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CDM approach not necessarily the best


Nick Reilly asked what evidence there is linking design to accidents (NCE 8 November 2001). It is a fundamental element of engineering that we observe what happens in 'the real world' and deduce rules from those observations.

As far as anyone can tell, no one has tested the theory that the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations have had a beneficial effect on safe design. As professional engineers, we should be outraged by this.

No one at this stage is suggesting that safety is not 'a good thing' and I sincerely hope that no one is suggesting that designers working before the introduction of CDM thought otherwise. The question is: what is the evidence regarding CDM?

Jeffrey Smith (NCE 22 November 2001) reiterates a number of familiar points regarding, for instance, roof lights. However, it is entirely likely that the use of such details was eliminated prior to the regulations coming into force - without the CDM regulations would he have continued to specify such elements even though the industry now recognises them to be a hazard?

I fully support the notion that designers should be accountable for their decisions - but so should everyone else in the construction process. This includes the people responsible for the CDM regulations, who must demonstrate that their approach to improving safety is a good one.

David K Young (M), Northern Geoanalysts, Kirkstyle, South Park, Hexham NE46 1BT

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