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The Editor welcomes letters at 151 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4QX fax: (0171) 505 6667 e-mail: nceedit@construct.emap.co.uk and reserves the right to condense.

Fifth amendment

When the ICE 6th Edition contract was published in 1991 I recall that the Conditions of Contract Standing Joint Committee stated it would not be supporting any future developments necessary to keep the 5th Edition up to date. The intention was presumably to encourage users to switch to the new edition.

Contrary to its statement, it published a separate ICE 5th Edition version of the amendments to introduce the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 1994. Now a separate 5th Edition version is to be published for the revised clause 69 to cover fluctuations in the level of Landfill Tax. So what is happening, does the CCSJC now intend to support continued use of the 5th Edition?

J Kenneth Thomas (M), 33B Coronation Drive, Crosby, Liverpool, L23 3BW.

Action plan

Peter Guthries article Sustaining the challenge (NCE 29 January) identifies correctly the contradiction in the much over-used phrase sustainable development and the danger of using words rather than actions. It is people who can make the difference, and it is incumbent on engineers to be involved at all levels of decision-making to achieve not sustainable development, but development for the benefit of mankind which includes the least damage to the environment in which we exist.

Any development, be it dwelling, dam or water works, is at a cost. This true cost reflects the total economic cost to the nation (or planet) and includes damage to the environment and impacts on society. To continue Peter Guthries example, these are additional to the costs of winning and transporting aggregates and the associated reduction in natural (resource) capital. Therefore, a full cost benefit analysis must be carried out for any proposed project to ensure that we are making decisions for the future based on the best information available. This will require the engineer to work closely (and effectively) with other disciplines including economists and planners if we are really serious in our actions.

It is interesting to note that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (ICEs neighbours) recently commissioned a study on comprehensive project evaluation which includes consideration of the criteria for the determination of the true value of a development project and its contribution towards sustainability.

John Ash, Risk & Policy Analysis, Farthing Green House, 1 Beccles Road, Loddon, Norfolk NR14 6LT.

Special brew

Sorry to disappoint B Wadge (NCE 12 February), but brewing beer to commemorate the completion of a civil engineering structure does little to enhance the status of engineers. I still have two bottles of beer brewed specially for the opening of Humber Bridge in 1981 and as far as I am aware, our status did not rise as a result.

Perhaps beer is the wrong drink to choose, as I also have two bottles which were brewed to commemorate the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who were married in that same year.

K F Simm, 106310.1336@compuserve. com

Landmark

judgment

Between 1501 and 1504 the figure of David was hewn from a single block of marble by Michelangelo armed only with a hammer and chisel. Five centuries on and aided by some very fancy technology and equipment, a man said to be a sculptor produces this monstrous Angel.

Christopher Pyne (M), 32 Woodlands, Pound Hill, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 3DL.

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