I am sure your readers know that the USA's International Building Code is drafted by coal-face officials and the industry, and then adopted by municipalities (occasionally with a few changes to suit local conditions).

The federal government is on the periphery.

There are those who say that as a result the code is better adapted to industry practices than its UK equivalents. Thanks to aggressive marketing, it also looks set to become the code of choice for the third world.

If it were not that we are committed to Europe, we might have been well advised to join in. However, as John Tebbit noted a couple of weeks ago, work on parts of the European Union's "international" equivalent has now started at the European Committee of Standardization (CEN) in Brussels, and will in a few years take us over.

Ian Macpherson, Guildford