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A hard lesson for engineering

I was perplexed at the claim for engineering success at Terminal 5 (Comment, NCE last week).

The problems experienced at Heathrow occur all too frequently with software systems and it needs a change of attitude to counter it in engineering as well.

This is all about understanding the customer chain from the start of the project. Failure of engineering elements to ensure that the overall programme has the necessary operational elements built in will inevitably lead to "guilt by association".

Terminal 5 is a public project. What customers expected was a working airport, with everything that entails. Engineering is just one element of that supply chain.

It is critical that robust handover plans are developed and jointly owned from project inception. The attitude of "my bit is okay – it's someone else's fault" is just not good enough. DAVID WHITE (AM), david.pwhite@btinternet.com

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