Programming roadworks is a contractor's nightmare

Make contractors pay for delayed roadworks (SA, July 15). Mr Woodham's letter is, unfortunately, another un-informed letter showing a total lack of knowledge of construction.

There are two main areas of contentious roadworks in Swindon, Mead Way and Moonrakers, of which the latter, undoubtedly, has the greatest impact on drivers.

Contractors nowadays employ very few direct operatives. Specialist subcontractors are used to carry out works as and when required by the main contractor's programme. Principal amongst those are ground works subcontractors.

The biggest complications are caused by the services, existing and new installation. These consist of, but not limited to, water, gas, electric, data, including telephones, cable tv, street lighting, traffic signals together with drainage, foul and surface water.

To maintain traffic flow, works on these have to be carried out in a very piecemeal way. This involves section by section work utilising multiple utilities sub contractors who do not appear at the drop of a hat.

It can and usually does become a programming nightmare to get utility companies on site, repeatedly, on time, and interface with other utility companies, to suit the main contractor's programme.

The use of penalty clauses is arcane. For as long as I can remember, and I am in my mid 70's, alleged breaches to a contract have been dealt with by liquidated and ascertained damages - LADs clauses.

Henry Smith


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Law should apply equally - even to VIPS

In a democracy those who seek and hold public office need to be trusted.

The last few days and weeks in Wiltshire and Swindon have tested voters trust almost to destruction and I find myself agreeing with former police and crime commissioner Angus Macpherson when on BBC Points West, he said “I think the reputational damage is massive”.

Thanks to diligent journalism, we discover that the disgraced Conservative police and crime commissioner candidate had a second imprisonable conviction.

It is as yet unclear whether top Tories knew about it, and the staggering bill to rerun this election stands at around one and a half million pounds.

I believe it is a bill that should be met by those who created the need for a new election rather than the taxpayer.

Then we had a Prime Minister saying that he and the Chancellor are part of a pilot scheme that means unlike the rest of us, they do not have to self-isolate when the NHS pinged them after the Health Secretary tested positive for Covid.

Within three hours, they declared they were no longer in this VIP "private scheme".

The law is the law. Justice requires it to apply equally. Mercy suggests tolerance should be given to the weakest in society and those who transgress through ignorance, not those who willingly, deliberately and intentionally violate the law.

The highest standards are expected and harshest penalties reserved for those who should know better when they break the law, or expect special treatment beyond that available to the rest of us.

Dr Brian Mathew

Lib Dem Candidate for Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner

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