added: “Civil Engineers were pivotal in successfully delivering the iconic structures on the Olympic Park so I am pleased that the Games have helped to raise the wider profile and appreciation of the profession.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Constructing a landmark venue like the Olympic Park has provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to show the world the level of skill and ingenuity that our civil engineers possess. I am delighted that staging the Games has helped to raise the public profile of a profession that has so much to be proud of."

Mark Champkins, the Science Museum's Inventor in Residence, said: "It is of great importance that young people get to experience and be inspired by some of the amazing civil engineering projects that have been undertaken for the Olympics. It's no understatement to say that the Velodrome, Aquatics Centre and main Stadium are awe-inspiring. I think as many young people as possible should get to see them up close to appreciate the impact that a career in design and engineering can have."

ComRes surveyed 2048 GB adults online between 18 and 19 April 2012. Data were weighted to be nationally representative. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

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