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Pole fault

Simon Pole's assertion that 'Building sites are dangerous places, regardless of design' (NCE 18 July) must be challenged.

The two people who have the most fundamental influence on safety are the client's advisor and the designer. I refer specifically to people, not the organisation that employs them.

Correct application of the CDM regulations will produce a concept and design that does not create unnecessary hazards for the construction team and members of the public.

Contractors have to manage the risks presented to them by the designers and clients.

Everything that the designer and client can do to reduce risk will assist the contractor and lead to improvements in the construction and maintenance environment. Benefits to the commercial risk and programme risk will then follow.

The question is not one of contractors wanting more input from designers. All participants in a construction project possess a wealth of experience and expertise. It is incumbent upon the professionals within the team to manage the project such that the best is drawn from all involved, and risk is managed by those best equipped to deal with it.

Although it is not a requirement for designers to have site experience, those designers that have built their designs, whether as a contractor or site-based employer's representative, will surely have learnt from the experience. Projects will benefit from early involvement of those with experience of the practical side of construction.

It is imperative that we get away from the idea that the contractor alone is responsible for site safety.

Jim Richings (M), 16 Tanfield Close, Cheshunt, Herts EN7 6BH

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