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RE: Offshore Design

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This is a very interesting issue. Traditionally in the Caribbean where I
work, major engineering design projects were done and still are by
American and British engineers. Most spend little or no time on the the
Island to learn about the Construction capability of the Contractors and
artisans and many are just incompetant low level staff put on a project
in a Caribbean island where the client knows no better. The results are
terrible in general, most of the projects are grossly overdesigned and
inappropriate unless joint venture arrangements with local firms exist.

Now that third world countries have developed engineering expertise to
an extent that there is now an export capability, the same issues arise
in reverse. Design is not just processing calculations and while I, as a
Caribbean Engineer will be be able to analyse a structure and run
Staadpro2000 and detail in accordance with UBC or ICBO2000 using Autocad
2000 , I certainly will need some familiarity with the local
construction industry if I am to create cost effective structures
anywhere in the world.

But while using cheap semi-competant skilled offshore labour from the
third world has its draw backs, it is far better than the Caribbean
experience of expensive incompetant semi-skilled first-world labour. I
must admit that corrupt politicians here in the Caribbean are largely
responsible for this.
The answer lies in the quality of the responsible local firm of
engineers. If a responsible firm in the United States subcontracts part
of the designs offshore, they must provide the conceptual design and the
engineering parameters and thereafter take responsibilty for the
drawings produced. If this is professionally done then the there should
be quality problem. The problem is socio-economic and it will not go
away.
Many engineers in India ride bicycles to work and earn a salary  that is
below the minimum wage in Europe and theU.S and are far more hardworking
and knowedgeable than their first-world peers.

When the global village becomes a reality and we get rid of "this is not
American" or it is, we will grow to be engineers enriching the live of
others by our skills and ablilities to the benefit of the world.Greed is
our enemy.

Mark Francois Engineer



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