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Cash sought again for walkway design standard

NEWS

GOVERNMENT WILL be lobbied again next month for cash to draft a long-awaited design guide for roll-on-roll-off walkway structures, its was revealed this week.

The tragic walkway collapse at Ramsgate in 1994 prompted original calls for a design code but since then all talks to secure around £50,000 needed to carry out the work have broken down.

But chairman of the drafting committee for BSI 6349 Maritime Code Paul Lacey told NCE that recent 'overwhelming support' from construction engineering professionals had led to a new meeting being arranged with Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions officials to discuss the matter.

'Support for a design code was first voiced in 1995, just after Ramsgate,' he said. 'The consensus then was that we needed it and it is a disgrace that nothing has happened. The Government doesn't seem too bothered about it.'

Seven passengers were killed and six seriously injured as they boarded a ferry in 1995. The subsequent trial resulted in record health and safety fines. The design of such ship-to-shore walkway and vehicle ramp structures currently falls between onshore and offshore design codes. Although the investigation and trial highlighted design failures as a contributory cause of the accident, the official report, published earlier this month, made no mention of the lack of a specific code for such structures.

However, a government-backed report on the management and operation of port structures carried out last April by CIRIA recommended that further work be carried out to establish a proper code for designing such facilities.

The drafting committee wants to see a new part 8 added to BSI 6349 to specifically cover the design of ship to shore structures as soon as possible.

'We need to put everything together into a form designers can use,' said Lacey. 'If we got the money now it would probably take around six months to prepare the draft code, and then another year of consultation and review before it hit the streets.'

The ICE, under the guidance of past president David Green, has already had a series of unsuccessful meetings with the DETR over funding. It is continuing to back this latest approach to the Government.

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