We would like to respond to your leader in the 14 March issue. Although we are aware of the recent court ruling in respect to the Sahib Foods fire in 1994, it would be wrong to assume that the specification of combustible composite panels will automatically create a problem for the building designer.

The significant fire losses relate primarily to fires in the food processing industry and most of these relate to hot processes. Poor levels of fire-safety management have been identified as a significant factor in many of these high-loss fires.

The Loss Prevention Certification Board has for many years run a certification system to assess the fire performance of combustible panels and it has been shown that it is possible to get acceptable fire performance from combustible cored panels as well as composite panels using non-combustible cores. The UK insurance industry fully supports our schemes, and architects specifying composite panels listed in our LPCB List of Approved Fire and Security Products and Services will have demonstrated their ability to select products with adequate performance in fire.

Philip Field, technical director, LPCB, Watford.

Read the instructions Tony Bingham's article "Never trust a copper" (21 March, page 59) raises the issue of low water draw-off, which we feel deserves comment.

Many thousands of copper pipework installations are made each year, including those in properties that will use water sporadically (show homes, for instance), and there are very few problems associated with low water draw-off.

The British Standard BS 6700 provides guidance and recommendations on the installation and commissioning of domestic water services. If these practices are followed, problems associated with stagnant water can be avoided.