OBITUARY – COLIN BLAND (1933 – 2017)

Colin BlandClay Pipe Development Association Engineer and Director of Technical Services 1956 -1999

FCIWEM – Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management

FRSH – Fellow of the Royal Society of Health

Past Master of The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators

Past Chairman of the Chimney Development Association

Colin Edward George Bland died peacefully on 30th July 2017. Educated at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood and the Northampton Polytechnic (now City, London University) where he studied civil engineering. He found his metiér after joining the Clay Pipe Development Association (CPDA) in 1956, first as Liaison Engineer and then as Director of Technical Services from 1978. His long service spanned a period of accelerating change in pipeline design and the manufacture of clay pipes.

Right from the beginning he was always at the vanguard of new technology, becoming an expert in writing computer programs and spending long days and nights working with the room-sized computers of the time. He created the tables to allow the easy design of buried pipelines at a time when the idea was new to most engineers and which formed the core of his legacy of technical literature.

Alongside the adoption of new design methods came the need for research into the actual behaviour of underground pipes. Colin directed and analysed the CPDA’s work, which over a period of more than twenty years not only proved the validity of current designs but moved knowledge on to validate more economic solutions.

Colin was though not a theoretical engineer, he was ever-ready to ‘get his boots dirty’ and was adept at trouble-shooting on site and putting the knowledge gained to good use when offering design advice. This also came out in more technical literature and has found its way into appropriate British Standards.

Colin will be best remembered by many engineers, architects and other construction professionals for the Association’s Technical Sessions which put all the information on clay pipe manufacture, research into structural and hydraulic design and practical advice into their hands on a regular basis across the UK over a period of twenty years.

Alongside all this Colin became widely respected through his service on innumerable British and European Standards committees covering not just clay pipes but pipeline design and construction, where his forceful views were invariably backed up by practical knowledge and his personality meant he was asked to chair many of them. Given that other major products of the clay industry included chimney flues and terminals he also worked tirelessly on their standards and following ‘retirement’ in 1999 served the Chimney Development Association as Chairman, and contributing to it technically.

Colin’s professional qualifications came principally via the Institution of Public Health Engineers and the Royal Society of Health. He worked at local and Council levels for the former, later merged into the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management with the Institution of Water Pollution Control, and all were pleased to publish his papers on both manufacture and design. Nonetheless, Colin was always proud to be called a Public Health Engineer.

Colin was in at the beginning of the creation of the The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators, in which he undertook a number of major roles, as Master from 1998 – 1999.

He was also instrumental in the formation of the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT), fulfilling the role of Chairman of the Guarantors.

Colin will be missed by all those who encountered him and his work over a productive life which changed both the industry he worked for and design and construction practices in his chosen field.