Congratulations to Trevor Hursthouse for defending the indefensible – that is, retentions – (7 October) but I suppose as chairman of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group he had no alternative.

I applaud the idea of a defect-free policy but I also live in the real world – is there any contract that has achieved this? The world we live in is one where our priority must be to give clients a first-class service. If and when defects are encountered they must be completed without delay. Make the main contractor or management contractor responsible for completing the works; hold their payment until the items are completed and in no way let them off the hook.

No doubt they will hold payment all the way down the line, but it will be the only way to give the clients any sort of confidence in a quality job. With our current system, there is no culture of urgency in completing defects, as many project managers or those appointed to get the works done feel it is a dead-end job.