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Budget regard


Last week's letters regarding successful projects led me to wonder how many of the problem projects mentioned the previous week had a qualified engineer at the helm.

Did he give advice directly to a committee, and administer the contract impartially, rather than working 'as part of a team' within some corporate structure?

I do wonder whether the traditional ICE forms of contract correctly assume that the client wants the cheapest job, and is willing to carry part of the risk. Non-technical clients lack the ability to assess the risks involved.

Companies as well as public clients tend to be risk-averse, and do not want their careful cost-benefit analyses nullified by rises in construction cost - and the existence of the insurance industry testifies that they are willing to pay for certainty.

Our profession and industry may be losing out by not being able to offer clients fixed construction costs. Maybe we should look again at irrevocable performance bonds included in fixed price tenders.

The client that wishes to change its mind should be able to get, for a fee, fixed additional cost offers related to decision dates before ordering the variation. How about this for some future 'President's Initiative'?

John Hounslow (F), 18 Peacock Close, Downend, Fareham, Hants, PO16 8YG

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