Professor John Burland
For services to engineering and world heritage
John Burland is the man who saved the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Fourteen years ago, the professor of soil mechanics at Imperial College London was handed the awesome responsibility of stopping the Italian landmark from collapsing – while still preserving its famous lean.
Burland was charged with finding a way to rein back the 4.5 m overhang at the tower's seventh cornice before the 700-year-old building collapsed. However, as he explained to Building in September 2000, this was not a simple underpinning job: "Any interference with the ground on the south would have brought it crashing down – and I'd have been selling ice-creams in the piazza."
He eventually decided on a technique called soil extraction. This involves digging lots of little tunnels to create a controlled form of subsistence. Burland's team conducted tests using a computer and physical models of the tower, and a trial using a full-size replica of the foundations. When it came to the actual work, they managed to bring the seventh cornice back about 3.9 m and the top of the tower 500 mm closer to the vertical. This correction, though imperceptible, will reduce the stress in the masonry by 10% and ensure the tower's long-term stability.
Burland also masterminded excavations for the Jubilee Line extension under the Houses of Parliament. The danger here was that the work would cause Big Ben to be renamed the Leaning Tower of London. Instead of removing soil, this Burland packed it into the ground beneath the tower.
Burland's nomination cited his "diligence, ingenuity and diplomacy" on the Pisa project – and demanded that he be given a knighthood.
For services to housebuilding and charity
Throughout his career in construction, Philip Davies, chief executive of Linden Homes, has combined business nous with a social conscience.
After leaving Alfred McAlpine 14 years ago, Davies created Linden Homes which soon became a force in the housebuilding industry, and won many lucrative contracts. The company has grown steadily and now employs 348 full-time staff and operates in five regions. In 2002, it produced a profit of £24m on a turnover of £223m.
Under Davies' management, Linden has prospered financially and has won many plaudits for its commitment to community regeneration and the environment. It has carried out many of Prince Charles' recommendations for building vibrant communities and won numerous awards for its design practice and builds 90% of its houses on brownfield sites.
An unassuming, modest man, Davies has also undertaken much charity work over the years, particularly for The Children's Trust in Tadworth, Surrey. The charity receives £50 from every purchase of a Linden Homes in the South-east and Davies remains heavily involved in its work.
For services to consultancy
Dickson, who is chairman of consultant engineer Buro Happold, is due to take on the presidency of the Institution of Structural Engineers next year and has been at the forefront of many industry initiatives. As the head at the Construction Industry Council, he pushed forward the creation of the Office of Government Commerce, an institution that has been crucial in improving the relationship between the industry and central government.
For services to flat roofing
In 1980, Peter Wright struck out on his own and created Sarnafil, a flat roofing company. The gamble paid off and the firm established itself as a major player in the industry. Over the years, he has been commended for this sturdy commitment to training, in particular his creation of the NVQ Assessment at Sarnafil – an endeavour greatly appreciated by his staff, who have nominated him for official recognition.
Here’s some we nominated earlierArise Sir Tony Pidgley
For services to housebuilding and regeneration
Why? We all know the story of Pidgley’s rise – an adopted child brought up by gypsies – and it makes him an unmistakable character in the industry. But that background takes nothing away from his success in business, creating a £1bn-turnover group. Berkeley is also credited with leading the rise of urban regeneration.
Paul Morrell OBE
For services to consultancy
Why? Morrell has been much more than the boss of a major QS. He has profoundly influenced the profession, through his roles at the British Council for Office and CABE, and is now set to play a key role in shaping the future of the RICS.
Peter Rogers MBE
For services to construction
Why? Rogers is spearheading the process of modernising the industry that was kick-started by Sir Michael Latham and Sir John Egan. Through his positions at Stanhope and the strategic forum, Rogers is driving improvements in performance and safety in the industry.
Amanda Levete MBE
For services to architecture Why? What building had more impact in the UK than Future Systems’ Selfridges store in Birmingham? Combine that with the practice’s Lord’s media centre and you have, arguably, the most influential UK architect. So surely it is only a question of time before she begins her journey to join Norman, Richard, Michael and Nicholas.