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Retrograde step for design by Treasury

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I read with interest your editorial and article about the 'Treasury's design and build fixation' (aj 13.5.99).

I agree with riba president David Rock that the decision by the Treasury is misguided and very worrying, with the potential to further undermine construction consultancy. uk architects, designers and engineers have a worldwide reputation which has in the past contributed to much of our economy.

It is true that the construction industry needed a shake-up, that in the past it has not performed as well as it might, and that design-and- build has been seen as one way of ensuring certainty on project costs and delivery times. However this 'prime contract' in its simplest form has a missing ingredient - design quality which must surely form part of the equation.

The architectural profession has been reinventing itself and has begun once again to demonstrate the value of design. Sir John Egan's report has shown that within the supply chain there is room for consultant design expertise and quality thinking. For the Treasury, which has responsibility for such an important and significant volume of construction, to ignore this potential is a retrograde step.

Andrew Lett

London SW11

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