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Sustaining pressure on suppliers

I was astounded by the indifference to the client's ideals represented in your article on the Earth Centre. The article demonstrates that civil engineers do not have the vision to lead the way in sustainable development.

In particular, how could Peter Byrne advocate the use of imported non- renewable Canadian Douglas Fir in the place of British firs. I cannot understand why the supplier could not provide materials that complied with the specification. The remaining 60% could then be utilised for the manufacture of paper, chipboard, plywood, MDF or even Ikea furniture. We have given suppliers of naturally resourced materials too much of a free hand in the supply of their products especially in the timber and aggregate sectors. The suppliers should embrace the concepts of quality assurance to control the end product at source to maximise the use of their resources. This would lead to minimised wastage and a corresponding reduction in costs.

The client's ideals may have been too high and was probably a reflection on their inexperience within the construction industry. However, we should be doing more and we can start by forcing changes in the working practices of suppliers to ensure the economic viability of sustainable resources.

In short, operating electric rather than diesel powered concrete mixers is not enough.

Mike Hughes (G), mwhughes@wsatkins.co.uk

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