Under the ICE conditions the engineer has a duty to provide the contractor with the drawings and further instructions needed to carry out the works. This is additional to the tender drawings issued which do not need to show every detail. The engineer must therefore watch construction progress to ensure any further drawings the contractor needs are supplied to him in good time. These may include drawings from plant suppliers of the foundations required for their plant and so on. If the engineer does not supply such drawings in time, the construction could be delayed, causing the contractor to claim for delay to part or whole of the job and any extra cost arising, which will have to be met.
If the design of the works (or part of them) has not been undertaken by the engineer for the construction but by some other firm, the engineer will have to ensure they produce any further drawings and information required in good time. The engineer then has less control over the situation, with a greater chance of delays and errors arising. Time must be allowed for the engineer’s checking and possible amendment of designs submitted by others. A prudent engineer will ensure that all such information is in his hands as soon as the construction contract has been let.
The engineer may require the contractor to supply drawings and details for his temporary works, such as formwork, including design calculations for the same. These must be checked and consented to by the engineer to ensure they are suitable and not detrimental to the permanent works. Time must be allowed for this process including time for any possible amendments.
Designs will also have to be checked against safety requirements of the Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations (see Sections 10.2 and 10.3).
On some large jobs or those overseas, there has been a practice to divorce construction from design. The employer uses one firm to produce design drawings and specifications, on receipt of which the employer pays the designer off.
The employer then uses the drawings and specifications to get tenders for construction, and engages another firm to supervise the work of the construction contractor. This approach can be very unsatisfactory because, if constructional difficulties are encountered or variations prove necessary, the measures taken may not be in line with design assumptions made by the designer. The firm supervising construction will have no rights to contact the designer, and the designer has no obligation to provide any further information.
For some types of structures, such as dams or earthworks, where the safety and durability of the structure is highly dependent upon the nature of the foundations and materials used in the construction, a responsible engineer or firm of consultants would not be prepared to undertake the design without also having rights to supervise construction.