Daily Challenge Day 8

Expended most of day wasting time on LinkedIn. Keep pondering on whether to delete the group I created: Pre-Engineered Manufactured Building Systems Group. I’d link to it but LinkedIn has basically shutdown all public interfaces requiring people to login to see things: making it less useful than it was.

Ok! So what to write about? Well there are changes to the business with Roy’s retirement.

Certificates of an Independent Technical Expert are out.

No great loss there ,as we were rarely in a position to issue such certificates. Besides the post-nominal detritus of MIEAust, CPEng, NER, the most important requirement was and is independence from involvement in the original design. As soon as we specify the requirements for structural adequacy and they differ from the original submission to council, then we have moved from certifier to defending proponent of the specification. We can still issue certificates of structural adequacy, as such certificates provide an assertion which can then be independently confirmed by someone else.

Retaining Walls are out

Well not entirely. Roy will still continue to do such work for long time clients. The reason for these structures being dropped from the product mix is because they are dependent on soil mechanics and the only soil mechanics I studied was a brief introduction as it relates to agricultural engineering. Whilst the structural design of the retaining wall itself is relatively simple, assessment of the surrounding environment into which the retaining wall is placed could pose more complex problems in soil mechanics than that of the wall itself.

We could provide a computer program for the design of the walls, or there are probably suitable programs already available. But there would still be an issue of someone being responsible for the most appropriate structural form of retaining wall for the environment under consideration.

Structural Design of Water Tanks Dropped

These are dropped because they are shell structures and I have limited experience of such structures, and we get too little work in this area for it to be worthwhile studying further. However, we do have our own in-house tank wall design program. So we may enhance this program and customise to suit the needs of tank manufacturers.

Certification of Septic Systems Dropped

Regulatory certification now typically requires CPEng qualifications. Roy has dropped his registration, due to the on going expense, whilst I have no intention of acquiring such trite qualification.

About Engineering

Sorry, but from my view point, Engineers Australia is the world’s most useless learned society, and is little more than a modern day Rum Corp. I’m not about to spend several thousand dollars to go from B.Tech to B.Eng, so that I can acquire some trite post nominal detritus, and continue with the practice of structural/mechanical design as previous. The B.Eng does not add any extra relevant knowledge, the missing knowledge I have thus identified is not about the degree or formal education it’s about experience and practice.

Whilst chartered status, whether its CPEng, CEngT or CEngA, is based on some fairly irrelevant competencies. Put simply I do not believe it involves adequate assessment of technical competencies. I know that a Uk engineer having passed the IStruct part 3 exam to achieve MIStructE is competent in structural engineering, and likewise I know an American engineer having completed the FE/PE exams and got an SE license is competent in structures. All I know about MIEAust CPEng NER(Structures) is they have some trite experience in structural design under the supervision of someone else with equally trite experience in structural design. There is no guardian of a body of knowledge. I know some MIEAust CPEng NER will be highly competent but  the qualification doesn’t filter the chaff from the wheat: so what value is it?

To clarify, Engineering takes place at the frontiers of science and technology. Buildings, ships and aircraft are not at the frontiers, and do not require engineers to design them. Legislation which indicates engineers are required is inappropriate regulation, and places peoples lives at risk. The required people are those fully conversant with the technology. Why is Australia buying submarines from overseas? The reason is because we don’t have tried and tested technology, with people fully conversant in such technology. Being able to educate Naval Architects and Mechanical Engineers is irrelevant: such education is not about technology but about the science behind such technology.

I can design and assess all kinds of structural and mechanical technology: but what technology do we need? The drive shaft in the wheel of a combined harvester is not design of a combined harvester. A floor beam is not a building. Where to start in designing a combined harvester, and assuming I have time to spend designing such equipment, is it viable to manufacture such machinery locally? If no one has the time to design the technology locally, and no one is willing to invest in the factory to produce such equipment, then no local production will take place.

We can train people in mathematics any where on the planet, we can pass on scientific knowledge to them, but none of that is of any value if locally there are no resources to invest in technology. But even if have the resources to invest, it doesn’t mean that can convert science into technology. I know how a nuclear power station works, it doesn’t mean I can design one, nor could I actually build one. If as a nation we don’t have proven technology, then we have to experiment, that means designing and building prototypes and testing those prototypes, and incrementally improve the designs and prototypes until the technology is on a par with that available from elsewhere. Or to put another keeping testing and improving until its is as good as the established technology which can be nought of the shelf from those who have already put the technology in the market place.

And as for the so called shortage of engineers: not so. We have shortage because work that in the distant past was within the capabilities of engineering associates is now conducted by so called engineers.  And that is largely because people with trite experience more concerned with elitist titles, have limited understanding of the academic capabilities of the other members of the technical design team.

And the team is important. There is little value in being able to design fully welded construction if there are no qualified welders available to do the welding, and there are no systems in place to do the testing. Each piece of technology also requires an infrastructure to support its design, production, distribution, operation and maintenance.

Prescriptive solutions which require minimum design effort to adapt to specific purposes are important aspect of designing technology, and building upon and maintaining a technologically dependent society.

Australia’s government seems to have the idea that all that is required to be a clever country is to graduate increasing numbers of people with higher degrees, without opportunity for them to put the acquired knowledge to use.

On Government

Under the Australian constitution we elect representatives to a lower and upper house, these two houses constitute the body of the government, and the governor general is the head of government. The governor general is res[onsible for selecting members of an executive council, to advise on the will of the people as presented by their representatives, and otherwise executing the will of the government.

What we get in practice, is political parties hijacking the electoral process and hijacking the government. The dominant political party appoints itself as the members of the executive council and appoints a new governor general. Parliamentary debate is largely irrelevant as we are left with a puppet government under the control of the dominant political party, voting in parliament is a foregone conclusion: all the other representatives may as well go home. the people are not represented, just the vested interests of the political party.  The whole process is a mockery of democracy and joke. Parliament is just somewhere for old members of political parties to spend there time so they can retire on a relatively luxurious pension.

If we have a true representative government, then the media would not refer to liberal government or labor government, because both political parties form part of the government and both parties vote for that which is imposed on the Australian people. So right now both liberal and labor are responsible for the mess we are in, not just one of the political parties. At the next election what will change? Very little as both political parties will still form the body of the government. If the two political parties cannot properly govern now, then they cannot properly govern when they changes sides of the floor. Which by the way, there is not meant to be a government and an opposition: just a government.

So in the future ignore the political parties and make sure we have proper and due representation.