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Reviews necessary

NCE received an avalanche of letters following its extensive coverage of the Heathrow Express trial last week.

In supporting Sir Alan Muir Wood in his ventilation of the absurdity of divorcing design from construction (his letter in NCE 18 February) let me suggest another lesson to be learned from the HEX collapse.

New forms of contract inevitably have built in dangers. Even experienced engineers find themselves in difficulty when they have unfamiliar or ill- defined responsibilities, or lack authority.

On some major projects, independent panels of senior people are set up to review design and construction. The introduction of novel forms of contract would seem to increase the need for such reviews.

John Bartlett (F), 6 Cottenham Park Road, London, SW20 0RZ

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