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Civils must be involved in advice

Letters

In your article Spending cuts reduced broken rail repairs (NCE 26 October), you refer to Project Destiny, a 1998 report on Railtrack's spending priorities produced by American management consultant McKinsey. This recommended the scaling down of renewals work.

What qualifications do these management consultants have that allow them to give advice on rail maintenance? If the answer is none, then what advice did McKinsey seek from suitably qualified/experienced civil engineers? If also none, then what responsibility rests with McKinsey for providing advice with such devastating consequences? Here I am certain the answer is none.

If we assume that no qualified/experienced engineers were involved in Project Destiny, how can we (as a profession and a society) allow such important decisions to be made on unqualified advice?

Surely something must be done to emphasise the role of the civil engineer in providing useful advice, founded on education, training, and experience.

Dr Cliff Ohl (G) Cliff.Ohl@babtie.com

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