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Offshore Design - Part 1 of 3

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[Part 1 of 3 -- This is a lengthy response, but I got really mad and want to
post all of it, so I have to break it up to meet the 10k limit.  My
apologies to the List.]


Dear Mr. Masroor:

I've previously avoided responding to this discussion because, frankly, many
of the arguments proffered appeared too silly to warrant a reply.  However,
your comments are so ludicrous, false and insulting that my blood is
boiling.  I probably won't be able to restrain myself, but I'll try.

Regarding your comment about Americans being better at food business because
Pakistan's most popular restaurant is Pizza Hut, and because Pepsi comprises
80% of the Pakistani cola market, I respond that although your taste in food
appears questionable, it's at least discriminating.  I'm surprised you
didn't mention Kentucky Fried Chicken too, since all three of these
companies are owned by just one American corporation, Frito-Lay, which is
headquartered North of Dallas, Texas.  We consider these convenience
products as "junk food".  While it may be good "business", it is very poor
"food" (and neither are among my personal favorites).  Similarly, I wouldn't
want to use either offshore or domestic engineering, if it resulted in good
business but poor engineering.  BTW, at the risk of reinforcing a
stereotype, while we often joke here about French and Italian designs, I've
got to award them the Cordon Bleu ribbon for their food -- it's universally
better than most of ours.  I think we're too rushed to care enough about
food here.

Regarding your comment about most product and service companies
out-sourcing, so what?  Engineering is not a product like overhyped athletic
shoes, nor is it a common service company like janitorial services or
secretarial pools.  It is a "profession", like law and medicine.  That's why
the practice of engineering is regulated (at least in this country) -- to
ensure that certain minimum standards of practice are followed by only
competent and experienced individuals.  Our first obligation is not to the
client or owner, nor is it to merely provide the cheapest design that meets
the minimum requirements of the applicable building codes.  Our first
obligation is "to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public".
Owners and clients usually are unqualified to do this themselves, nor can
they be entrusted to do so if it will cost them money.  That's precisely why
engineering is a regulated profession, the services of which owners are
required to obtain.  Professional engineers are expected and required to
resist all obstacles, including politics, internal office pressure from
superiors, and unreasonable demands of clients, which may compromise the
engineer's obligation to protect the public.  Sometimes this means telling
the client "No", even if that results in the loss of the client.  I've had
to do this, more than once, and fully expect to again.  Worse yet, I've
personally observed the results of supposedly competent, licensed engineers,
who issue inadequate designs produced with poor coordination, no quality
assurance, no review, and wholly inadequate supervision.  The results have
been catastrophic collapse resulting in needless fatality.  I've had no
qualms about testifying against these so-called engineers, not because they
made a mistake (anyone can), but because they arrogantly and negligently
failed to exercise their professional obligations.

Regrettably, to the detriment and decline of the profession, too many
engineers are loath to fulfill this professional obligation; they'd rather
avoid the conflict.  While this too often happens domestically by otherwise
qualified, competent engineers, IM(not so)HO it is much more likely and
common on projects for which the engineering is outsourced, whether it be to
another domestic firm or to an offshore firm.  There is much more to proper,
safe, professional engineering than simply analyzing an FEM model with the
correct loads.  And my point is, that just because you know how to perform a
theoretical, three-dimensional, nonlinear, dynamic analysis on some
standardized FEM program, that doesn't make you a qualified engineer.


[...continued under separate posting as Part 2 of 3...]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Syed A Masroor <smasroor(--nospam--at)gem.net.pk>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Offshore Design


Most product and service companies out-source.  And it has always been
considered correct as long as the company putting its brand on the end
product ensures quality.  What's so different about engineering?

As I see it, there are two issues here.  One is about money being taken out
of US citizens and given to outsiders.  The answer to this one is simple:
Americans are better than us at food and entertainment business.  So we eat
at their Pizza Huts (most popular restaurant here), drink Pepsi (80% of our
cola market), and watch Titanic (braking all viewership records).  We are
better at engineering design and writing software, so the Americans buy it
from us.

The other issue is direct responsibility:
My last boss used to sign drawings after first glance through them.  He was
the only licensed engineer in the company, and his only other
contribution was dealing with the clients.  But, this was supposed to be his
direct supervision, since we were working in his office instead of
remote and getting salaries instead of payment on job basis.


S A Masroor
Karachi, Pakistan



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