Povl Ahm, former chairman of Ove Arup & Partners, believes it would be 'silly' not to use a confidential reporting scheme if one is available. 'I have no doubt that information of great value to the profession isn't being passed on,' he says.
'If there is an issue of risk to the public an engineer's responsibility is quite clear - he should disclose what he knows.'
Ahm is particularly concerned about the knowledge that might be accumulated by those employed to carry out independent design checks on major structures. 'I remember an occasion when we were carrying out such a check and we discovered that in one element the actual factor of safety was little more than 1.0.
'It turned out that the designer involved had been used to elastic theory and had misunderstood the new ultimate state code - which I am sure many other designers had problems with. If a CROSS scheme had existed then, I would have been able to disclose the information for the benefit of the profession.'