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Cry Woolf


Geoff Pinfold (NCE 7 October) challenges the Health & Safety Executive to let us know how to make our designs comply with the Construction (Design & Management) regulations. He may be interested in the response of Lord Woolf to my question following the recent Capita Symonds safety lecture at 1 Great George Street (NCE last week).

I asked if his Lordship felt it was right that the definition of a criminal offence should be determined by precedent in the courts, as opposed to the historic procedure of using precedent to refine meanings.

His answer was that there is a trend towards goal-setting legislation and away from the sometimes ponderous alternative of prescriptive legislation. But, he added, no doubt your Institution furnishes you with guidance on what has to be done to stay within the law.

Thus the Lord Chief Justice sees it as the Institutions' collective responsibility to provide prescriptive guidance.

My view is that the six main Institutions, together with the HSE, should form and support a working party to take over the job started by SiD (Safety in Design), to consult widely with professional designers to ensure that the advice given is fundamentally right, and to draft formal Codes of Practice for design.

Andrew Allan, Allan Consulting Engineers allan@allan.

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