Saturday, January 19, 2019

Regulation Should Monitor and Control Process not License Occupations


My email inbox presented some annoying articles which led to further annoying articles. For example:

  1. Victoria Considering Bill to Create Scheme for Registration of Professional Engineers
  2. HVIA says leave us out of Victorian Engineers Registration Bill
  3. Introducing a new engineering registration in Victoria, Australia
  5. Worth being a chartered engineer?
  6. Alternative to CPEng
  7. Freak freeway sign fall seen in shocking video nearly dooms driver in Australia
  8. Tullamarine Freeway sign falls and crushes car, injuring woman
  9. Opal Tower report reveals 'structural design and construction issues'
  10. Opal Tower report reveals ‘structural design and construction issues’
  11. Experts confirm Syd Opal Tower is 'sound'
  12. Opal Tower report due Friday to identify causes of cracks
  13. Welcome to the Faulty Towers state, where any mug's an engineer
  15. CROSS Australia (CROSS-AUS)
So defective road signs and defective buildings, and this shows need to grant license and monopoly to engineers, to protect the public. Grant a monopoly to a what? An engineer! oh! Whats is one of these  engineer things? Most probably a twerp with a fake honours degree (4 year B.Eng (AQF-8)) and maybe even a fake masters degree (MBA).

The Current Situation

Without regulation, at the very minimum a person wouldn't get anywhere near the design process unless they have the fake honours degree. Does the degree cover the technology over which these people claim expertise? No it doesn't, it covers  applied science and applied mathematics. Knowledge about the established technologies depends on industry. Therefore we rely on industry to impart knowledge. We also have learned societies which discuss practical application of science and codes as applied to established technologies, including the deficiencies of such codes and theories. Except in Australia, here we don't have learned societies we have Professional Cults. Confused organisations more closely related to trade unions, modern day rum corp and cartels, than learned  societies.

But still Engineers Australia has this additional assessment criteria where by it attempts to check experience in the real world. Depending on the year that maybe identified by MIEAust or by CP.Eng, the criteria for each maybe equal or different. However, either way, the criteria are so generic that all they really do is identify someone as a suitable as an employee. Someone working for McDonalds fast food outlet could probably pass the requirements, just they are not eligible for assessment as they don't have the fake honors degree. Significantly different than the American (USA) FE/PE exams or the UK part 3 examination of the IStructE.

Assessment Beyond Education

But still employment tends to be tied up by professional cults, hence the big national consultancies will push graduates through graduate development programmes, and would tend to ensure its employees have CP.Eng. So the design will have been carried out by people with a minimum of either:
  1. B.Eng
  2. B.Eng MIEAust
  3. B.Eng MIEAust CP.Eng
Exactly the criteria which Engineers Australia wants to use as the basis of granting monopoly through legislation. Even if the person designing the building was only B.Eng, most existing legislation is likely to reference CP.Eng as the requirement for those persons doing the regulatory checks and granting regulatory approval to go ahead and build.

The Regulation Problem

The problem however is that those people on the regulatory side are likely less experienced than those on the design side. Also the checks are likely to boil down to checking the designers calculations: such a check is not a valid independent check. Such checks end up as simple arithmetic checks, rather than a rigorous review of the logic and reasoning of the design decisions.

For example a designer may have used the simple formula M=wL^2/12 when a simple look at the drawings would indicate that the correct mathematical model would have been M=wL^2/8: so it doesn't matter if the numbers pushed through the first formula are correct, the mathematical model of the structure is invalid.

Design-Calculations vs Proof-Calculations

On large projects should distinguish between "design-calculations" and "proof-calculations". On small projects design calculations and final proof calculations are typically the one and the same: this is largely because on small projects, the design is repetition of what is known to work and only really producing proof-calculations. That is do not have to discover what works, we know this, we are just verifying the proposal is valid and does work.

Design calculations do not need to be conducted in accordance with codes of practice, or using exact theories, they can be quick and simple rules of thumb. Proof-Calculations do need to be in accordance with codes of practice, as their purpose is to demonstrate compliance with such codes.

Independent Check

However, the independent checker does not require the proof-calculations, they should only require a statement that they have been done, that the designer asserts that the proposal is fit-for-function, and that is by deliberate intent not wishful thinking. The checker then starts from scratch, and reads the drawings and written specifications and assesses if the specification-of-intent does truly propose something which is fit for its intended function. It is not a rubber stamp exercise by members of a silly form brigade (RPEQ's, RBP's).

Not Who, But What!

The problem isn't who is doing it, the problem is what is not being done. The consultants are not conducting a final review of calculations and decision process. Additionally consultants maybe cut-off from workshops and construction sites. Furthermore there is little design and management of the fabrication (workshop) and construction (site) process.

There is a silly notion that the documents approved by the local council are construction documents, and that such can be used to go ahead and build. Whilst on large projects there maybe something called workshop details produced, with the advent of high end software these drawings are likely diminished to part drawings.

Product Specification vs Process Specification

The difference between part-drawings and workshop details is that workshop details are produced for a specific workshop to meet its specific communication and documentation requirements and match its manufacturing processes. Proper process-drawings show raw materials and the correct orientation to jigs and fixtures. One workshop may drill holes using drilling templates or jigs, another may use a CNC drilling machine, and still another may align the drill by sight. The latter is likely to produce highly variable parts if producing more than one. Tooling and processes need designing and documenting. The people need training, and the process needs to be monitored and kept in control.

Moving on site the council approved drawings are just a specification-of-intent, they do not inform how to build anything, they describe what is to be built and provide a means of checking compliance. Additional drawings are required to manage the construction process, as with workshop fabrication there are additional tooling requirements, raw materials and workpieces versus final product. There are such requirements as:
  1. Formwork
  2. Shoring
  3. Props and Bracing
  4. Materials Handling (cranes and rigging)
  5. Scaffolding
All of which needs to be designed, documented and demonstrated fit-for-function. Clearly this is not being done: New Royal Adelaide Hospital site in turmoil after crane collision provokes site shutdown.

The CRC for construction innovation produced some guidelines for improving construction safety but was largely a process of drowning in documentation, rather than promoting good design, as with most systems derived from ISO:9000 quality standards. This is not because the standards require such documentation, but because the practitioners initially and largely only have one skill: they read ISO:9000, they otherwise understand zero about quality.

Poorly Designed Systems for Quality Assurance

Most engineering consultancies have quality assurance systems derived from renaming their contract document management systems to QA system: along with fabricators, and QA certifiers, they also have missed the point.

Documents typically (hopefully) have two identification codes for telling the difference between variations:
  1. Issue number 
  2. Revision number
Some organisations mix revision number and issue number. If printing each issue from CAD files, then this may be valid, as likely cannot guarantee that previous printout same as current printout (eg. layers maybe switched off). For traditional masters document and prints taken from, an issue is different than a revision. A revision code identifies changes to the document, and issue codes identifies who it has been sent to and why.

Revision numbers/codes identify defects in the documents and defects in the production process. The defects could be in:
  1. Design Process
  2. Drafting/Documentation Process
  3. Communication Systems
Last minute changes by the owners/client whilst construction is taking places indicates defects in the communication systems. The design consultants (architects and engineers) have failed to properly inform and/or educate their client. Thus they have failed to properly identify the needs of the client during the design process.

The old adage, whilst not necessarily numerically correct is: It costs $1 to make a change on the drawing board (in design office), $100 to make a change on the workshop floor, and $1000 to make a change on the construction site. This tends to hold true except for small projects where materials and labour are low cost compared to design services.

Increasingly though the greed of design consultants is pricing their services out of the process. Sure there are many who complain they should get paid more, but there are also many who should get paid considerably less. Why pay high fees to a design consultant when their knowledge is defective, deficient and otherwise inadequate? Trades complain of having to waste time fixing things because of design errors.

But we have a double problem the so called "engineers" think the trades don't know what they are doing, and the trades think the "engineers" don't know what they are doing. Both parties have inadequate education for the task at hand. Their knowledge should overlap, if there is no overlap then I suggest the "engineers" stay away from the trades people: you're not qualified.

Education vs Training

For the most part expect trades people to have at least certificate III (AQF-3) level qualifications: not a license or registration, but an education and adequate training. Training should be separate from education.


Education concerns foundational knowledge and enabling competences, it would involve no more than 3 to 5 iterations or trials of a skill. Education is largely an evaluation process, either a person can demonstrate the skill after an introduction and a few trials or they cannot.


Training is what olympic athletes, soldiers, and firefighters do. It is concerned with developing proficiency, it involves twenty or more trials, it is repetitive practice, it is making skills intuitive and desired responses second nature.

Qualification Frameworks

For each AQF award there should be an additional certificate of practice (CoP), it doesn't matter what level the award it will still be known as a certificate of practice.

Expectations of Increasing AQF Level

If the AQF was properly structured in its implementation, then moving from one level to the next would result in:

  1. an increased depth of knowledge, 
  2. increased independent thought, 
  3. increased personal responsibility.

Unfortunately occupational degrees issued by the universities do not comply: they simply lump a collection of subjects together to meet the wants and whims of professional cults, diminishing the value of the bachelor degree and the universities in the process.

If education and training were separated then "engineers" and trades would start at the same place, and would progress from AQF-1 upwards to the appropriate level.

A person at AQF-1 could be supervised by a person at AQF-2 because their knowledge overlaps. The person at AQF-2 should know the limitations of the person at AQF-1, as they have been through that stage. However the person at AQF-2 may not have the same training as the person at AQF-1. That is the person staying at AQF-1 should have greater proficiency at that level, than the person who has moved upto AQF-2.

So in the first instance we don't need registration or licensing, we just need the people with the appropriate education and training doing the work: that is the appropriate credentials which show they have completed the appropriate education and training.

So just need to know someone has the appropraiate award AQF-6 for example and the associated CoP. If they don't have the CoP then they lack adequate training. This training can be provided by purpose made training academies.

As a start I suggest 1 year of training for every 5 years of education, where 5 years (BSc MSc) is considered near complete knowledge for a specific area of practice. Where a research doctorate closes the gap in knowledge. Assuming 50 productive weeks in each year, then reduces to 10 weeks of training for each year of education. And for a short 10 week program (AQF-1), 2 weeks of training.

So problem we have is that the WFEO Washington (AQF-8), Sydney (AQF-7) and Dublin(AQF-6) accords define the education requirements but not the training. Second problem is delusions of grandeur, so have too many people aiming for the AQF-8 award, when real needs of industry are AQF-6, but not the Dublin accord requirements. A Dublin accord technician is superior to a drafter, but inferior to Australia's original engineering associates (for which I consider a better name is Associate Technologist).

If we educate and train Associate Technologists then we can better implement established technologies where they are needed. Do we need multistorey buildings? No we don't, they don't ease urban sprawl they are the cause of it in the first place.

The problem is we don't have people studying the right things. The concern is more with joining professional cults than learning and understanding. The reason for this is that the professional cults hijack the market place, and use fear, uncertainty and doubt to mislead the public. I say mislead because they deliberately create asymmetry of knowledge by using jargon, giving the impression you don't know anything about the subject, when all they have done is given a stupid name to something. But it's worse than that, some cults change the stupid names used, so your knowledge in an area becomes redundant. It's not really redundant, just not able to converse with the new generation of twerps until learn their jargon.

I don't care whether plumbers, train drivers, or operators of recording equipment call themselves engineers, or if a barber wants to create a business called hair engineers. The typical modern civil "engineer" is a ditch digging mud waddler who wouldn't know their knee from their elbow. They did not design civilisation, they did not generate knowledge and share such knowledge, and they didn't build civilisation. Someone gave knowledge to them: beyond taking such knowledge they have contributed naught of value to society. If they were all rounded up and executed, only their relatives would experience a loss.

For certain our industrial society needs knowledgeable people, but those learned people are not "engineers" as the professional cults define them. Just because a person holds a bachelor degree it doesn't make them competent in a given area of practice. How many people with a B.Eng are employed in management, and have neither adequate skill in engineering design, nor in management?


So besides education and training also need recognition of years of experience, or more importantly variety of experience. Kind of like military service stripes, and boy scout badges: but not quite. Yet another problem is the modern nonsense about loyalty to employers: I say nonsense because employers typically do not show the same loyalty to employees as they show to the business. Employees typically get kicked overboard as soon as the business is in trouble, and the owners profits are dwindling.

The problem with the loyalty nonsense is it gets in the way of the traditional journeyman route to experience. A designer needs to gain a variety of experience, and they seldom get that from working for the one employer. They need to chase projects and technology, to go where things are happening.

For example if your employer is primarily involved in stormwater drainage design then the closest you get to bridge design maybe a culvert. If you wish to gain experience about bridge design then you need to move, to change employers. The problem is you are not experienced enough to design bridges, so not going to be employed as an "engineer", but you may get on the project as a drafter.
But not if you want too high a wage, not if you are less than competent as a drafter, and not if you are a troublemaker questioning all decisions.

You have to be there as a curious trainee, asking suitable questions, gaining experience and understanding, putting proper effort into the drafting, and attempting suitable calculations after work hours in own time. From there maybe able to move to a position as junior engineer on another project. slowly building experience on significant projects, until ultimately able to be the lead engineer on a project.

Silly Occupational Classifications

But this is where professional cults and occupational bias gets in the way. How is a junior engineer different than a drafter, different than an associate technologist? The basic answer is they ("junior engineer") have knowledge about things which they are unlikely to ever use.

We do not need the industrial relations nonsense, set in industrial awards, about level 1 to 5 engineering associate, level 1 to  5 professional scientist, and levels 1 to 5 professional engineer. These occupations form an hierarchy, and in many organisations there is no need for anyone with education level greater than AQF-6: the associate technologist.

If we paid more attention to the tasks of the work at hand, instead of the wants and whims of the professional cults, then a graduate with a B.Eng would be employed as a technical officer (TO) not an engineer, not a professional engineer, not a junior engineer, not an engineer in training: they would be designer, planner or manager technicians.

Ranking Technical Officers

Where minimum education for technician would be AQF-5. Qualified drafters would be technician level (TO1), whilst unqualified drafters would be TO Zero's (TO0).

The basic ranking is as follows:

  1. (TO0) Technical Officer Level 0 
  2. (TO1) Technical Officer Level 1 (AQF-5) - Drafter, Design-Drafter, Design-Technician
  3. (TO2) Technical Officer Level 2 (AQF-6) - Associate Technologist
  4. (TO3) Technical Officer Level 3 (AQF-7) - Technologist
  5. (TO4) Technical Officer Level 4 (AQF-8) - Technologist
  6. (TO5) Technical Officer Level 5 (AQF-9) - Technologist

The ranking doesn't show "engineer", as such title reserved for those who push forward the frontiers of science and technology: and go beyond what they were taught.

All graduates would start out as an unqualified drafter (TO0), demonstrate they have interest in the technology and its proper specification. They would slowly move from focus on mere documentation under supervision to responsibility for dimensions, geometry, fit and clearances. This would take anything from 6 months to a year or more depending on the aptitude and attitude of the individual and the nature of the projects. If demonstrated appropriate skill, then they would move onto being a qualified drafter TO1 (If drafting not relevant to the technical field then other criteria would apply).

As a TO1, the next step to work towards, would be that of design-drafter (still at TO1), this is still AQF-5 level, the design at this stage would be qualitative, except with respect to dimension and geometry, that is it concerns form and function.

For example a structure requires appropriate forms of connection, depending on these connections it may then require additional cross-bracing. If the architectural form doesn't allow installation of cross-bracing, then the connections may have to change. It is all qualitative determining what the structure looks like. When get round to doing calculations some of it may change.

Connection design for example is an iterative process between drawing and calculation. The TO1 can start looking at industry manuals and standardisations, and start looking at some structural calculations. Their supervisor likely will give them sketches with calculations on them. They can start doing back of envelope calculations themselves to guide their drafting, so their drawings closer to the expected end result.

Past experience determines initial starting size for beams, and the connections. Prior results can be modified via simple theory to suit current project. For example bending moment is proportional to the square of the span: so if double the span then quadruple the moment, and therefore need to select a steel section with 4 times the capacity of prior project. The detailed calculations likely produce a different result, but will be in the ballpark. If there is significant difference between the end result and back of envelope calculations then need to explain the difference. The TO1 (TO2 wannabe) would thus be a check on the work of the TO2.

The next step would then be to become a TO2, which would be at AQF-6 level, that is an associate technologist. At this stage the person can work on their own projects, producing drawings and calculations. They would work on simple projects, without need of a assistance, but under the supervision of a TO3. Once they are able to complete the work without error, then they can move onto larger projects supervising one or more TO0's, and TO1's. If AQF-6 is their highest level of education, then this is where they stay, and their prime requirement is to get ...

... interrupted to go resolve others operating system problems. Now lost train of thought 17:22.

Now I part remember. 

As an associate technologist, having demonstrated competence in analysis/design, their next task is to develop skills in management and training, so as to assist in producing the next generation. That is they increase their breadth by getting additional AQF-6 qualifications.

If they have higher education AQF-7, then they move up to TO3. At which point the projects become more demanding, requiring higher level mathematical and scientific knowledge. Such projects however will be rare, and the primary task of TO3 is to provide technical review and supervision of TO2's and ensure that project doesn't involve higher level skills than a TO2 has.

The actual need for education at AQF-8 and AQF-9 would be extremely rare, so becoming TO4 and TO5 would also be difficult irrespective of education: as dependent on needs of the project not the whims of professional cults.

It is also to be noted that the task of the higher levels is to push knowledge down the hierarchy, not hinder application of knowledge, but to empower and enable.

So if the task is not within the scope of those educated at AQF-6, then that is largely because those at AQF-8 haven't been doing their job properly. Knowledge needs to be properly organised and managed, disseminated and shared with those who need: not held to ransom.

The task of a learned society is to collect, hold and safeguard knowledge, be its guardians, and enable and empower people to put such knowledge to proper use for the benefit of humanity.

By contrast the task of a professional cult is to hijack knowledge, use fear, doubt and uncertainty to con the public into granting undeserved privileges and benefits to the cult. {NB: I use the word cult rather than profession because members of the cults believe profession relates to ethics and high level of competence. Whilst I equate profession to profiteer devoid of competence. If everyone follows the nonsense: "Jack of all trades and master of none", and each seeks to specialise and pose as master, then have no Jacks who can identify that the masters know zero, and that such masters are less competent than a generalist would be.}

On Medicine

As for medicine. Wouldn't want unqualified person performing brain surgery was in one of the articles. Maybe not. But how do I know?

I recently spent time in RAH due to a heart attack. How do I know the cardiologists are qualified? How can I check? How do I know the medications prescribed are relevant?

I'm fairly certain the medical cult have never heard of Karl Popper. I'm fairly certain that most medical science is pseudo science and mere quackery. That it is based on poor use of statistics, and heavily biased towards selling drugs, not about caring for people's welfare.

To provide exaggerated example: they test a drug on rats, 80% show beneficial effect, 15% show no effect, and 5% die. Lets focus on the 80% and ignore the 5%, we have something good here we can make a profit from.

Back to my stay in hospital: I wasn't prescribed medications because required, I was prescribed because that is standard practice. Well I'm the little black swan, the standard practice is wrong, all the accumulated evidence for white swans is no good: the science hasn't been done.

{This is because I am on medication for high blood pressure. Though there is no mention of taking medication for high blood pressure: it is prescribed for other purpose. Yet, it is highly unlikely that if I had high blood pressure that the medication would place my blood pressure at the low end of ideal or into the low blood pressure zone. If I ever had an issue in the past it is most likely because it was low. Yet the specialist, the expert, has provided no response to the rehab nurses nor the GP. And the only reason I am seeing a specialist is because a potentially illegal supply chain cartel passed me onto said specialist without choice or option of any kind.}

But the solution applied isn't about common sense, it's about politics and careers. So have to bridge the gap in knowledge: do more than accept who knows and who doesn't, and ask the right questions. Get them to justify their decisions, because they don't decide what is best for my health, I do. Their place isn't as my boss or as my manager, they are there to advise, and their advice maybe defective. If the GP is scared to question the cardiologist then you have to do that yourself or accept without question.

As I have mentioned before whilst it is ok to have blind faith in the existence of god, it is stupid and irresponsible to have blind faith in those who purport to be the true messengers of god.

It is equally stupid and irresponsible to have blind faith in those who hold positions of authority. They cannot be held to be right simply because they have the power and authority to impose their will. You, we, I have the power to remove their power and authority. If they cannot provide reasonable explanation and justification, then they are not competent enough to be making the decisions. We do not have to submit to the arrogance and authority of their purported expertise.

We can test their competence even if we ourselves do not possess adequate knowledge. We can do this because the testing is not about the knowledge we have now, but the knowledge and understanding we hope to have to make the decisions we need to make, and for which we are responsible. We can learn. We do not have to acquiesce to their authority. Though many people would like to blame everyone else for their bad decisions, we cannot displace our responsibilities onto others.

Back to Buildings

Getting back to the buildings how would we know the building is acceptable? That a certificate of occupancy was issued, would be one way. But who issues the certificate of occupancy and after what process? The "who" isn't the biggest issue, the process is the issue.

Compliance with a code of practice produces low quality rubbish. The building industry would be one of the few industries where people run around declaring that they do it to the code, as if everyone else doesn't and you would be lucky to find someone that does.
Other industries tend to promote their product on the basis, that they set the standards everyone else would hope to meet, or their product otherwise exceeds the standards. They attempt to inform,  and educate people into understanding how deficient codes are. Sometimes it may be misleading or misdirection, but they certainly don't run around declaring that they only do as little as they have to: and otherwise implying that if the codes were not mandated then they would do even less.

The building industry produces low quality rubbish and the design consultants are part of the problem: but they think they are part of the solution. The output is low quality because it fails to meet the needs of society and poses more problems than it solves.

We have multistorey buildings and large industrial complexes which all give rise to urban sprawl: centralisation with an excessive radial reach is what causes urban sprawl, not mechanised transport. We have overly complex tangled transportation corridors. Do these people really know what they are doing? So they can calculate the stresses in the bridge but did we need the bridge?

Thousands of engineers can design bridges, calculate strains and stresses, and draw up specifications for machines, but the great engineer is the man who can tell whether the bridge or the machine should be built at all, where it should be built and when.[Eugene G. Grace quoted in Beakley & Leach(1977), "Engineering : an introduction to a creative profession"]
To improve status not only do these "engineer things" need to get the calculations right, but they also need to be spending time doing calculations for the right things and for the right reasons.

A one hundred apartment, tower block, doesn't provide shelter for anyone until the whole building is finished. Whilst 100 single storey dwellings provide shelter as soon as the roof is constructed, and people can occupy as construction of each one is completed. Furthermore such dwellings can be located in walking distance of their own central commercial district. Even if all the dwellings are based on the same design, an error in the design, poses less hazard to the occupants than an error in the design of the tower block.

The single storey houses however don't have the same prestige as tower blocks, just like dealing with the common cold doesn't have the same prestige as heart surgery. Just as unnecessary surgeries have taken place, likewise unnecessary tower blocks are built.

Despite how it  seems that councils hinder development, there isn't any where near adequate control over the built environment.

[(19/01/2019) 17:50]: Original
[(20/01/2019) 00:03]: Minor Modifications
[(09/02/2019) ] : Added Headings, rewrote some paragraphs, revised the technical officer ranking