Mmmm. This is the problem with there being so few, but very large, consultancies. It becomes almost inevitable that such conflicts arise, and it is trite to say that there are safeguards in place. If an issue were to arise how could the main board deal with it in an even handed manner; more pointedly would they?
Whatever happened to that quaint old system of the designer being independent of the constructor and the former supervising the latter in terms of quality? Equally the constructor could challenge the designer. Just a thought.
Comment on: Design | Perfecting the steel/concrete interface
Doubtless, software design of fixings provides a fast approach with much flexibility and hopefully a good result. However I am still puzzled by the way we have produced complicated design codes that make simple design almost impossible without extensive software use and a degree of specialisation beyond what I consider healthy. The result is, perversely, design by numbers with less attention paid to engineering feel and the ability to design across a range of materials and situations. My early design experience was gained just before desktop PCs became available, so I had to understand the codes and the maths of the calculations. This meant I got a good mathematical feel for what was happening, though I realise that this was often empirical rather than deeply theoretical. Now I find that new designers often feel unable to design anything without having undergone some software training and then can only give an answer by using that software; the ability to do a preliminary hand calc has dissapeared. I wonder how we can maintain that section of our design workforce who have a good feel for design rather than just accepting the anodyne results from an abstract piece of software? There isn’t time often to coach this in the design office due to constraints of programme and billability.
Why not just put the freight on the Railway? Novel?
Comment on: Owen Pugh boss blames 'bullies' for collapse
Mr Dickson is absolutely correct. This industry is riven with bullies, and not just main contractors but clients too, often advised or egged on by professional project management firms. It is a macho industry where ethics and moral standards are stretched beyond limits; some players are immoral. It would be a lazy response to say “well that’s the way it is, so just get on and deal with it” but that is in itself immoral. There is real human suffering from stress to destitution caused by such tactics as well as poor delivery of some engineering projects.