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Working to rules

Letters

What a pitiful state our profession is in when two of the leading and most respected firms of consulting engineers can apparently only defend the design of a high profile structure on the basis that it 'complies with all current design codes and standards' (NCE last week).

Before the inevitable calls for more stringent codes of practice, surely it is time for a reappraisal of such codes in our profession.

These ever more prescriptive documents, although beloved by the legal profession, in reality stifle true innovation by turning engineers into technicians whose valued skill is not flair, engineering judgement, practical experience, intuition or expertise but rather a knowledge of the minutiae of the latest code.

Is it not time to cut out these parasitic cancers from our profession and replace them with a single code along the lines of 'engineering structures should be designed by suitably qualified professional engineers with due regard to current design practices, should serve the client's purpose and protect public safety'?

Leave the rest to nonstatutory textbooks and technical journals.

JA Sladen (M), SP Associates, 143-145 Worcester Road, Hagley, West Midlands, DY9 0NW

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