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Mobile phones

The Question

One in four people in Britain now own a mobile phone. What would happen to UK civil engineering if these vital communication tools were banned?

Chaos would rain down on us all: engineers would be forced to return to effective forward planning which mobile phones have made us relax.

Angus MacGregor, geotechnical engineer, Glasgow.

Probably little or no impact. There are benefits in relation to improved communications between site and office staff, but I can't see that any disbenefit could not be overcome. Graduates/ technicians would understand instruction more fully and perhaps get more work done due to not having a mobile phone stuck to their ear all the time.

Paul Johnston, associate director, Manchester

Life would go on! We would go back to buying phone cards, queuing up to use public facilities, and there would be greater use of fax machines on site. Convenience would be the only loss to UK civil engineering - a delayed response opposed to an instantaneous one. Would that be so much of a problem ?

Chris Thomas, business development manager, Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Losing their mobile phones would not stop civil engineers redirecting the great sources of power in nature in coming up with a better solution.

Alistair D Giffen, geotechnical engineer, Kenilworth

A bit more care would be taken to get things right first time. Things would not grind to a halt; they might just take a little longer.

Luc Koefman, wind farm civil engineer, St Albans

Mobile phones have significantly improved communication between desk-bound design engineers and on-site construction staff, particularly resident engineers responsible for several sites or elongated sites such as pipeline and highway contracts. Banning mobile phones would reduce the efficiency and competitiveness of UK civil engineering, but this might be regarded as a small price for society to pay as such a ban would surely result in less stress, less road accidents and more peaceful publictransport, pubs and restaurants!

Philip Bonner-Steel, capital planning engineer (retired), West Wales

We would all have to SHOUT a lot louder again. No, it would be a backward step, but then mobile phones are a relatively new phenomenon. I think it would have little effect, as radios could be used on site and the good old telephone can be in the RE's office (warm and dry!).

Peter Hookham, traffic engineer, Devon

Engineers, architects and the rest of the design team would have to do a lot better job and if faxes werebanned as well

the standard of design and construction would have to riseovernight.

Christopher Shipman, structural project engineer, Kent

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