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RE:codifying engineering judgement, not possible

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To me, the real reason that we have to rely on judgement is that is
basically becomes a vitually impossible task to codify ever thing.  If
there is no room for engineering judgement, then you are basically to the
point where is the code does't say anything about it, then that means it
is not permitted...period.

Not to mention the fact that if everything was codified, the code
documents would be incredibly HUGE and it would then become virtually
impossible for anyone to know all that is in the code to keep their design
within what is permitted by the code.  Basically, you would have a
building code that would make the U.S. tax code look like light reading
for a toddler, which I think is largely the point made by the quote that
Randy offered.

Thus, we will just have to live with some engineering judgement involved
in the process even if not all engineers have GOOD judgement.

HTH,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Thu, 15 Aug 2002, Randy Vogelgesang wrote:

> --- "Haan, Scott M." <HaanSM(--nospam--at)ci.anchorage.ak.us>
> wrote:
> > Forrest:
> > 
> > Some people have better judgement than others.  They
> > should add a code
> > provision to quantify which engineers are capable of
> > using good judgement.
> > It has been my experience that some engineers
> > frequently use bad judgement
> > while some sometimes use bad judgement while others
> > normally use good
> > judgement. Codifying something is a way of
> > guaranteeing there is a uniform
> > playing field. Normally codifying something ensures
> > people using good
> > judgement don't have the rug pulled out from under
> > them by people using bad
> > judgement.  Sometimes however the codes allow people
> > using bad judgement to
> > override people using good judgement.
> 
> Scott, I agree with your points but there is a flip
> side to consider, that is, the reality of unintended
> consequences. This excerpt about codes is from the
> book by Phillp K. Howard called The Death of Common
> Sense.
> 
> "the goal is to cover every eventuality so that every
> the outcomes will be both certain and uniform for all.
>  The use of flexibility and judgment by either the
> complying person or the enforcer is to avoided at all
> costs.  The words of the rules will tell us exactly
> what to do and not to do, so that judgment will be
> precluded.  The well-intentioned benefits of this
> approach are to prevent mistakes and errors, and to
> ensure fairness and non-discrimination, by means of
> covering every thing in advance and by preventing use
> of discretion and possible abuse by officials."
> 
> That all sounds good but it does not work.  The book
> states that "the harder this method is pushed and the
> more zealously refined, the worse it works.  Fairness
> benefits backfire, the mistakes and errors aren't
> prevented, and the worthy purposes of the regulations
> likely to get lost in the shuffle."  Size and
> complexity overwhelms efforts at compliance of even
> the best of engineers (consider the average and the
> below average ones).  As code violations become
> unavoidable "enforcers, who supposedly have no
> discretion, have complete power".  
> 
> I have read a lot of what you have posted and I am
> sure that you are not one who would abuse this power,
> but unfortunately I have encountered some who have.
> 
> Sincerely,
> Randy Vogelgesang S.E.
> 
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