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Contracted out


I refer to your article on the tunnel collapse in Singapore and the involvement of UK engineers (NCE 23 September).

This is nothing new. Tunnel collapses occurred on Hong Kong's Island Line, Heathrow, Docklands Light Rail and now Singapore. The reason is simply the method of procurement.

The downgrading of the 'Engineer' within the contract to designer and his replacement by the project manager - invariably ex-contractor staff - has put the emphasis on time and money to the detriment of engineering know-how.

Unfortunately, there will be no improvement in the future.

Engineering designers are now office bound and construction contracts lack the continuity of engineering expertise that they enjoyed under the previous system.

GR Heath, 7 Chenies Ave, Little Chalfont, Amersham, HP6 6PR.

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