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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

CSIC’s  Infrastructure Futureproofing Workshop was held at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) on 23rd January 2014.

The workshop was organised by CSIC’s Dr Tariq Masood, Dr Jennifer Schooling and Professor Duncan McFarlane as part of CSIC's Futureproofing of Infrastructure project.

The aim was to gather together people involved in infrastructure development, management and ownership with expertise in aspects of futureproofing. The workshop was composed of presentations and breakout sessions.

Firstly, Professor Duncan McFarlane (CSIC) introduced the CSIC infrastructure futureproofing project. He explained futureproofing dimensions as i) resilience to unexpected / uncontrollable events and circumstances; and ii) capability to adapt or respond to changing needs, uses and capacities.  He talked about what, why and how to futureproof, while also presenting industry partner views from a 2013 CSIC study around his arguments. In conclusion, he posed similar questions to the participants of the workshop to have their views, i.e. what is futureproofing, why and how to futureproof.

Duncan’s slides can be viewed here.

The first speaker was Will McBain from Arup, who spoke on futureproofing infrastructure from flooding-related, disruptive events. He highlighted the severe impacts of flooding on the nation’s infrastructure assets and talked about the cost and impact of the 2007 floods to the UK economy which cost over £4 billion, specially looking at critical infrastructure which was valued at £674 million.

He talked further about precaution versus managed adaptation, providing examples from his experience. He suggested futureproofing success criteria for use in options, identification and appraisal, which is not formally embedded into existing option appraisal processes.

Will’s slides can be viewed here.

Kate Avery (Network Rail) presented on climate change adaptation and rail. She presented challenges faced by Network Rail as having a large asset portfolio with new and legacy assets, climate and weather impacts, wider system challenges, and resilience and recovery.

She shared results of “Tomorrow’s Railway and Climate Change Adaptation (TRaCCA)” research project.  The TRaCCA findings included issues around heat and track buckle risk management, heat and track maintenance, fluvial (river) flooding and pluvial (surface water) flooding.

Kate’s presentation slides can be viewed here.

Andrew Ellis from Heathrow spoke on futureproofing of Heathrow infrastructure.  He talked about the Heathrow Masterplan to meet 2030 demand forecast. The master planning includes runway, stand and terminal capacities, surface access and infrastructure e.g. heating, cooling, power, aircraft fuel systems, drainage, communication & IT and baggage.

He talked about environmental, technological and political factors that shaped the masterplans. Andrew also discussed the three proposed options for expansion of the Heathrow Airport.

Andrew’s presentation slides can be viewed here.

The last presenter, Jon May from Lend Lease, illustrated some of the futureproofing challenges and took the participants through his approach to futureproof the Elephant and Castle regeneration - one of the Lend Lease projects. He also presented E&C Masterplan of Lend Lease, which is based on creating a community of long-term residents and building flexibility into the design to adapt spaces and technology as needs change.

Jon’s presentation slides can be viewed here.               

Dr Jennifer Schooling (CSIC) facilitated two breakout sessions. During these sessions, the participants discussed and tried to find answers to the following broad questions: futureproofing terminology and examples (what does futureproofing mean and current industry best practice and examples), as well as building a business case for futureproofing of existing and new infrastructure.

The aim of the workshop was to identify key terminology and issues in futureproofing. It also provided industrial perspectives on why and how to futureproof infrastructure.

For further information, please contact Dr Tariq Masood (


Infrastructure futureproofing is “the process of making provision for future developments, needs or events that impact on particular infrastructure through its current planning, design, construction or asset management processes (McFarlane et al 2014)”.

Information futureproofing is “the process to ensure that required information is retrievable (reusable) throughout the whole lifecycle of infrastructure assets or product service systems when needed. The key characteristics of information futureproofing may include but not limited to representability, retrievability, reusability and accessibility (Masood et al 2013)”.

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