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Getting the priorities right

Rather than work directly with Government to formulate a radically revised way to provide the nation's project objectives, ICE's State of the Nation proposes a further layer of oversight.

There is a reluctance to strike out the cheap-to-study-but-too-expensive-to-build "pipe dream" projects. As a result, they hang around, unfairly clouding the chances of more likely projects.

Unrealistic final cost estimates are the major barrier to unreserved political commitment to speed a project from concept to achievement. A project under construction can hardly be cancelled for a cost over-run, but that causes cancellation of equally worthy projects.

Bills of Quantity have largely gone and few are trained to build up civil engineering costs from basic plant, labour and outputs. ICE must radically address its membership's basic lack of basic cost estimating skills.

ROBERT FORD (F), Sidcup, kernow.fords@ntlworld.com

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