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The Thames Barrier was completed at the beginning of 1983 and was brought into use for the first time in February that year. It provided an example of some important aspects of the systems enginee...ring method, as explained in this programme. The programme traces the project some two decades when the options open to the Government were first seriously considered. When the GLC took over running the porject, a stage resembling the first stage of the systems engineering method was put into action - a review of all the options from a barrier to a barrage to more outlandish ideas like blocking the Thames with chemicals or combining a barrier with an electricity generation scheme. The second stage involved narrowing down the options, and this involved the consulting engineering Rendel, Palmer and Tritton. Advantages to different parties of the novel rising sector gate are discussed, as well as the complicated parocess of handling potential opposition. The final stage of the project was the implementation stage. Here classic monitoring and control were used for some of the engineering facets of the barrier, but industrial relations proved to be a problem area which caused many delays. Reasons for this and subsequent remedies to the operation of the consulting engineers are revealed. In all, the Thames Barrier project is shown to have conformed well to the systems engineering method for the more structural aspects of the problem, leaving some of the softer problems to be solved by other means.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T241, Systems behaviour
Item code: T241; 08; 1983
First transmission date: 19-09-1983
Published: 1983
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:34
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Producer: Andrew Millington
Contributors: Margaret Blunden; Fraser Cliff; Peter Cox; Doug Goring; Ray Horner; John Hounslow
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Engineering systems; Flood control; Systems management; Thames Barrier
Master spool number: HOU4295
Production number: FOUT157J
Videofinder number: 2720
Available to public: no