This week readers take on iffy construction output data, poorly worded legislation, lawyers who overlook partnering and the rationale for building energy-from-waste facilities

Remember these?

I read with interest Lindy Patterson’s article in Building (21 April, page 43) regarding dispute resolution on contracts. It states, in reference to escalation dispute procedures, that “building contracts have not embraced such a procedure” but overlooks the ACA suite of partnering contracts, PPC2000 and TPC2005. These contracts have in-built problem solving and dispute resolution procedures. Those using PPC/TPC can point to many examples of using the structured resolution process in resolving disputes and in most cases, negate the need to adjudicate. Both partnering contracts provide for the formation of decision makers with express responsibilities in dealing with disputes. ADR is also referenced as part of the dispute resolution process. These contracts recognise the need for an independent party in the shape of a “partnering adviser” (PA). Part of the role of the PA is to assist in dispute resolution and provide an independent role. So rather than amend existing contracts, do the simple thing and use the published partnering contracts in the first place.

Neil Thody, managing director, Cameron Consulting

Foreign appeal

Regarding your article on Dragados drafting in foreign experts on Crossrail (6 May, page 11), the Tyne Tunnel is being completed by Bouygues TP so I would guess they are using some experts from abroad. Working in Hong Kong, I see lots of British tunnelling experts but they are currently choosing to work abroad. Crossrail projects will have to be very attractive for the overseas workers to come back to the UK especially as the market is generally depressed and taxes are high.

Huw Riley, via

Waste of time

Regarding your story about Lend Lease’s £727m waste facility deal (27 April, does this mean the local authorities are committed to producing “waste” for the plant for the next 25 years? They should be looking more at ways to turn off the tap rather than just ways of disposing stuff. I would also be interested to know what will happen to the tons of toxic ash that will be produced.

Jim Whelan, via

It doesn’t add up

Brian Green’s blog post (3 May, was great. And I have to confess I’ve never understood the way experts go about producing data for our industry anymore. Whenever they say output has plunged, we feel the opposite, as you say when comparing January 2011 and December 2011.

Dereck Mynott, via

Botched job

Though it is hard to credit, the government (together with its predecessor) has indeed botched the task of outlawing so-called Tolent clauses, as you reported (21 April, page 12). Despite clear warnings from Nick Raynsford and others, the wording in the new Construction Act enacted by parliament simply does not achieve what was intended.

The only hope is that if the issue comes before them, the courts will find sufficient ambiguity in the drafting to take the legislature’s intentions into account. Such an outcome is by no means certain. Even if it does materialise, the fact that it will have been left to the courts to remedy the position through costly litigation does not reflect well on those charged with getting this act onto the statute books in a sensible form.

Henry Sherman, CMS Cameron McKenna