'I support the proposal and I am sure it will be of immense help to the profession.' So says Terminal 5 project director Norman Haste, once John Laing supremo of the Second Severn Crossing and Sizewell B. He adds: 'In civil and structural engineering, learning about potential failure scenarios or past failures is often haphazard.
'I learned about vortex shedding around piles in fast tidal currents the hard way on site, when a temporary platform in the Thames failed. Later I discovered there had been other similar failures, but there was little documentary evidence available.'
Haste believes the current reluctance to report such problems stems from concerns about legal liability - hence there would need to be very clear rules about the confidentiality of any information obtained by a reporting scheme. But the proposed operating structure meets with his approval.
'It should be able to manage the dissemination of information in a controlled way such that the profession and the public interest is both properly served and protected,' Haste concludes.