If Sir Alan Muir Wood (NCE 19/26 August) wishes to continue to argue that the New Engineering Contract is unsuitable for tunnelling he needs to find better reasons.
First, it is incorrect to state that the NEC subdivides management from design. All design information flows through the project manager, including the processes or methods used to achieve the 'works'.
Indeed Clause 31.2 requires the contractor to include a method statement for each operation on his programme. There is no hiatus here
between product design and process design as Sir Alan alleges.
Secondly, it is simply not true that the NEC requires the design function to be complete at tender and there is nothing in the contract which supports such an assertion. On the contrary Clause 14.3 permits changes, including additions, to the design and Clause 21 allows for design by the contractor during the course of the contract.
The fact is that Sir Alan has seriously misinterpreted the contract.
Professor JG Perry (F), School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT