Why Every Engineer Should Pull a Few More Seats to the Table
One of the best things an engineer can do after engaging an engineering firm is pull a few more seats to the table. At IDI we stress the need to incorporate the end users and their perspective from the get-go. That means bringing floor managers and maintenance personnel into each project.
Too often engineering firms get input from their engineering counterpart and use their best judgment to come back with a concept. And we’ve heard some of the same excuses: If we have a group meeting there will essentially be too many cooks in the kitchen.
The reality is that the most successful projects we work on are collaborative efforts between the consulting engineer, engineering department, floor manager, and maintenance personnel. The latter two should participate in the initial discussion and pick apart the concepts.
We do job after job focused on improving the design so that maintenance can be done efficiently. We have seen equipment welded into place that should have been bolted, and when it needs to be maintained it has to be cut out with a torch. We have seen valves placed where they cannot be reached.
This is avoidable. The operators and the maintenance staff provide a completely different view based on their needs and experience that generally increases the functionality of the project. They look closely at the details that impact not only their job, but the operability of the project, as well as equipment repair and maintenance. Incorporating their knowledge allows problems to be corrected prior to going into the final detail design.
Our job is not to create the solution that we think should be the best. It is to create the solution that is the best, and over nearly three decades of working with clients in the Southeast we have found there is no more effective way to get there.