Industry Image | Issue 33 | August 2014 - page 49

August 2014
Issue 33
49
INDUSTRY EYE
The Fifteen Billion Pound
Railway
Would you let a BBC film crew loose on your project? I was amazed and impressed
that Crossrail did for the making of ‘The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway’, whose first
episode aired on 16 July. This series follows a team of over 10,000 engineers and
construction workers as they race to build a brand new railway under London.
Construction is heroic. But most
members of the general public –
and quite a few clients too - have
no idea of the perspiration and
inspiration that go into creating
a new building, road or railway.
Programmes like this, which
attempt to convey the unique
combination of technical expertise,
teamwork and dedication that go
into any construction project, can
only help.
The first episode, for those that
didn’t watch, featured three stories:
how a Grade I listed building in
Soho Square was monitored for
settlement; threading a huge
tunnel boring machine (TBM)
in between existing tunnels,
infrastructure and piles below
Tottenham Court Road; and how
a 280-tonne crawler crane was
dismantled at Liverpool Street.
This article has been written
for
Industry Image
by:
Kristina Smith
Freelance construction writer
and editor.
The choice of the
crane story made
me realise that many
of the tasks and
achievements that
we take for granted
are amazing for
those outside the
industry.
I never even thought
about those things
happening
before.
Speaking to workers on one of
the Crossrail sites the day after
it was showed, they - like me -
were a little surprised that the
programme makers had spent so
much time on de-rigging the crane,
something that happens frequently
on congested city centre sites. But
when I spoke to a non-construction
friend, she said that she found the
crane story fascinating: “I never
even thought about those things
happening before,” she told me.
Though the Crossrail communic-
ations team suggested possible
storylines to the film crew, they
didn’t have a say in what made
the final cut. Apparently the crane
dismantling was something the
film crew identified as a good
story. On reflection, I can see why:
charismatic team leader; various
set-backs and challenges; cheeky
banter, hard work and a successful
outcome.
The choice of the crane story
made me realise that many of
the tasks and achievements that
we take for granted are amazing
for those outside the industry. It
also reminded me that improving
the image of construction isn’t
just about being considerate to
our neighbours, it’s about letting
people know what’s really going on
behind those hoardings.
So when you are preparing your
newsletter or presentation for the
locals, don’t be afraid to go into
detail about some of the interesting
things you have been doing (as
long as you can dumb it down a
little like the makers of The Fifteen
Billion Dollar Railway have done). I
won’t urge you all to invite the local
film crew down...though I salute
those of you who do.
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