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Re: Engineers and specifications

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In my office, we say specs are "saved for the litigation phase of the
Poor specs are probably why some jobs need a litigation phase.

Ray Peabody, my sometime mentor, loved repeating his definition of engineering and I remember it from nearly 40 years back--

Engineering is the process of communicating instructions, based on physical and mathematical principles, so artisans may take materials found in nature and give them a specific usefulness.'

When I was a sprog, I didn't understand that he really meant the engineering process, not a job assignment. Engineers communicate with drawings and specifications and bid packages. I may be the industrial world's leading FEA expert, but if results and conclusions don't get communicated to a welder or a machinist, they're not worth a sparrow fart. Good communication can remedy poor engineering, but no way can good engineering can fix bad communication.

It took me a while to learn about specifications, but the bottom line is that every job has requirements that can't be shown on a drawing--they go in a specification, where I say, clearly, what I mean and what I expect to see. I don't use a spec to cover my ass, I use it because I have to say what I mean and not assume that a welder or purchasing agent can read my mind.

Of course, if you're comfortable leaving those requirements up to someone's charitable intent, you don't need to trouble yourself writing proper specifications. Simple as that.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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