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Economy often dictates the role engineers play

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In response to Brian Hipkin (AJ 14.3.02), I write as a director of a small, but nicely formed, civil and structural engineering practice which finds itself doing more to assist the planning stages of regeneration projects than we ever used to do. I think that this shows that as with everything in life, things move on and emphasis changes. The important point out of this current discussion is the positive attitude towards this change and I applaud Mr Hipkin's idea for cross-disciplinary understanding, which is one of the reasons that I regularly read the AJ. It is an interesting observation that he has made this point in an architectural publication rather than an engineering one. I would welcome this letter appearing in the New Civil Engineer and Structures magazines.

Having agreed with Brian Hipkin in some matters, I cannot agree that we engineers are willingly vacating our design obligations. More often, economy dictates for the majority of schemes that expediency is the order of the day, and 'prepacked' systems are wheeled out, leaving companies such as mine with little space to flaunt our flair and talent. One has to note that the examples selected by Brian Hipkin are landmark projects and not the run-of-the-mill blocks of flats, sheds or offices.

Returning to the positive aspects of this debate, let's continue to call for more partnerships in the design meetings, and to look forward to better designs and better buildings for our clients.

Bob De'Ath, Tully De'Ath, East Sussex, e-mail: rcd@tullydeath.

com, Web: www. tullydeath. com

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