Michael West is a Chartered Engineer and facilitator for Engineering Education Australia. He specialises in Construction Engineering and Design Process.
Below Michael highlights five key elements which can assist design in engineering projects.
The outcome of little planning can be having to manage the design after the fact and be on the back-foot until completion. Perhaps even negotiating variations to scope. A good basis for planning should achieve sequencing of tasks with dates, well arranged technical document content, scope and work packages; and identification of the deliverables required throughout the project lifecycle.
2. Front-end Engineering and Design
Usually, the more we know up-front, the better. Front-end Engineering (FEED) should be fit-for-purpose. But what does fit-for-purpose mean? What does FEED consist of? It’s quite qualitative and bespoke. Recall the wonderful mathematics we learnt and statistics terms such as degrees of confidence? The more we add to the pool of FEED the more confidence we get in our design, to a point. The key here is to define FEED, understand FEED and how to apply it.
3. Design Management
Design management is more than minding programs, coordinating agreements and shuffling emails. Design Managers can have many requirements upon them and at times can find themselves as the designer. However, a Design Manager should be across this, “can the design, agreements and delivery be executed now, to satisfaction and with ease, with the documents that are about to be sent out to tender?” Regardless of what the answer is, knowing the answer is always the first step.
4. Knowing the Associated Professions
It’s quite probable that many an engineer has experienced the need for quite some effort required to meet the wishes of legal counsel and procurement officers. An understanding of what they do will assist and knowing how their area of practice works will be rewarding. Not only should the process be quicker, but the resulting documentation will hopefully improve as well.
5. Completion Strategy
You have a program, a design management plan and some technical documents as a result of planning and FEED. How does it end? How do you get there? Completion strategies are a handy tool to navigate obstacles which the other documents listed above may not. Such a strategy is a creative thing and can take many forms such as a sequence of tasks, or it could be a map, or workflow pertaining to a milestone or hold point. Simple strategies can assist to focus on the present, because before we know it, we’re at the end and on the back-foot.