I learned a long time ago that engineering is a means to an end. The process and expression of engineering should deliver value to the client, and the end user, to create safe, serviceable, components, parts, and systems, and in many forms. Engineering is part art, part science. It becomes a way of thinking as we do the work. My familiarity is with building systems and components, building science, structural and systems engineering for buildings, and most specifically for specialty systems know as curtain walls. These systems also are described as cladding, facade, architectural components, and building envelope. I am going to break down some items and factors that I’ve found to be important in executing engineering work in the proper context. It applies to the broad categories of engineering as well as the specialties I’ve noted. Value-based engineering has these types of mindsets and expressions:
Connected: It’s connected with client. It begins with the end in mind. Work backwards from the clients goals and desires, whether labor savings, redundancy, risk mitigation, manufacturing efficiency, optimization, or all of them.
Collaborative: Create a context where we are working in a shared reality with the client. Break down barriers, seek collaborative solutions. A shared reality puts us figuratively in “the same boat” or in “each other’s shoes.”
Competent: The fundamentals have been mastered so that the principles and practices can be utilized in an increasingly elegant manner, and with confidence in the accuracy of the solutions
Codified: One must be aware of the minimum requirements as outlined in building codes, standards, or applicable governing authorities.
Communicative: Keep an ongoing dialogue with the client. Let them know what is being done, inform them of our progress. Use email, instant messaging, phone calls, virtual meetings. Clients appreciate concise, informative, ongoing feedback to support collaboration. Engineers typically struggle with the idea of need to communicate regularly and just the reality of being communicative. Communication is the differentiator.
Concise: Solutions should be understandable, able to be interpreted, and as straightforward as possible to implement.
Clear: Solutions, drawings, reports, sketches, narration, should be clear and logical, simple to understand.
There’s more to this conversation and additional categories to discuss, which I will do in future blog posts. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading.