In the light of the recent correspondence on training, particularly John Smith's last letter (24 January, page 34), may I draw your attention to a parallel problem facing site managers?
A high proportion of those managing building contracts do not have enough technical knowledge to oversee the work of specialist subcontractors. Many would struggle if they were asked to demonstrate any knowledge of British Standards – documents most frequently opened only after a problem occurs and then mainly to allocate blame. This is not the fault of the managers. The industry has been talking about better quality control but contractors' training budgets have been spent on safety, commercial and IT courses: most argue that there is no need to spend money on technical training.

Specialist subcontractors' work can be influenced by site managers who have sufficient knowledge of their trade. Part of the problem the industry is facing is that few of today's site managers have a trade background. Faced with the increasing likelihood that they will be dealing with poorly trained operatives, some contractors are now realising that their staff need more technical training.