The prospect of design work being outsourced overseas ("Good morning Vietnam", 5 September, pages 38-41) raises a number of concerns.
Does it not seem rather short-sighted to send work oversees – thereby aggravating the skills shortage and reducing the already diminished pool of experienced practitioners? Have clients and designers tempted to outsource in this way fully considered the implications of meeting the requirements of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations, not to mention other UK legislation?

Clients must satisfy themselves that the designers or other contractors they employ are competent, adequately resourced and so on. Meanwhile designers must ensure that any designs they prepare avoid risks to those who build and maintain them, as well as to users of the completed building. And designers must also make clients aware of what their duties are.

Unfortunately, about two-thirds of designers recently interviewed by the Health and Safety Executive were deemed to have little or no knowledge of their CDM duties or related health and safety legislation. Maybe it is only the one-third of designers deemed adequately knowledgable who are outsourcing their work; maybe they have management procedures in place to comply with CDM; maybe the underwriters of their professional indemnity insurance are happy to go along; maybe they have assessed the risks. Maybe.

But if work is being outsourced to "low-cost overseas operators" (in other words to save money) why do designers not fully advise clients of their CDM duties and in so doing ensure that they allow enough time for design, planning, preparation and construction work; that only competent and adequately resourced practitioners are appointed; and thereby command adequate fees.