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RE: Engineers and specifications

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Believe me, if a project needed a litigation phase, it sure wasn't because
of the
Specs...!

Frankly, its much more a function of the "type" of people you do business
with
Than what's in a spec book...just my experience.


We've done 60 story buildings using a general notes sheet and had no
problems
And also had relatively small projects with a manual and full book specs
that were mired in litigation (not directly structural related, btw...)





David L. Fisher SE PE
Fisher + partners
372 West Ontario
Chicago 60610
 
312.573.1701
312.573.1726 fax
 
312.622.0409 mobile
 
www.fpse.com
-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com] 
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 10:40 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: Engineers and specifications


> In my office, we say specs are "saved for the litigation phase of the
> project..."
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)skypoint.com   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 
1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw/


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