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Price isn't right


I take issue with Andrew Mylius's article 'A design for strife' (NCE 8 June) and its conclusion that design and build (D&B) cannot deliver.

It has taken the industry 30 years to realise that forcing organisations to compete on price alone doesn't work.

Enlightened clients, such as the Highways Agency, BAA and Channel Tunnel Rail Link have led the way, using improved contract forms, such as target cost and New Engineering Contracts, combined with Early Contractor Involvement, to create a powerful project management system that can deliver.

This procurement route relies heavily on D&B. The ability to manage designers is not the key. The crucial objective is to enable those who will build the job to engage early with those designing it. This requires good design management, a co-located team, competent individuals, shared risk, a desire to work together and use of the supply chain.

It is simplistic to suggest that the contractor's boot-stomping is behind a failing project: the client should be held to account for using outmoded forms of procurement. I wouldn't regard the FA as enlightened and now its been caught in a trap of its own making.

Simon O'Hana, design manager, Major Civil Engineering Division Costain, Simon.OHana@costain. com

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