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RHD Operational Procedure – Bridge Management Wing
Bridge Design - Bridge Design Divisions
OP/BD/1.2 - Management of IT
Purpose and Scope :

This procedure covers the general management and procurement of IT in the Bridge Design Circle. Computer software if selected and managed properly can be an asset to a design team. If selected and managed badly can lead to catastrophic error and or poor inefficient design. The use of ad hoc spreadsheets can be very useful and effective but if not verified and validated can be the source of major error and may lead to the accusation of a negligent approach to design. The procedures do not deal with bespoke software, as there is believed to be sufficient design software on the market without the need to have programmes written specially for the Circle.
Definitions :

Software – computer programmes.

Bespoke software – Computer software specially written to meet of RHD Bridge Design Circle.

Spreadsheets Templates – a master spreadsheet with inbuilt cell calculations used in design process where no other check or verification is carried out.

Local hard drive – In relation to this procedure refers to the any hard drive on individual computers in the Circle.

The Network – is the RHD computer network.
Responsibility :

Additional Chief Engineer – Bridge Management Wing – approves or rejects the justification for new IT software for submission to the Chief Engineer.

Superintending Engineer – Bridge Design Circle – Has an overview role in determining the appropriate use of computer software in the Circle. In the case of proposed software procurement reviews in principle and in detail the justification and approve or reject for onward transmission to the Additional Chief Engineer Bridge Management Wing. Approves the use of Spreadsheet Templates for use in design.

Executive Engineer – Bridge Design Divisions – Ensures that the software in the Division is being used appropriately and efficiently for each design under his control. In the case of proposed procurement identifies, compares and justifies and during the procurement process verifies, validates and judges user friendliness of software proposals. Likewise with Spreadsheets Templates used by the Division he must ensure that they are justified, validated and verified, archived and secured.
Method :


Approval for the use of computer software by the Circle does not relieve the designer or the checker from the responsibility of ensuring that the software is appropriate for use in a particular design situation. Therefore the designer must clearly demonstrate that validity of using any software in his design. This validly check may be short on some of the regularly used software, but must be recorded that it has been carried out in the formal calculations for a design.

Computer software often produces clear and apparently accurate results and there can be a tendency to accept these results without question. First the input data must be meticulously checked both in quantity and units. It is essential that the user and checker reviews the end results by carrying out a “reality check” i.e. are the results as anticipated? Are the results reasonable with analysis carried out on other structures? It is essential that this reality check be carried out, as there have been many classic failures as a result of “believing” the computer printout.


Any Ad hoc Spreadsheet containing any manipulation or in-built calculation used in design should be considered as a template.

Only approved spreadsheets templates shall be used for bridge design. Unapproved spreadsheets may be used in the Circle for other purposes but strictly prohibited in the actual design of a structure.

Paragraph 6.1 shows the procedure to be adopted to authorise a spreadsheet. An approved spreadsheet must be in the form of a template with all cells except input cells locked and sheet(s) protected. Input cells must be clearly identifies. Any limitations on the spreadsheet use must be clearly identified. Each Template must clearly identify its name, version and last release date both on the screen and on all printout sheets.


The procurement for IT software differs from other procurements in RHD as there are many programmes on the market which may not be cost affective for RHD or worse inappropriate for designs being carried out by the Circle, public safety and security of the investment in a structure depend on the correctness of the design. In order to ensure that appropriate software is procured its use must be properly justified prior to procurement and during procurement process the software must be subject to rigorous validity and validation checks. In addition it must be simple to use with the avoidance of ambiguity in input and output. The additions to RHD procurement procedures are given in flowchart in paragraph 6.2.


All computer files must be stored on the Network. From time to time it may be necessary to temporarily bring files to the Local Drive for manipulation, in which case they must be transferred by cut and paste rather than copy and paste. (This prevents 2 people updating a file at the same time). At the close of work each day all files copied onto the Local drive must be Cut and Pasted onto the Network. No duplicate file shall be kept on the Local Drive. The need for this ruling is that the Network has a strict back-up procedure, Local Drives do not.(Never assume that you are the only person wishing to amend any file).

On completion of a design all files must be properly archived on the Network and at least 2 copy CDs made storing the files in a logical manner with a clear marking of Final Versions.
References :

Procedure Flowchart :





For duties associated with each grade of personnel see


Updated on : 1/12/2003