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22 September 2008
Dr Dick Fenner
Dr Dick Fenner and two former students from the Department, Olivia Thorne (MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development 2005) and Gavin McFarland (MEng 2006), have been awarded the RA Carr Prize by the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). This is for their paper entitled “A case-based reasoning approach for managing sewerage assets” which was published in the Institution Proceedings Water Management Journal in March 2007.
The paper is aimed at helping water companies develop a clearer understanding of the deterioration of their sewerage assets and examines the linkages between pipe condition, sewer performance and the likely impact of intervention options. This is achieved by developing a realistic and cost effective sewer maintenance model using techniques of expert and knowledge based systems, which have been widely used for failure analysis in other branches of engineering. The method involves a case based reasoning approach in which information linking the physical characteristics of pipes with known performance and recorded problems are entered into a database. Management information can then be retrieved for similar pipes, enabling planned maintenance strategies to be developed based on a detailed assessment of similar past cases. Therefore decisions are based on experiences of previous sewer failures, and the method can also be used to capture the local knowledge of engineers, which is not possible in other statistically based approaches. The procedure was tested on data drawn from two water company areas and successfully showed that a good knowledge of the performance of a few pipes, could be used to infer management information for many other pipes where less complete data are available.
The Robert Alfred Carr Prize was instituted in 1963 following a bequest made by Robert Alfred Carr (1864-1942) in memory of his father, his brother, and himself, who were all members of ICE for many years. The income from the endowment fund is used to provide an annual money prize and a certificate, for the author of the best paper published by ICE during the past year.
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