The problem of the failed lock gate

Published: Wednesday, 05 January 2022

I WAS surprised to see the state of the rotten beam left by contractor when replacing a Sawley No 2 Lock gate, writes George Lee.

Your photograph clearly shows it is not in a condition to secure a lock gate to and should have been replaced, so it would be thought the contractor should be made to undertake the work to do so at no cost to the trust as recompense, but this depends.

BrokenSawley2Likely cause of what happened

Having been involved with contractors as part of my official duties I can however see the likely cause of what happened.  The contractor would have plans with a definite job marked out to replace gates, but not the structure holding a gate that it can be seen is rotten, (please include photograph) so it would have been of no concern as it obviously was not on the plans of the contract.  And the plans are all-important and must be adhered to at all costs.

This problem occurs quite often, especially if the work is not the usual that the contractor undertakes—the man in charge reports a problem such as the one of the rotten beam, but then the plans are scrutinised and found it not to be included and so is ignored.

No recompense

If this is the case, the trust has no recompense as the plans were possibly drawn up by someone who has either little or no knowledge of the working of locks being instructed only of gate replacement and nothing else.

So it comes down to—as your contributor explained—these people not really knowing what they were doing having had little or even no experience, as against those employed people, that were dispensed with, who knew exactly what they were doing and certainly would not affix a lock gate to a structure that would obviously fail—as it did.

[Our photograph shows some of the equipment on site at Sawley No 2 Lock that resulted in the alarming cost of £1.6 millions to replace the gates on the lock—Editor.]