Rehabilitating infrastructure

A new inter disciplinary research centre established at the University of Technology, Sydney aims to address problems which stem from the aging of Australia's infrastructure assets. Launched in March, the Centre for Built Infrastructure Research based at the Australian Technology Park in Redfern includes expertise in Engineering, Science and Design, Architecture and Building.

It aims to make this expertise available to the community at large in the quest to maintain important infrastructure assets. Two major projects are already underway. One commissioned by the Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia has investigated issues relating to the recycling of construction and demolition materials for roadworks and other Local Government activities.

Another Federally funded project aims to develop a fast and cheap method for assessing the condition of thousands of timber road bridges across NSW.

Director, Professor Bijan Samali said that coming to the end of the century, governments and providers of basic services in Australia and worldwide, are faced with the fact that much basic infrastructure is reaching the limit of its 'normal life span'. This is particularly the case with the first fruits of post World War 11 economic development.

He said the level of public investment in roads, bridges, water and sewerage reticulation, among other basic services, is such that large scale replacement is no longer an option due to the cost and the upheaval replacement would create.

"The best solution is rehabilitation, applying current and emerging technologies to the diagnosis of problems and developing of simple cost effective measures to extend the life of built infrastructure," Professor Samali said. The Centre includes a external advisory board comprising key members of industry. It provides feedback on the Centre's activities and identifies areas in need of research.

For further information contact Professor Steve Bakoss, telephone (02) 9209 4388.