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Out of site, out of mind


If the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) wants designers to start going to sites and getting mud on their boots (NCE 4/11 August), it needs to understand why this is not happening at present. It is not because architects and engineers are lazy or stupid - it is because on design and build contracts, contractors generally appoint them on a 'design only' basis, with site visits only required when a problem occurs.

Unless the design team is appointed by the client on a conventional contract, site visits to check the quality of work in progress are not paid for and generally not welcomed.

Regular site visits by the architect and engineer to check construction of a building bring major benefits in quality and the presence of independent 'eyes' on site can help safety too.

Instead of endlessly complaining about designers and dreaming up new ways to complicate and obstruct our work, it would help if the HSE started saying a few positive things about us and putting pressure on contractors to let us back on to building sites.

AN Beal, 10 King George Avenue, Chapel Allerton, Leeds LS7 4LH

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