A revolutionary system for eliciting confidential information on potential structural disasters, such as last year’s collapse at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, has been set up this month.

However, the system, known as Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety, or CROSS for short, is not intended to be a mechanism for whistleblowers.

Instead, the aim of CROSS is “to identify concerns about structural safety so that engineers can avoid or reduce future problems”.

By ensuring that reports are confidential and depersonalised, engineers are encouraged to overcome their natural reluctance to publicise potential failures in design or construction.

Alastair Soane, the director of CROSS, said: “If anything that we think is critical to the safety of a building comes to us, we will forward it to the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.”