Saturday, September 22, 2012

Realising an innovative economy: a practical roadmap to ease the engineering skills shortage in Australia

Realising an innovative economy: a practical roadmap to ease the engineering skills shortage in Australia a report by Australian National Engineering Taskforce.( ANET )

An interesting report, but would be better if the parties which defined the engineering team didn't go confusing who the members of the team are within the introductory glossary. 

It should not be: "Engineers in all three occupations", but rather persons in all three occupations: for they are not all recognised as engineers. Further it doesn't take 3-5 years for them to be come chartered professional engineers, but rather 3 years to move from graduate to experienced within their occupational class, and then further period of development to become chartered within their occupational class.

The report also in arguing about difference between scientists and engineers, is still locked into an ideal based on manufacturing of human cogs for the machinery of industrial society. Graduating with a degree in either science or engineering does not make a person a scientist or engineer.

Progress in science and engineering requires imagination, creativity and ingenuity, formal education cannot impart such. Becoming a scientist or engineer is more a matter of personal attitude than formal education.

Science asks questions about the existing world, and uses the scientific method to answer those questions in a consistent manner which can be independently validated by others. Our education system is totally lacking in science. Education largely imposes accepted solutions without real opportunity to independently validate. 

{In other words haven't progressed much beyond that idea that the world is flat and at the centre of the universe and you are not permitted to question that. Difficulties which you may have in grasping models put forward due to own observations and perceptions of reality are irrelevant to education. You shall learn and join others in accepting the approved model.}

Engineering in contrast asks "what if" questions about potential changes to the existing world, and makes use of scientific knowledge to attempt to answer those questions. If the body of scientific knowledge is inadequate to answer the questions, then science is required to expand the body of scientific knowledge.

Both science and engineering requires people with the right attitude and also access to appropriate opportunities.

Designing the lintel above the window in a single storey house is not in the same league as designing a human habit floating in deep space beyond the orbit of Pluto. Placing focus on registration of professional engineers, and ever increasing academic qualifications is crazy. Shouldn't need a masters degree to design the lintel, shouldn't need a bachelor degree for that matter. The space station is a complex system, and the designer of such is responsible for the whole thing, but with reliance on the specialist capabilities of others to handle the details of subsystems. The designer of the lintel is not designing a complex system, and doesn't necessarily have to coordinate with others, and is directly responsible for the details. In placing an emphasis on pushing people through university programmes, we have largely lost the people capable of taking care of the details.

I agree with those that indicated wouldn't want an engineering associate designing a bridge. However, once again the bridge is a complex system. I would want the steel designed by an Engineering Associate (or Associate Technologist). The bridge engineer, decides on the form of the bridge which is most suitable for the geology and geography, and the technological skills in the available workforce. There is a lot concerned with the over all concept of the bridge. The Associate Technologist only needs concern themselves with all the issues of steel construction and its assessment against the approved codes of practice: whether the structure is a bridge, building, or machine structure. Their expertise should be steel its design, fabrication and construction. If the structure is part of a simple system then they can take it from concept to implementation without assistance. With appropriate craft and trade skills, and still simpler systems they can also actually build it themselves without assistance. In the main however expect others to actually build.

Now being able to dream is relatively easy. Drawing up a proposal also relatively easy. Assessing its fitness-for-function however can be complex, and often times building and testing prototypes easier than mathematical modelling based on scientific knowledge. Further having got specifications for something whether fit-for-function or not, it is necessary to have a workforce with appropriate skills to make the thing.

Which is where we have a cyclic problem. We need engineers to turn the dreams into something practical to implement, but we need trades people with higher skills than simply manual labour too actually implement the dream.

If we simply train more designers, we will have designs with nobody to make. If we simply train more trades people, we will have trades people with no work to do. We have to design and build a full industrial machine, and put it to work. The above mentioned report doesn't really address what it is that we need all these engineers for: just that there is a shortage and government procurement methods are inappropriate.

Engineers are not really trained: but born, and they need to be nurtured and grown slowly. The formal education system can produce those who work and think inside the box, and maintain the status quo, keep our existing systems running. opportunity is required to push outside the box.

Most of the programmes to introduced engineering to the young focus on making or otherwise on industrial design, they fail to fully address what engineers actually do. For one they don't programme CNC machine tools (the real robots of industry). In the real world it is difficult to separate the roles of trades, engineers, scientists and mathematicians. Those who operate in one role only, may see it has simple, but persons who operate in one role only are of limited value to a business enterprise. Those who have worked their way up from the shop floor can easily move from design to making. Noting that can design once, and make many times: so when the pressures on the CEO can always get down and get their hands dirty. The Machiavellian prince working alongside his subjects. Most modern CEO's and engineers too boot, are more in the role of the aristocracy which were sent to the guillotine.

Now creating properly articulated AQF programmes is a problem. Engineers want to get rid of the image of grease and dirt, but I say that is where the education needs to start. Too many academic engineers designing things which cannot be made: they may be able to assess that in the end-form, the product is fit-for-function, but have not conceived how raw materials can be transformed into that end-form with the physical properties expected to achieve the desired performance. For example the end-product may require high strength steel, but there is no way that the high strength can be obtained by casting, and there is no way the high strength steel can otherwise be machined. Then there are issues concerned with safety in handling, which may require the design of new tooling, jigs and fixtures and various temporary props and bracing systems. There is far to much reference and reliance on something called "standard industry practice". There is no such thing it doesn't exist. The only thing "standard" is a lack of knowledge, a lack of skill, and a lack of quality. None of which are actually desired.

Complex systems require building appropriate production systems and training an appropriate workforce. But once the system has been built then what? Is a water filtration plant a product, or a chunk of infrastructure? Considered as the latter the persons who designed and built it either become redundant or revert to simple operation and maintenance activities. Considered as a product, how many water filtration plants does the world population need, how can supply be turned into an effective business, how should the product be designed to be supplied on a routine basis, what customisations can be permitted? With the current infrastructure, government responsibility approach, the 2nd international decade of water will not reach its goals by 2015, and will fail as did the first. The systems implemented will not be sustainable and capable of keeping up with population growth.

Engineering is too narrow a focus. Henri Fayol pointed out many years back that engineers education was too technically focused, and management was in greater need. I contend however that it is important to have people who are technically focused, and sustain people who are: these people may well by the future Associate Technologists. Whilst engineering programmes have added more management content, and many engineers end up in management areas, there as also been shifts in the workforce that have resulted in decline   of technical design skills.

Infrastructure moved into operate and maintain mode requires more management skills. But once reaches the need for replacement, then the design skills are required again, but otherwise lost from industry. Management  doesn't require engineers. Here is a contrast. In the USA much on management was presented via the ASME, and from their the discipline of Industrial Engineering was born. Industrial Engineers sit the same breadth examination (NCEES FE/PE/exams) as engineers in other disciplines: that is mathematics, thermodynamics, optics, electrostatics and such. In the UK however, as I understand, instead of industrial engineering being born, industrial management was born. The actual job function is the same, the education far different. Members of the institute of industrial engineers (USA) have been debating a need for a brand change. They think engineer is too much associated with grease and dirt, which is not much use for promoting the value of industrial engineering to health care or office work. In Australia we have industrial engineers (IE), but they are at odds with other engineers who are generally represented by Engineers Australia (IEAust), IE's have their own institute, and whilst many MIIE's may have doctrates they do not meet the criteria for becoming MIEAust's: this is a consequence of management focus.

My contention is that it is wasteful to educate people with B.Eng(civil or mechanical) and then MBA's if it is management functions which need to be addressed. We should be graduating more IE's and fewer CE and ME's in the first instance. But preferably IE's with the same fundamentals as the CE and ME's, not just management focus.

We are graduating people in a multitude various administrative, business and management disciplines. However quantity surveyors, construction managers, cost accountants, and project managers , are neither construction engineers or manufacturing engineers. Further manufacturing engineering itself seems to have diminished to manufacturing management and got away from the physics of the processes. {I'm a member of IIE(Aust.) and the manufacturing society of Australasia (ManSA). ManSA is currently under administration by IEAust due to declining numbers: in essence it was to focused on management and getting away from the hardware of manufacturing. When I studied manufacturing engineering it was about the mechanics of say a lathe, and the cutting process. About robotics and mechanical handling, and automation. Not about the management of people and the processes involved in, for that activity is the field of industrial engineering and industrial management.}

So that which may have once been done by an engineer or an architect as part of a larger job function, may now be done by persons with B.Bus or B.Mngt with a much narrower more specialised job function but more involved. With ever increasing regulations need people familiar with the constraints imposed on business and workers. Many small businesses are often exempt from much of the regulation (size measured by number of employees, not revenue), ad business grows and takes on more employees it becomes necessary to implement more administrative systems as required by regulations.

So whilst engineers in the past have looked to management as a means of increasing their income, such positions are no longer readily available, because the available management positions have little to do with management of technical systems: but more to do with management of people and administration of regulations.

Australia's industrial relations system is also crazy, in that to increase income, simply return to university and get higher education. Thus all an engineering associate needs do is get a B.Eng to demand a higher salary, they do not have to actually contribute any greater value to the business. The result is they become a drain on the business rather than a benefit.

We need to separate the issue of regulatory compliance from ingenuity, and innovation. We have a shortage of innovative people, but we also do not have an environment conducive to innovation. At the same time we lack people with adequate competence to ensure a high level of compliance with required regulations and codes of practice. Further more we also lacking in the people with the necessary trade skills to work on complex projects.

But this is probably largely to do with too many independent small businesses, people seeing higher security in being self-employed: knowing who their clients are and where their work comes from. Not wanting to show loyalty to large disloyal business enterprises or government authorities who also keep laying off more and more people.

There has to be a vision to which all these skills are going to be applied. There is no such vision. Industry wants the skills but what do you want them for? If become a qualified welder, where are the steel structures? If become a structural engineer, where are the structures required? What are the real demands?  Private enterprise: You wanted a free market based economy, you have now largely got it, but what is it going to supply, and how? Who are you, want are you doing for the people, and what do you want the people to do for you in return? Purely based on money, barking up the wrong tree.

Friday, September 21, 2012


An extract from the project Gutenberg EBook of Self Help, by Samuel Smiles

(with additional highlights and links!)


"Neither the naked hand, nor the understanding, left to itself, can
do much; the work is accomplished by instruments and helps, of
which the need is not less for the understanding than the hand."--

"Opportunity has hair in front, behind she is bald; if you seize
her by the forelock you may hold her, but, if suffered to escape,
not Jupiter himself can catch her again."--From the Latin.

Accident does very little towards the production of any great
result in life.  Though sometimes what is called "a happy hit" may
be made by a bold venture, the common highway of steady industry
and application is the only safe road to travel.  It is said of the
landscape painter Wilson, that when he had nearly finished a
picture in a tame, correct manner, he would step back from it, his
pencil fixed at the end of a long stick, and after gazing earnestly
on the work, he would suddenly walk up and by a few bold touches
give a brilliant finish to the painting.  But it will not do for
every one who would produce an effect, to throw his brush at the
canvas in the hope of producing a picture.  The capability of
putting in these last vital touches is acquired only by the labour
of a life; and the probability is, that the artist who has not
carefully trained himself beforehand, in attempting to produce a
brilliant effect at a dash, will only produce a blotch.

Sedulous attention and painstaking industry always mark the true
worker.  The greatest men are not those who "despise the day of
small things," but those who improve them the most carefully.
Michael Angelo was one day explaining to a visitor at his studio,
what he had been doing at a statue since his previous visit.  "I
have retouched this part--polished that--softened this feature--
brought out that muscle--given some expression to this lip, and
more energy to that limb."  "But these are trifles," remarked the
visitor.  "It may be so," replied the sculptor, "but recollect that
trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."  So it was
said of Nicholas Poussin, the painter, that the rule of his conduct
was, that "whatever was worth doing at all was worth doing well;"
and when asked, late in life, by his friend Vigneul de Marville, by
what means he had gained so high a reputation among the painters of
Italy, Poussin emphatically answered, "Because I have neglected

Although there are discoveries which are said to have been made by
accident, if carefully inquired into, it will be found that there
has really been very little that was accidental about them.  For
the most part, these so-called accidents have only been
opportunities, carefully improved by genius.  The fall of the apple
at Newton's feet has often been quoted in proof of the accidental
character of some discoveries.  But Newton's whole mind had already
been devoted for years to the laborious and patient investigation
of the subject of gravitation; and the circumstance of the apple
falling before his eyes was suddenly apprehended only as genius
could apprehend it, and served to flash upon him the brilliant
discovery then opening to his sight.  In like manner, the
brilliantly-coloured soap-bubbles blown from a common tobacco pipe-
-though "trifles light as air" in most eyes--suggested to Dr. Young
his beautiful theory of "interferences," and led to his discovery
relating to the diffraction of light.  Although great men are
popularly supposed only to deal with great things, men such as
Newton and Young were ready to detect the significance of the most
familiar and simple facts; their greatness consisting mainly in
their wise interpretation of them.

The difference between men consists, in a great measure, in the
intelligence of their observation.  The Russian proverb says of the
non-observant man, "He goes through the forest and sees no
firewood."  "The wise man's eyes are in his head," says Solomon,
"but the fool walketh in darkness."  "Sir," said Johnson, on one
occasion, to a fine gentleman just returned from Italy, "some men
will learn more in the Hampstead stage than others in the tour of
Europe."  It is the mind that sees as well as the eye.  Where
unthinking gazers observe nothing, men of intelligent vision
penetrate into the very fibre of the phenomena presented to them,
attentively noting differences, making comparisons, and recognizing
their underlying idea.  Many before Galileo had seen a suspended
weight swing before their eyes with a measured beat; but he was the
first to detect the value of the fact.  One of the vergers in the
cathedral at Pisa, after replenishing with oil a lamp which hung
from the roof, left it swinging to and fro; and Galileo, then a
youth of only eighteen, noting it attentively, conceived the idea
of applying it to the measurement of time.  Fifty years of study
and labour, however, elapsed, before he completed the invention of
his Pendulum,--the importance of which, in the measurement of time
and in astronomical calculations, can scarcely be overrated.  In
like manner, Galileo, having casually heard that one Lippershey, a
Dutch spectacle-maker, had presented to Count Maurice of Nassau an
instrument by means of which distant objects appeared nearer to the
beholder, addressed himself to the cause of such a phenomenon,
which led to the invention of the telescope, and proved the
beginning of the modern science of astronomy.  Discoveries such as
these could never have been made by a negligent observer, or by a
mere passive listener.

While Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown was occupied in
studying the construction of bridges, with the view of contriving
one of a cheap description to be thrown across the Tweed, near
which he lived, he was walking in his garden one dewy autumn
morning, when he saw a tiny spider's net suspended across his path.
The idea immediately occurred to him, that a bridge of iron ropes
or chains might be constructed in like manner, and the result was
the invention of his Suspension Bridge.  So James Watt, when
consulted about the mode of carrying water by pipes under the
Clyde, along the unequal bed of the river, turned his attention one
day to the shell of a lobster presented at table; and from that
model he invented an iron tube, which, when laid down, was found
effectually to answer the purpose.  Sir Isambert Brunel took his
first lessons in forming the Thames Tunnel from the tiny shipworm:
he saw how the little creature perforated the wood with its well-
armed head, first in one direction and then in another, till the
archway was complete, and then daubed over the roof and sides with
a kind of varnish; and by copying this work exactly on a large
scale, Brunel was at length enabled to construct his shield and
accomplish his great engineering work.

It is the intelligent eye of the careful observer which gives these
apparently trivial phenomena their value.  So trifling a matter as
the sight of seaweed floating past his ship, enabled Columbus to
quell the mutiny which arose amongst his sailors at not discovering
land, and to assure them that the eagerly sought New World was not
far off.  There is nothing so small that it should remain
forgotten; and no fact, however trivial, but may prove useful in
some way or other if carefully interpreted.  Who could have
imagined that the famous "chalk cliffs of Albion" had been built up
by tiny insects--detected only by the help of the microscope--of
the same order of creatures that have gemmed the sea with islands
of coral!  And who that contemplates such extraordinary results,
arising from infinitely minute operations, will venture to question
the power of little things?

It is the close observation of little things which is the secret of
success in business, in art, in science, and in every pursuit in
life.  Human knowledge is but an accumulation of small facts, made
by successive generations of men, the little bits of knowledge and
experience carefully treasured up by them growing at length into a
mighty pyramid.  Though many of these facts and observations seemed
in the first instance to have but slight significance, they are all
found to have their eventual uses, and to fit into their proper
places.  Even many speculations seemingly remote, turn out to be
the basis of results the most obviously practical.  In the case of
the conic sections discovered by Apollonius Pergaeus, twenty
centuries elapsed before they were made the basis of astronomy--a
science which enables the modern navigator to steer his way through
unknown seas and traces for him in the heavens an unerring path to
his appointed haven.  And had not mathematicians toiled for so
long, and, to uninstructed observers, apparently so fruitlessly,
over the abstract relations of lines and surfaces, it is probable
that but few of our mechanical inventions would have seen the

When Franklin made his discovery of the identity of lightning and
electricity, it was sneered at, and people asked, "Of what use is
it?"  To which his reply was, "What is the use of a child?  It may
become a man!"  When Galvani discovered that a frog's leg twitched
when placed in contact with different metals, it could scarcely
have been imagined that so apparently insignificant a fact could
have led to important results.  Yet therein lay the germ of the
Electric Telegraph, which binds the intelligence of continents
together, and, probably before many years have elapsed, will "put a
girdle round the globe."  So too, little bits of stone and fossil,
dug out of the earth, intelligently interpreted, have issued in the
science of geology and the practical operations of mining, in which
large capitals are invested and vast numbers of persons profitably

The gigantic machinery employed in pumping our mines, working our
mills and manufactures, and driving our steam-ships and
locomotives, in like manner depends for its supply of power upon so
slight an agency as little drops of water expanded by heat,--that
familiar agency called steam, which we see issuing from that common
tea-kettle spout, but which, when put up within an ingeniously
contrived mechanism, displays a force equal to that of millions of
horses, and contains a power to rebuke the waves and set even the
hurricane at defiance.  The same power at work within the bowels of
the earth has been the cause of those volcanoes and earthquakes
which have played so mighty a part in the history of the globe.

It is said that the Marquis of Worcester's attention was first
accidentally directed to the subject of steam power, by the tight
cover of a vessel containing hot water having been blown off before
his eyes, when confined a prisoner in the Tower.  He published the
result of his observations in his 'Century of Inventions,' which
formed a sort of text-book for inquirers into the powers of steam
for a time, until Savary, Newcomen, and others, applying it to
practical purposes, brought the steam-engine to the state in which
Watt found it when called upon to repair a model of Newcomen's
engine, which belonged to the University of Glasgow.  This
accidental circumstance was an opportunity for Watt, which he was
not slow to improve; and it was the labour of his life to bring the
steam-engine to perfection.

This art of seizing opportunities and turning even accidents to
account, bending them to some purpose is a great secret of success.
Dr. Johnson has defined genius to be "a mind of large general
powers accidentally determined in some particular direction."  Men
who are resolved to find a way for themselves, will always find
opportunities enough; and if they do not lie ready to their hand,
they will make them.  It is not those who have enjoyed the
advantages of colleges, museums, and public galleries, that have
accomplished the most for science and art; nor have the greatest
mechanics and inventors been trained in mechanics' institutes.
Necessity, oftener than facility, has been the mother of invention;
and the most prolific school of all has been the school of
difficulty.  Some of the very best workmen have had the most
indifferent tools to work with.  But it is not tools that make the
workman, but the trained skill and perseverance of the man himself.
Indeed it is proverbial that the bad workman never yet had a good
tool.  Some one asked Opie by what wonderful process he mixed his
colours.  "I mix them with my brains, sir," was his reply.  It is
the same with every workman who would excel.  Ferguson made
marvellous things--such as his wooden clock, that accurately
measured the hours--by means of a common penknife, a tool in
everybody's hand; but then everybody is not a Ferguson.  A pan of
water and two thermometers were the tools by which Dr. Black
discovered latent heat; and a prism, a lens, and a sheet of
pasteboard enabled Newton to unfold the composition of light and
the origin of colours.  An eminent foreign savant once called upon
Dr. Wollaston, and requested to be shown over his laboratories in
which science had been enriched by so many important discoveries,
when the doctor took him into a little study, and, pointing to an
old tea-tray on the table, containing a few watch-glasses, test
papers, a small balance, and a blowpipe, said, "There is all the
laboratory that I have!"

Stothard learnt the art of combining colours by closely studying
butterflies' wings:  he would often say that no one knew what he
owed to these tiny insects.  A burnt stick and a barn door served
Wilkie in lieu of pencil and canvas.  Bewick first practised
drawing on the cottage walls of his native village, which he
covered with his sketches in chalk; and Benjamin West made his
first brushes out of the cat's tail.  Ferguson laid himself down in
the fields at night in a blanket, and made a map of the heavenly
bodies by means of a thread with small beads on it stretched
between his eye and the stars.  Franklin first robbed the
thundercloud of its lightning by means of a kite made with two
cross sticks and a silk handkerchief.  Watt made his first model of
the condensing steam-engine out of an old anatomist's syringe, used
to inject the arteries previous to dissection.  Gifford worked his
first problems in mathematics, when a cobbler's apprentice, upon
small scraps of leather, which he beat smooth for the purpose;
whilst Rittenhouse, the astronomer, first calculated eclipses on
his plough handle.

The most ordinary occasions will furnish a man with opportunities
or suggestions for improvement, if he be but prompt to take
advantage of them.  Professor Lee was attracted to the study of
Hebrew by finding a Bible in that tongue in a synagogue, while
working as a common carpenter at the repairs of the benches.  He
became possessed with a desire to read the book in the original,
and, buying a cheap second-hand copy of a Hebrew grammar, he set to
work and learnt the language for himself.  As Edmund Stone said to
the Duke of Argyle, in answer to his grace's inquiry how he, a poor
gardener's boy, had contrived to be able to read Newton's Principia
in Latin, "One needs only to know the twenty-four letters of the
alphabet in order to learn everything else that one wishes."
Application and perseverance, and the diligent improvement of
opportunities, will do the rest.

Sir Walter Scott found opportunities for self-improvement in every
pursuit, and turned even accidents to account.  Thus it was in the
discharge of his functions as a writer's apprentice that he first
visited the Highlands, and formed those friendships among the
surviving heroes of 1745 which served to lay the foundation of a
large class of his works.  Later in life, when employed as
quartermaster of the Edinburgh Light Cavalry, he was accidentally
disabled by the kick of a horse, and confined for some time to his
house; but Scott was a sworn enemy to idleness, and he forthwith
set his mind to work.  In three days he had composed the first
canto of 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' which he shortly after
finished,--his first great original work.

The attention of Dr. Priestley, the discoverer of so many gases,
was accidentally drawn to the subject of chemistry through his
living in the neighbourhood of a brewery.  When visiting the place
one day, he noted the peculiar appearances attending the extinction
of lighted chips in the gas floating over the fermented liquor.  He
was forty years old at the time, and knew nothing of chemistry.  He
consulted books to ascertain the cause, but they told him little,
for as yet nothing was known on the subject.  Then he began to
experiment, with some rude apparatus of his own contrivance.  The
curious results of his first experiments led to others, which in
his hands shortly became the science of pneumatic chemistry.  About
the same time, Scheele was obscurely working in the same direction
in a remote Swedish village; and he discovered several new gases,
with no more effective apparatus at his command than a few
apothecaries' phials and pigs' bladders.

Sir Humphry Davy, when an apothecary's apprentice, performed his
first experiments with instruments of the rudest description.  He
extemporised the greater part of them himself, out of the motley
materials which chance threw in his way,--the pots and pans of the
kitchen, and the phials and vessels of his master's surgery.  It
happened that a French ship was wrecked off the Land's End, and the
surgeon escaped, bearing with him his case of instruments, amongst
which was an old-fashioned glyster apparatus; this article he
presented to Davy, with whom he had become acquainted.  The
apothecary's apprentice received it with great exultation, and
forthwith employed it as a part of a pneumatic apparatus which he
contrived, afterwards using it to perform the duties of an air-pump
in one of his experiments on the nature and sources of heat.

In like manner Professor Faraday, Sir Humphry Davy's scientific
successor, made his first experiments in electricity by means of an
old bottle, white he was still a working bookbinder.  And it is a
curious fact that Faraday was first attracted to the study of
chemistry by hearing one of Sir Humphry Davy's lectures on the
subject at the Royal Institution.  A gentleman, who was a member,
calling one day at the shop where Faraday was employed in binding
books, found him poring over the article "Electricity" in an
Encyclopaedia placed in his hands to bind.  The gentleman, having
made inquiries, found that the young bookbinder was curious about
such subjects, and gave him an order of admission to the Royal
Institution, where he attended a course of four lectures delivered
by Sir Humphry.  He took notes of them, which he showed to the
lecturer, who acknowledged their scientific accuracy, and was
surprised when informed of the humble position of the reporter.
Faraday then expressed his desire to devote himself to the
prosecution of chemical studies, from which Sir Humphry at first
endeavoured to dissuade him:  but the young man persisting, he was
at length taken into the Royal Institution as an assistant; and
eventually the mantle of the brilliant apothecary's boy fell upon
the worthy shoulders of the equally brilliant bookbinder's

The words which Davy entered in his note-book, when about twenty
years of age, working in Dr. Beddoes' laboratory at Bristol, were
eminently characteristic of him:  "I have neither riches, nor
power, nor birth to recommend me; yet if I live, I trust I shall
not be of less service to mankind and my friends, than if I had
been born with all these advantages."  Davy possessed the
capability, as Faraday does, of devoting the whole power of his
mind to the practical and experimental investigation of a subject
in all its bearings; and such a mind will rarely fail, by dint of
mere industry and patient thinking, in producing results of the
highest order.  Coleridge said of Davy, "There is an energy and
elasticity in his mind, which enables him to seize on and analyze
all questions, pushing them to their legitimate consequences.
Every subject in Davy's mind has the principle of vitality.  Living
thoughts spring up like turf under his feet."  Davy, on his part,
said of Coleridge, whose abilities he greatly admired, "With the
most exalted genius, enlarged views, sensitive heart, and
enlightened mind, he will be the victim of a want of order,
precision, and regularity."

The great Cuvier was a singularly accurate, careful, and
industrious observer.  When a boy, he was attracted to the subject
of natural history by the sight of a volume of Buffon which
accidentally fell in his way.  He at once proceeded to copy the
drawings, and to colour them after the descriptions given in the
text.  While still at school, one of his teachers made him a
present of 'Linnaeus's System of Nature;' and for more than ten
years this constituted his library of natural history.  At eighteen
he was offered the situation of tutor in a family residing near
Fecamp, in Normandy.  Living close to the sea-shore, he was brought
face to face with the wonders of marine life.  Strolling along the
sands one day, he observed a stranded cuttlefish.  He was attracted
by the curious object, took it home to dissect, and thus began the
study of the molluscae, in the pursuit of which he achieved so
distinguished a reputation.  He had no books to refer to, excepting
only the great book of Nature which lay open before him.  The study
of the novel and interesting objects which it daily presented to
his eyes made a much deeper impression on his mind than any written
or engraved descriptions could possibly have done.  Three years
thus passed, during which he compared the living species of marine
animals with the fossil remains found in the neighbourhood,
dissected the specimens of marine life that came under his notice,
and, by careful observation, prepared the way for a complete reform
in the classification of the animal kingdom.  About this time
Cuvier became known to the learned Abbe Teissier, who wrote to
Jussieu and other friends in Paris on the subject of the young
naturalist's inquiries, in terms of such high commendation, that
Cuvier was requested to send some of his papers to the Society of
Natural History; and he was shortly after appointed assistant-
superintendent at the Jardin des Plantes.  In the letter written by
Teissier to Jussieu, introducing the young naturalist to his
notice, he said, "You remember that it was I who gave Delambre to
the Academy in another branch of science:  this also will be a
Delambre."  We need scarcely add that the prediction of Teissier
was more than fulfilled.

It is not accident, then, that helps a man in the world so much as
purpose and persistent industry.  To the feeble, the sluggish and
purposeless, the happiest accidents avail nothing,--they pass them
by, seeing no meaning in them.  But it is astonishing how much can
be accomplished if we are prompt to seize and improve the
opportunities for action and effort which are constantly presenting
themselves.  Watt taught himself chemistry and mechanics while
working at his trade of a mathematical-instrument maker, at the
same time that he was learning German from a Swiss dyer.
Stephenson taught himself arithmetic and mensuration while working
as an engineman during the night shifts; and when he could snatch a
few moments in the intervals allowed for meals during the day, he
worked his sums with a bit of chalk upon the sides of the colliery
waggons.  Dalton's industry was the habit of his life.  He began
from his boyhood, for he taught a little village-school when he was
only about twelve years old,--keeping the school in winter, and
working upon his father's farm in summer.  He would sometimes urge
himself and companions to study by the stimulus of a bet, though
bred a Quaker; and on one occasion, by his satisfactory solution of
a problem, he won as much as enabled him to buy a winter's store of
candles.  He continued his meteorological observations until a day
or two before he died,--having made and recorded upwards of 200,000
in the course of his life.

With perseverance, the very odds and ends of time may be worked up
into results of the greatest value.  An hour in every day withdrawn
from frivolous pursuits would, if profitably employed, enable a
person of ordinary capacity to go far towards mastering a science.
It would make an ignorant man a well-informed one in less than ten
years.  Time should not be allowed to pass without yielding fruits,
in the form of something learnt worthy of being known, some good
principle cultivated, or some good habit strengthened.  Dr. Mason
Good translated Lucretius while riding in his carriage in the
streets of London, going the round of his patients.  Dr. Darwin
composed nearly all his works in the same way while driving about
in his "sulky" from house to house in the country,--writing down
his thoughts on little scraps of paper, which he carried about with
him for the purpose.  Hale wrote his 'Contemplations' while
travelling on circuit.  Dr. Burney learnt French and Italian while
travelling on horseback from one musical pupil to another in the
course of his profession.  Kirke White learnt Greek while walking
to and from a lawyer's office; and we personally know a man of
eminent position who learnt Latin and French while going messages
as an errand-boy in the streets of Manchester.

Daguesseau, one of the great Chancellors of France, by carefully
working up his odd bits of time, wrote a bulky and able volume in
the successive intervals of waiting for dinner, and Madame de
Genlis composed several of her charming volumes while waiting for
the princess to whom she gave her daily lessons.  Elihu Burritt
attributed his first success in self-improvement, not to genius,
which he disclaimed, but simply to the careful employment of those
invaluable fragments of time, called "odd moments."  While working
and earning his living as a blacksmith, he mastered some eighteen
ancient and modern languages, and twenty-two European dialects.

What a solemn and striking admonition to youth is that inscribed on
the dial at All Souls, Oxford--"Pereunt et imputantur"--the hours
perish, and are laid to our charge.  Time is the only little
fragment of Eternity that belongs to man; and, like life, it can
never be recalled.  "In the dissipation of worldly treasure," says
Jackson of Exeter, "the frugality of the future may balance the
extravagance of the past; but who can say, 'I will take from
minutes to-morrow to compensate for those I have lost to-day'?"
Melancthon noted down the time lost by him, that he might thereby
reanimate his industry, and not lose an hour.  An Italian scholar
put over his door an inscription intimating that whosoever remained
there should join in his labours.  "We are afraid," said some
visitors to Baxter, "that we break in upon your time."  "To be sure
you do," replied the disturbed and blunt divine.  Time was the
estate out of which these great workers, and all other workers,
formed that rich treasury of thoughts and deeds which they have
left to their successors.

The mere drudgery undergone by some men in carrying on their
undertakings has been something extraordinary, but the drudgery
they regarded as the price of success.  Addison amassed as much as
three folios of manuscript materials before he began his
'Spectator.'  Newton wrote his 'Chronology' fifteen times over
before he was satisfied with it; and Gibbon wrote out his 'Memoir'
nine times.  Hale studied for many years at the rate of sixteen
hours a day, and when wearied with the study of the law, he would
recreate himself with philosophy and the study of the mathematics.
Hume wrote thirteen hours a day while preparing his 'History of
England.'  Montesquieu, speaking of one part of his writings, said
to a friend, "You will read it in a few hours; but I assure you it
has cost me so much labour that it has whitened my hair."

The practice of writing down thoughts and facts for the purpose of
holding them fast and preventing their escape into the dim region
of forgetfulness, has been much resorted to by thoughtful and
studious men.  Lord Bacon left behind him many manuscripts entitled
"Sudden thoughts set down for use."  Erskine made great extracts
from Burke; and Eldon copied Coke upon Littleton twice over with
his own hand, so that the book became, as it were, part of his own
mind.  The late Dr. Pye Smith, when apprenticed to his father as a
bookbinder, was accustomed to make copious memoranda of all the
books he read, with extracts and criticisms.  This indomitable
industry in collecting materials distinguished him through life,
his biographer describing him as "always at work, always in
advance, always accumulating."  These note-books afterwards proved,
like Richter's "quarries," the great storehouse from which he drew
his illustrations.

The same practice characterized the eminent John Hunter, who
adopted it for the purpose of supplying the defects of memory; and
he was accustomed thus to illustrate the advantages which one
derives from putting one's thoughts in writing:  "It resembles," he
said, "a tradesman taking stock, without which he never knows
either what he possesses or in what he is deficient."  John Hunter-
-whose observation was so keen that Abernethy was accustomed to
speak of him as "the Argus-eyed"--furnished an illustrious example
of the power of patient industry.  He received little or no
education till he was about twenty years of age, and it was with
difficulty that he acquired the arts of reading and writing.  He
worked for some years as a common carpenter at Glasgow, after which
he joined his brother William, who had settled in London as a
lecturer and anatomical demonstrator.  John entered his dissecting-
room as an assistant, but soon shot ahead of his brother, partly by
virtue of his great natural ability, but mainly by reason of his
patient application and indefatigable industry.  He was one of the
first in this country to devote himself assiduously to the study of
comparative anatomy, and the objects he dissected and collected
took the eminent Professor Owen no less than ten years to arrange.
The collection contains some twenty thousand specimens, and is the
most precious treasure of the kind that has ever been accumulated
by the industry of one man.  Hunter used to spend every morning
from sunrise until eight o'clock in his museum; and throughout the
day he carried on his extensive private practice, performed his
laborious duties as surgeon to St. George's Hospital and deputy
surgeon-general to the army; delivered lectures to students, and
superintended a school of practical anatomy at his own house;
finding leisure, amidst all, for elaborate experiments on the
animal economy, and the composition of various works of great
scientific importance.  To find time for this gigantic amount of
work, he allowed himself only four hours of sleep at night, and an
hour after dinner.  When once asked what method he had adopted to
insure success in his undertakings, he replied, "My rule is,
deliberately to consider, before I commence, whether the thing be
practicable.  If it be not practicable, I do not attempt it.  If it
be practicable, I can accomplish it if I give sufficient pains to
it; and having begun, I never stop till the thing is done.  To this
rule I owe all my success."

Hunter occupied a great deal of his time in collecting definite
facts respecting matters which, before his day, were regarded as
exceedingly trivial.  Thus it was supposed by many of his
contemporaries that he was only wasting his time and thought in
studying so carefully as he did the growth of a deer's horn.  But
Hunter was impressed with the conviction that no accurate knowledge
of scientific facts is without its value.  By the study referred
to, he learnt how arteries accommodate themselves to circumstances,
and enlarge as occasion requires; and the knowledge thus acquired
emboldened him, in a case of aneurism in a branch artery, to tie
the main trunk where no surgeon before him had dared to tie it, and
the life of his patient was saved.  Like many original men, he
worked for a long time as it were underground, digging and laying
foundations.  He was a solitary and self-reliant genius, holding on
his course without the solace of sympathy or approbation,--for but
few of his contemporaries perceived the ultimate object of his
pursuits.  But like all true workers, he did not fail in securing
his best reward--that which depends less upon others than upon
one's self--the approval of conscience, which in a right-minded man
invariably follows the honest and energetic performance of duty.

Ambrose Pare, the great French surgeon, was another illustrious
instance of close observation, patient application, and
indefatigable perseverance.  He was the son of a barber at Laval,
in Maine, where he was born in 1509.  His parents were too poor to
send him to school, but they placed him as foot-boy with the cure
of the village, hoping that under that learned man he might pick up
an education for himself.  But the cure kept him so busily employed
in grooming his mule and in other menial offices that the boy found
no time for learning.  While in his service, it happened that the
celebrated lithotomist, Cotot, came to Laval to operate on one of
the cure's ecclesiastical brethren.  Pare was present at the
operation, and was so much interested by it that he is said to have
from that time formed the determination of devoting himself to the
art of surgery.

Leaving the cure's household service, Pare apprenticed himself to a
barber-surgeon named Vialot, under whom he learnt to let blood,
draw teeth, and perform the minor operations.  After four years'
experience of this kind, he went to Paris to study at the school of
anatomy and surgery, meanwhile maintaining himself by his trade of
a barber.  He afterwards succeeded in obtaining an appointment as
assistant at the Hotel Dieu, where his conduct was so exemplary,
and his progress so marked, that the chief surgeon, Goupil,
entrusted him with the charge of the patients whom he could not
himself attend to.  After the usual course of instruction, Pare was
admitted a master barber-surgeon, and shortly after was appointed
to a charge with the French army under Montmorenci in Piedmont.
Pare was not a man to follow in the ordinary ruts of his
profession, but brought the resources of an ardent and original
mind to bear upon his daily work, diligently thinking out for
himself the rationale of diseases and their befitting remedies.
Before his time the wounded suffered much more at the hands of
their surgeons than they did at those of their enemies.  To stop
bleeding from gunshot wounds, the barbarous expedient was resorted
to of dressing them with boiling oil.  Haemorrhage was also stopped
by searing the wounds with a red-hot iron; and when amputation was
necessary, it was performed with a red-hot knife.  At first Pare
treated wounds according to the approved methods; but, fortunately,
on one occasion, running short of boiling oil, he substituted a
mild and emollient application.  He was in great fear all night
lest he should have done wrong in adopting this treatment; but was
greatly relieved next morning on finding his patients comparatively
comfortable, while those whose wounds had been treated in the usual
way were writhing in torment.  Such was the casual origin of one of
Pare's greatest improvements in the treatment of gun-shot wounds;
and he proceeded to adopt the emollient treatment in all future
cases.  Another still more important improvement was his employment
of the ligature in tying arteries to stop haemorrhage, instead of
the actual cautery.  Pare, however, met with the usual fate of
innovators and reformers.  His practice was denounced by his
surgical brethren as dangerous, unprofessional, and empirical; and
the older surgeons banded themselves together to resist its
adoption.  They reproached him for his want of education, more
especially for his ignorance of Latin and Greek; and they assailed
him with quotations from ancient writers, which he was unable
either to verify or refute.  But the best answer to his assailants
was the success of his practice.  The wounded soldiers called out
everywhere for Pare, and he was always at their service:  he tended
them carefully and affectionately; and he usually took leave of
them with the words, "I have dressed you; may God cure you."

After three years' active service as army-surgeon, Pare returned to
Paris with such a reputation that he was at once appointed surgeon
in ordinary to the King.  When Metz was besieged by the Spanish
army, under Charles V., the garrison suffered heavy loss, and the
number of wounded was very great.  The surgeons were few and
incompetent, and probably slew more by their bad treatment than the
Spaniards did by the sword.  The Duke of Guise, who commanded the
garrison, wrote to the King imploring him to send Pare to his help.
The courageous surgeon at once set out, and, after braving many
dangers (to use his own words, "d'estre pendu, estrangle ou mis en
pieces"), he succeeded in passing the enemy's lines, and entered
Metz in safety.  The Duke, the generals, and the captains gave him
an affectionate welcome; while the soldiers, when they heard of his
arrival, cried, "We no longer fear dying of our wounds; our friend
is among us."  In the following year Pare was in like manner with
the besieged in the town of Hesdin, which shortly fell before the
Duke of Savoy, and he was taken prisoner.  But having succeeded in
curing one of the enemy's chief officers of a serious wound, he was
discharged without ransom, and returned in safety to Paris.

The rest of his life was occupied in study, in self-improvement, in
piety, and in good deeds.  Urged by some of the most learned among
his contemporaries, he placed on record the results of his surgical
experience, in twenty-eight books, which were published by him at
different times.  His writings are valuable and remarkable chiefly
on account of the great number of facts and cases contained in
them, and the care with which he avoids giving any directions
resting merely upon theory unsupported by observation.  Pare
continued, though a Protestant, to hold the office of surgeon in
ordinary to the King; and during the Massacre of St. Bartholomew he
owed his life to the personal friendship of Charles IX., whom he
had on one occasion saved from the dangerous effects of a wound
inflicted by a clumsy surgeon in performing the operation of
venesection.  Brantome, in his 'Memoires,' thus speaks of the
King's rescue of Pare on the night of Saint Bartholomew--"He sent
to fetch him, and to remain during the night in his chamber and
wardrobe-room, commanding him not to stir, and saying that it was
not reasonable that a man who had preserved the lives of so many
people should himself be massacred."  Thus Pare escaped the horrors
of that fearful night, which he survived for many years, and was
permitted to die in peace, full of age and honours.

Harvey was as indefatigable a labourer as any we have named.  He
spent not less than eight long years of investigation and research
before he published his views of the circulation of the blood.  He
repeated and verified his experiments again and again, probably
anticipating the opposition he would have to encounter from the
profession on making known his discovery.  The tract in which he at
length announced his views, was a most modest one,--but simple,
perspicuous, and conclusive.  It was nevertheless received with
ridicule, as the utterance of a crack-brained impostor.  For some
time, he did not make a single convert, and gained nothing but
contumely and abuse.  He had called in question the revered
authority of the ancients; and it was even averred that his views
were calculated to subvert the authority of the Scriptures and
undermine the very foundations of morality and religion.  His
little practice fell away, and he was left almost without a friend.
This lasted for some years, until the great truth, held fast by
Harvey amidst all his adversity, and which had dropped into many
thoughtful minds, gradually ripened by further observation, and
after a period of about twenty-five years, it became generally
recognised as an established scientific truth.

The difficulties encountered by Dr. Jenner in promulgating and
establishing his discovery of vaccination as a preventive of small-
pox, were even greater than those of Harvey.  Many, before him, had
witnessed the cow-pox, and had heard of the report current among
the milkmaids in Gloucestershire, that whoever had taken that
disease was secure against small-pox.  It was a trifling, vulgar
rumour, supposed to have no significance whatever; and no one had
thought it worthy of investigation, until it was accidentally
brought under the notice of Jenner.  He was a youth, pursuing his
studies at Sodbury, when his attention was arrested by the casual
observation made by a country girl who came to his master's shop
for advice.  The small-pox was mentioned, when the girl said, "I
can't take that disease, for I have had cow-pox."  The observation
immediately riveted Jenner's attention, and he forthwith set about
inquiring and making observations on the subject.  His professional
friends, to whom he mentioned his views as to the prophylactic
virtues of cow-pox, laughed at him, and even threatened to expel
him from their society, if he persisted in harassing them with the
subject.  In London he was so fortunate as to study under John
Hunter, to whom he communicated his views.  The advice of the great
anatomist was thoroughly characteristic:  "Don't think, but TRY; be
patient, be accurate."  Jenner's courage was supported by the
advice, which conveyed to him the true art of philosophical
investigation.  He went back to the country to practise his
profession and make observations and experiments, which he
continued to pursue for a period of twenty years.  His faith in his
discovery was so implicit that he vaccinated his own son on three
several occasions.  At length he published his views in a quarto of
about seventy pages, in which he gave the details of twenty-three
cases of successful vaccination of individuals, to whom it was
found afterwards impossible to communicate the small-pox either by
contagion or inoculation.  It was in 1798 that this treatise was
published; though he had been working out his ideas since the year
1775, when they had begun to assume a definite form.

How was the discovery received?  First with indifference, then with
active hostility.  Jenner proceeded to London to exhibit to the
profession the process of vaccination and its results; but not a
single medical man could be induced to make trial of it, and after
fruitlessly waiting for nearly three months, he returned to his
native village.  He was even caricatured and abused for his attempt
to "bestialize" his species by the introduction into their systems
of diseased matter from the cow's udder.  Vaccination was denounced
from the pulpit as "diabolical."  It was averred that vaccinated
children became "ox-faced," that abscesses broke out to "indicate
sprouting horns," and that the countenance was gradually
"transmuted into the visage of a cow, the voice into the bellowing
of bulls."  Vaccination, however, was a truth, and notwithstanding
the violence of the opposition, belief in it spread slowly.  In one
village, where a gentleman tried to introduce the practice, the
first persons who permitted themselves to be vaccinated were
absolutely pelted and driven into their houses if they appeared out
of doors.  Two ladies of title--Lady Ducie and the Countess of
Berkeley--to their honour be it remembered--had the courage to
vaccinate their children; and the prejudices of the day were at
once broken through.  The medical profession gradually came round,
and there were several who even sought to rob Dr. Jenner of the
merit of the discovery, when its importance came to be recognised.
Jenner's cause at last triumphed, and he was publicly honoured and
rewarded.  In his prosperity he was as modest as he had been in his
obscurity.  He was invited to settle in London, and told that he
might command a practice of 10,000l. a year.  But his answer was,
"No!  In the morning of my days I have sought the sequestered and
lowly paths of life--the valley, and not the mountain,--and now, in
the evening of my days, it is not meet for me to hold myself up as
an object for fortune and for fame."  During Jenner's own life-time
the practice of vaccination became adopted all over the civilized
world; and when he died, his title as a Benefactor of his kind was
recognised far and wide.  Cuvier has said, "If vaccine were the
only discovery of the epoch, it would serve to render it
illustrious for ever; yet it knocked twenty times in vain at the
doors of the Academies."

Not less patient, resolute, and persevering was Sir Charles Bell in
the prosecution of his discoveries relating to the nervous system.
Previous to his time, the most confused notions prevailed as to the
functions of the nerves, and this branch of study was little more
advanced than it had been in the times of Democritus and Anaxagoras
three thousand years before.  Sir Charles Bell, in the valuable
series of papers the publication of which was commenced in 1821,
took an entirely original view of the subject, based upon a long
series of careful, accurate, and oft-repeated experiments.
Elaborately tracing the development of the nervous system up from
the lowest order of animated being, to man--the lord of the animal
kingdom,--he displayed it, to use his own words, "as plainly as if
it were written in our mother-tongue."  His discovery consisted in
the fact, that the spinal nerves are double in their function, and
arise by double roots from the spinal marrow,--volition being
conveyed by that part of the nerves springing from the one root,
and sensation by the other.  The subject occupied the mind of Sir
Charles Bell for a period of forty years, when, in 1840, he laid
his last paper before the Royal Society.  As in the cases of Harvey
and Jenner, when he had lived down the ridicule and opposition with
which his views were first received, and their truth came to be
recognised, numerous claims for priority in making the discovery
were set up at home and abroad.  Like them, too, he lost practice
by the publication of his papers; and he left it on record that,
after every step in his discovery, he was obliged to work harder
than ever to preserve his reputation as a practitioner.  The great
merits of Sir Charles Bell were, however, at length fully
recognised; and Cuvier himself, when on his death-bed, finding his
face distorted and drawn to one side, pointed out the symptom to
his attendants as a proof of the correctness of Sir Charles Bell's

An equally devoted pursuer of the same branch of science was the
late Dr. Marshall Hall, whose name posterity will rank with those
of Harvey, Hunter, Jenner, and Bell.  During the whole course of
his long and useful life he was a most careful and minute observer;
and no fact, however apparently insignificant, escaped his
attention.  His important discovery of the diastaltic nervous
system, by which his name will long be known amongst scientific
men, originated in an exceedingly simple circumstance.  When
investigating the pneumonic circulation in the Triton, the
decapitated object lay upon the table; and on separating the tail
and accidentally pricking the external integument, he observed that
it moved with energy, and became contorted into various forms.  He
had not touched a muscle or a muscular nerve; what then was the
nature of these movements?  The same phenomena had probably been
often observed before, but Dr. Hall was the first to apply himself
perseveringly to the investigation of their causes; and he
exclaimed on the occasion, "I will never rest satisfied until I
have found all this out, and made it clear."  His attention to the
subject was almost incessant; and it is estimated that in the
course of his life he devoted not less than 25,000 hours to its
experimental and chemical investigation.  He was at the same time
carrying on an extensive private practice, and officiating as
lecturer at St. Thomas's Hospital and other Medical Schools.  It
will scarcely be credited that the paper in which he embodied his
discovery was rejected by the Royal Society, and was only accepted
after the lapse of seventeen years, when the truth of his views had
become acknowledged by scientific men both at home and abroad.

The life of Sir William Herschel affords another remarkable
illustration of the force of perseverance in another branch of
science.  His father was a poor German musician, who brought up his
four sons to the same calling.  William came over to England to
seek his fortune, and he joined the band of the Durham Militia, in
which he played the oboe.  The regiment was lying at Doncaster,
where Dr. Miller first became acquainted with Herschel, having
heard him perform a solo on the violin in a surprising manner.  The
Doctor entered into conversation with the youth, and was so pleased
with him, that he urged him to leave the militia and take up his
residence at his house for a time.  Herschel did so, and while at
Doncaster was principally occupied in violin-playing at concerts,
availing himself of the advantages of Dr. Miller's library to study
at his leisure hours.  A new organ having been built for the parish
church of Halifax, an organist was advertised for, on which
Herschel applied for the office, and was selected.  Leading the
wandering life of an artist, he was next attracted to Bath, where
he played in the Pump-room band, and also officiated as organist in
the Octagon chapel.  Some recent discoveries in astronomy having
arrested his mind, and awakened in him a powerful spirit of
curiosity, he sought and obtained from a friend the loan of a two-
foot Gregorian telescope.  So fascinated was the poor musician by
the science, that he even thought of purchasing a telescope, but
the price asked by the London optician was so alarming, that he
determined to make one.  Those who know what a reflecting telescope
is, and the skill which is required to prepare the concave metallic
speculum which forms the most important part of the apparatus, will
be able to form some idea of the difficulty of this undertaking.
Nevertheless, Herschel succeeded, after long and painful labour, in
completing a five-foot reflector, with which he had the
gratification of observing the ring and satellites of Saturn.  Not
satisfied with his triumph, he proceeded to make other instruments
in succession, of seven, ten, and even twenty feet.  In
constructing the seven-foot reflector, he finished no fewer than
two hundred specula before he produced one that would bear any
power that was applied to it,--a striking instance of the
persevering laboriousness of the man.  While gauging the heavens
with his instruments, he continued patiently to earn his bread by
piping to the fashionable frequenters of the Pump-room.  So eager
was he in his astronomical observations, that he would steal away
from the room during an interval of the performance, give a little
turn at his telescope, and contentedly return to his oboe.  Thus
working away, Herschel discovered the Georgium Sidus, the orbit and
rate of motion of which he carefully calculated, and sent the
result to the Royal Society; when the humble oboe player found
himself at once elevated from obscurity to fame.  He was shortly
after appointed Astronomer Royal, and by the kindness of George
III. was placed in a position of honourable competency for life.
He bore his honours with the same meekness and humility which had
distinguished him in the days of his obscurity.  So gentle and
patient, and withal so distinguished and successful a follower of
science under difficulties, perhaps cannot be found in the entire
history of biography.

The career of William Smith, the father of English geology, though
perhaps less known, is not less interesting and instructive as an
example of patient and laborious effort, and the diligent
cultivation of opportunities.  He was born in 1769, the son of a
yeoman farmer at Churchill, in Oxfordshire.  His father dying when
he was but a child, he received a very sparing education at the
village school, and even that was to a considerable extent
interfered with by his wandering and somewhat idle habits as a boy.
His mother having married a second time, he was taken in charge by
an uncle, also a farmer, by whom he was brought up.  Though the
uncle was by no means pleased with the boy's love of wandering
about, collecting "poundstones," "pundips," and other stony
curiosities which lay scattered about the adjoining land, he yet
enabled him to purchase a few of the necessary books wherewith to
instruct himself in the rudiments of geometry and surveying; for
the boy was already destined for the business of a land-surveyor.
One of his marked characteristics, even as a youth, was the
accuracy and keenness of his observation; and what he once clearly
saw he never forgot.  He began to draw, attempted to colour, and
practised the arts of mensuration and surveying, all without
regular instruction; and by his efforts in self-culture, he shortly
became so proficient, that he was taken on as assistant to a local
surveyor of ability in the neighbourhood.  In carrying on his
business he was constantly under the necessity of traversing
Oxfordshire and the adjoining counties.  One of the first things he
seriously pondered over, was the position of the various soils and
strata that came under his notice on the lands which he surveyed or
travelled over; more especially the position of the red earth in
regard to the lias and superincumbent rocks.  The surveys of
numerous collieries which he was called upon to make, gave him
further experience; and already, when only twenty-three years of
age, he contemplated making a model of the strata of the earth.

While engaged in levelling for a proposed canal in Gloucestershire,
the idea of a general law occurred to him relating to the strata of
that district.  He conceived that the strata lying above the coal
were not laid horizontally, but inclined, and in one direction,
towards the east; resembling, on a large scale, "the ordinary
appearance of superposed slices of bread and butter."  The
correctness of this theory he shortly after confirmed by
observations of the strata in two parallel valleys, the "red
ground," "lias," and "freestone" or "oolite," being found to come
down in an eastern direction, and to sink below the level, yielding
place to the next in succession.  He was shortly enabled to verify
the truth of his views on a larger scale, having been appointed to
examine personally into the management of canals in England and
Wales.  During his journeys, which extended from Bath to Newcastle-
on-Tyne, returning by Shropshire and Wales, his keen eyes were
never idle for a moment.  He rapidly noted the aspect and structure
of the country through which he passed with his companions,
treasuring up his observations for future use.  His geologic vision
was so acute, that though the road along which he passed from York
to Newcastle in the post chaise was from five to fifteen miles
distant from the hills of chalk and oolite on the east, he was
satisfied as to their nature, by their contours and relative
position, and their ranges on the surface in relation to the lias
and "red ground" occasionally seen on the road.

The general results of his observation seem to have been these.  He
noted that the rocky masses of country in the western parts of
England generally inclined to the east and south-east; that the red
sandstones and marls above the coal measures passed beneath the
lias, clay, and limestone, that these again passed beneath the
sands, yellow limestones and clays, forming the table-land of the
Cotswold Hills, while these in turn passed beneath the great chalk
deposits occupying the eastern parts of England.  He further
observed, that each layer of clay, sand, and limestone held its own
peculiar classes of fossils; and pondering much on these things, he
at length came to the then unheard-of conclusion, that each
distinct deposit of marine animals, in these several strata,
indicated a distinct sea-bottom, and that each layer of clay, sand,
chalk, and stone, marked a distinct epoch of time in the history of
the earth.

This idea took firm possession of his mind, and he could talk and
think of nothing else.  At canal boards, at sheep-shearings, at
county meetings, and at agricultural associations, 'Strata Smith,'
as he came to be called, was always running over with the subject
that possessed him.  He had indeed made a great discovery, though
he was as yet a man utterly unknown in the scientific world.  He
proceeded to project a map of the stratification of England; but
was for some time deterred from proceeding with it, being fully
occupied in carrying out the works of the Somersetshire coal canal,
which engaged him for a period of about six years.  He continued,
nevertheless, to be unremitting in his observation of facts; and he
became so expert in apprehending the internal structure of a
district and detecting the lie of the strata from its external
configuration, that he was often consulted respecting the drainage
of extensive tracts of land, in which, guided by his geological
knowledge, he proved remarkably successful, and acquired an
extensive reputation.

One day, when looking over the cabinet collection of fossils
belonging to the Rev. Samuel Richardson, at Bath, Smith astonished
his friend by suddenly disarranging his classification, and re-
arranging the fossils in their stratigraphical order, saying--
"These came from the blue lias, these from the over-lying sand and
freestone, these from the fuller's earth, and these from the Bath
building stone."  A new light flashed upon Mr. Richardson's mind,
and he shortly became a convert to and believer in William Smith's
doctrine.  The geologists of the day were not, however, so easily
convinced; and it was scarcely to be tolerated that an unknown
land-surveyor should pretend to teach them the science of geology.
But William Smith had an eye and mind to penetrate deep beneath the
skin of the earth; he saw its very fibre and skeleton, and, as it
were, divined its organization.  His knowledge of the strata in the
neighbourhood of Bath was so accurate, that one evening, when
dining at the house of the Rev. Joseph Townsend, he dictated to Mr.
Richardson the different strata according to their order of
succession in descending order, twenty-three in number, commencing
with the chalk and descending in continuous series down to the
coal, below which the strata were not then sufficiently determined.
To this was added a list of the more remarkable fossils which had
been gathered in the several layers of rock.  This was printed and
extensively circulated in 1801.

He next determined to trace out the strata through districts as
remote from Bath as his means would enable him to reach.  For years
he journeyed to and fro, sometimes on foot, sometimes on horseback,
riding on the tops of stage coaches, often making up by night-
travelling the time he had lost by day, so as not to fail in his
ordinary business engagements.  When he was professionally called
away to any distance from home--as, for instance, when travelling
from Bath to Holkham, in Norfolk, to direct the irrigation and
drainage of Mr. Coke's land in that county--he rode on horseback,
making frequent detours from the road to note the geological
features of the country which he traversed.

For several years he was thus engaged in his journeys to distant
quarters in England and Ireland, to the extent of upwards of ten
thousand miles yearly; and it was amidst this incessant and
laborious travelling, that he contrived to commit to paper his
fast-growing generalizations on what he rightly regarded as a new
science.  No observation, howsoever trivial it might appear, was
neglected, and no opportunity of collecting fresh facts was
overlooked.  Whenever he could, he possessed himself of records of
borings, natural and artificial sections, drew them to a constant
scale of eight yards to the inch, and coloured them up.  Of his
keenness of observation take the following illustration.  When
making one of his geological excursions about the country near
Woburn, as he was drawing near to the foot of the Dunstable chalk
hills, he observed to his companion, "If there be any broken ground
about the foot of these hills, we may find SHARK'S TEETH;" and they
had not proceeded far, before they picked up six from the white
bank of a new fence-ditch.  As he afterwards said of himself, "The
habit of observation crept on me, gained a settlement in my mind,
became a constant associate of my life, and started up in activity
at the first thought of a journey; so that I generally went off
well prepared with maps, and sometimes with contemplations on its
objects, or on those on the road, reduced to writing before it
commenced.  My mind was, therefore, like the canvas of a painter,
well prepared for the first and best impressions."

Notwithstanding his courageous and indefatigable industry, many
circumstances contributed to prevent the promised publication of
William Smith's 'Map of the Strata of England and Wales,' and it
was not until 1814 that he was enabled, by the assistance of some
friends, to give to the world the fruits of his twenty years'
incessant labour.  To prosecute his inquiries, and collect the
extensive series of facts and observations requisite for his
purpose, he had to expend the whole of the profits of his
professional labours during that period; and he even sold off his
small property to provide the means of visiting remoter parts of
the island.  Meanwhile he had entered on a quarrying speculation
near Bath, which proved unsuccessful, and he was under the
necessity of selling his geological collection (which was purchased
by the British Museum), his furniture and library, reserving only
his papers, maps, and sections, which were useless save to himself.
He bore his losses and misfortunes with exemplary fortitude; and
amidst all, he went on working with cheerful courage and untiring
patience.  He died at Northampton, in August, 1839, while on his
way to attend the meeting of the British Association at Birmingham.

It is difficult to speak in terms of too high praise of the first
geological map of England, which we owe to the industry of this
courageous man of science.  An accomplished writer says of it, "It
was a work so masterly in conception and so correct in general
outline, that in principle it served as a basis not only for the
production of later maps of the British Islands, but for geological
maps of all other parts of the world, wherever they have been
undertaken.  In the apartments of the Geological Society Smith's
map may yet be seen--a great historical document, old and worn,
calling for renewal of its faded tints.  Let any one conversant
with the subject compare it with later works on a similar scale,
and he will find that in all essential features it will not suffer
by the comparison--the intricate anatomy of the Silurian rocks of
Wales and the north of England by Murchison and Sedgwick being the
chief additions made to his great generalizations." {20}  The
genius of the Oxfordshire surveyor did not fail to be duly
recognised and honoured by men of science during his lifetime.  In
1831 the Geological Society of London awarded to him the Wollaston
medal, "in consideration of his being a great original discoverer
in English geology, and especially for his being the first in this
country to discover and to teach the identification of strata, and
to determine their succession by means of their imbedded fossils."
William Smith, in his simple, earnest way, gained for himself a
name as lasting as the science he loved so well.  To use the words
of the writer above quoted, "Till the manner as well as the fact of
the first appearance of successive forms of life shall be solved,
it is not easy to surmise how any discovery can be made in geology
equal in value to that which we owe to the genius of William

Hugh Miller was a man of like observant faculties, who studied
literature as well as science with zeal and success.  The book in
which he has told the story of his life, ('My Schools and
Schoolmasters'), is extremely interesting, and calculated to be
eminently useful.  It is the history of the formation of a truly
noble character in the humblest condition of life; and inculcates
most powerfully the lessons of self-help, self-respect, and self-
dependence.  While Hugh was but a child, his father, who was a
sailor, was drowned at sea, and he was brought up by his widowed
mother.  He had a school training after a sort, but his best
teachers were the boys with whom he played, the men amongst whom he
worked, the friends and relatives with whom he lived.  He read much
and miscellaneously, and picked up odd sorts of knowledge from many
quarters,--from workmen, carpenters, fishermen and sailors, and
above all, from the old boulders strewed along the shores of the
Cromarty Frith.  With a big hammer which had belonged to his great-
grandfather, an old buccaneer, the boy went about chipping the
stones, and accumulating specimens of mica, porphyry, garnet, and
such like.  Sometimes he had a day in the woods, and there, too,
the boy's attention was excited by the peculiar geological
curiosities which came in his way.  While searching among the rocks
on the beach, he was sometimes asked, in irony, by the farm
servants who came to load their carts with sea-weed, whether he
"was gettin' siller in the stanes," but was so unlucky as never to
be able to answer in the affirmative.  When of a suitable age he
was apprenticed to the trade of his choice--that of a working
stonemason; and he began his labouring career in a quarry looking
out upon the Cromarty Frith.  This quarry proved one of his best
schools.  The remarkable geological formations which it displayed
awakened his curiosity.  The bar of deep-red stone beneath, and the
bar of pale-red clay above, were noted by the young quarryman, who
even in such unpromising subjects found matter for observation and
reflection.  Where other men saw nothing, he detected analogies,
differences, and peculiarities, which set him a-thinking.  He
simply kept his eyes and his mind open; was sober, diligent, and
persevering; and this was the secret of his intellectual growth.

His curiosity was excited and kept alive by the curious organic
remains, principally of old and extinct species of fishes, ferns,
and ammonites, which were revealed along the coast by the washings
of the waves, or were exposed by the stroke of his mason's hammer.
He never lost sight of the subject; but went on accumulating
observations and comparing formations, until at length, many years
afterwards, when no longer a working mason, he gave to the world
his highly interesting work on the Old Red Sandstone, which at once
established his reputation as a scientific geologist.  But this
work was the fruit of long years of patient observation and
research.  As he modestly states in his autobiography, "the only
merit to which I lay claim in the case is that of patient research-
-a merit in which whoever wills may rival or surpass me; and this
humble faculty of patience, when rightly developed, may lead to
more extraordinary developments of idea than even genius itself."

The late John Brown, the eminent English geologist, was, like
Miller, a stonemason in his early life, serving an apprenticeship
to the trade at Colchester, and afterwards working as a journeyman
mason at Norwich.  He began business as a builder on his own
account at Colchester, where by frugality and industry he secured a
competency.  It was while working at his trade that his attention
was first drawn to the study of fossils and shells; and he
proceeded to make a collection of them, which afterwards grew into
one of the finest in England.  His researches along the coasts of
Essex, Kent, and Sussex brought to light some magnificent remains
of the elephant and rhinoceros, the most valuable of which were
presented by him to the British Museum.  During the last few years
of his life he devoted considerable attention to the study of the
Foraminifera in chalk, respecting which he made several interesting
discoveries.  His life was useful, happy, and honoured; and he died
at Stanway, in Essex, in November 1859, at the ripe age of eighty

Not long ago, Sir Roderick Murchison discovered at Thurso, in the
far north of Scotland, a profound geologist, in the person of a
baker there, named Robert Dick.  When Sir Roderick called upon him
at the bakehouse in which he baked and earned his bread, Robert
Dick delineated to him, by means of flour upon the board, the
geographical features and geological phenomena of his native
county, pointing out the imperfections in the existing maps, which
he had ascertained by travelling over the country in his leisure
hours.  On further inquiry, Sir Roderick ascertained that the
humble individual before him was not only a capital baker and
geologist, but a first-rate botanist.  "I found," said the
President of the Geographical Society, "to my great humiliation
that the baker knew infinitely more of botanical science, ay, ten
times more, than I did; and that there were only some twenty or
thirty specimens of flowers which he had not collected.  Some he
had obtained as presents, some he had purchased, but the greater
portion had been accumulated by his industry, in his native county
of Caithness; and the specimens were all arranged in the most
beautiful order, with their scientific names affixed."

Sir Roderick Murchison himself is an illustrious follower of these
and kindred branches of science.  A writer in the 'Quarterly
Review' cites him as a "singular instance of a man who, having
passed the early part of his life as a soldier, never having had
the advantage, or disadvantage as the case might have been, of a
scientific training, instead of remaining a fox-hunting country
gentleman, has succeeded by his own native vigour and sagacity,
untiring industry and zeal, in making for himself a scientific
reputation that is as wide as it is likely to be lasting.  He took
first of all an unexplored and difficult district at home, and, by
the labour of many years, examined its rock-formations, classed
them in natural groups, assigned to each its characteristic
assemblage of fossils, and was the first to decipher two great
chapters in the world's geological history, which must always
henceforth carry his name on their title-page.  Not only so, but he
applied the knowledge thus acquired to the dissection of large
districts, both at home and abroad, so as to become the geological
discoverer of great countries which had formerly been 'terrae
incognitae.'"  But Sir Roderick Murchison is not merely a
geologist.  His indefatigable labours in many branches of knowledge
have contributed to render him among the most accomplished and
complete of scientific men.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Regulation ...

Regulation to be based on the following assertions:

1) Dynamically Adaptive: with continuous monitoring and feedback.
2) Comprehensive, continuously revised codes of practice exist.
3) All persons in the system on both sides of the equation are incompetent.
4) No approval is based on 100% compliance with the codes of practice.

Assertion one follows from the natural environment being dynamic, and the very presence and action of life in the environment changes the environment. Consequently it is necessary for life to adapt to all changes in the environment if it is to survive. A regulatory system has to regulate, maintain a position of desired equilibrium within the environment of chaos. The acceptable equilibrium position of the system can be variable, it can shift depending on available inputs and accepted outputs.

Assertion three, follows from the fact that "acceptability" is a matter of subjective opinion and judgement, and regulation is imposing the view of one or more persons on the rest of the population. So at any point in time, the population at large is not fully conversant with the imposed regulations, and those imparted with the authority to admininister also not fully conversant with the requirements. This is due to the "requirements" being continuously revised, otherwise being ambiguous, and the intent and purpose not fully disclosed. Further the majority of projects encountered by any individual only involves a subset of the complete code of practice: and each individual has experience based on differing subsets of the total.

When regulations are introduced it is because someone somewhere considers that things should be different. The purpose of the regulation is primarily to control and otherwise change human behaviour, achieve a certain level of consistency and certainty in a world of chaos.

When professions emerge, they are all about they know and others don't. So architects supposedly know better than builders. Engineers supposedly know better than architects. And project managers supoosedly know better than builders, architects and engineers. Its nonsense, because across these professions there is no common core of competency, which is increasing from one profession to the other. A project manager in particular, largely concerned with managing time and money, is likely to get people killed if really needed the competencies of a construction engineer. Where once upon a time, one person took a project from concept to reality, a multitude of people are now involved, and a vast array of professions: all so called expert in something ambiguous and without clear definition. Most professionals themselves don't know what they and only they can provide. Most of which they declare to be unique to their profession, is not unique. When pointed out not unique, they declare they do it better.

Regulatory Systems based on professions and formal education are flawed. Professions are too broad and ambigously defined to form the basis of regulation of something specfic. Formal education provides foundational knowledge, it does not involve practice to the extent to develop the necessary competence and profeciency required for regulation. Regulation needs to be based on Quality Assurance (QA) principles rather than Quality Control (QC) principles. Most existing systems are based on QC principles, that is they are based on inspection of end-product, permit defects to a significant level, and then do something about fixing the defects. A QA system is based on principle that quality has to be designed in, it cannot be inspected in, that the journey is more important than the destination. Something like the old saying: take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. That is monitor the process, and correct small incremental steps of the journey towards the final destination. This is all better achieved if workers have knowledge of the big picture, and the importance of their contribution to the big picture. Each is both a customer and supplier in the industrial foodchain. If the individuals supplies are poor then their customers supplies are also going to be poor.

Our most fundamental law is that concerned with fair trading and the need for goods to be fit-for-function. The problem is that fitness-for-function is a matter of subjective judgement. When failure occurs, the first issue which should be resolved is: did the end-user responsibly assess the suitability of the product for their purpose, was it acceptable for them to take it on good faith that it was suitable for their purpose?

My contention is that the individual should be held accountable first before any supplier. It is getting ridiculous the number of disclaimers and warning notices manufacturers have to place on their products on account of irresponsible people. It is also getting ridiculous on the number of warning notices city councils have to install along with fencing and the likes due to irresponsible people. It is largely irresponsible people playing the system to get rich quick, that causes all the inconvenience for others. It shouldn't be necessary to put signs around stating: don't stand on the edge of the cliff, or stay away from the water. So a fundamental part of a regulatory system is constraining those who would seek to exploit the system for their own benefit at the expense of everybody else.

Speaking of the ridiculous, we are not far from having to put labels on everything: warning: Shark, stay clear off teeth, sharp, very sharp.

To a certain extent professions themselves wish to exploit, when they seek to create legislation which constrains activity to themselves. Rather than bringing benefit to the community it is mostly seen as a nuisance and hindrance. As a consequence people find ways around it, or simply blatantly ignore the legislation and go against it. Registration, protection of professional titles, and licensing all becomes a joke.

We have registration of architects, it mainly protects the title. People think architects design monumental eye-sores of no practical value, consequently they go direct to builders, or to building designers or plan drafters. People think builders charge extortionate fees for no apparent service, hence people become owner-builders. People know what they want in terms of living space, so they think all that is required is to get some plans drawn up and then submit for development approval. Builders may advise that something is impossible, or otherwise quote high prices for the unusual. The result is that owner-builders become the builders of some of the more complex houses, whilst licensed builders construct boxes.

And what is the prime purpose of the builder works contractors act and regulations? Well! It doesn't have much, if anything to do with construction of bridges, water filtration plants, or multistory office buildings. The primary purpose is to protect buyers of houses, who are not considered informed buyers and not considered capable of determining the suitability of persons providing building services, or supplying buildings. it doesn't work, people still get exploited by both licensed and unlicensed builders.

The building works contractors act and regulations provides for two licenses:

1) Building works contractors license (BWC)
2) Building works supervisors license. (BWS)

For the purposes of the act, registered architects are taken as equivalent to building works supervisors. This highlights another potential problem with regulations: excluding appropriate people from the work, or otherwise adding extra costs to their being able to perform the work. There is no mention of engineers, construction engineers, construction managers, or project managers. So these professions will have to get their building works supervisors license if involved in works which may require the license or be found to require the license. Doing so may be difficult, because whilst the legislation defines some qualification framework, and that framework is primarily about supervision of works, in practice licenses are granted to persons with trades certificates. There appears to be no longer any specific requirement to have knowledge about the "construction" of a building and its component parts, nor any extensive knowledge of construction processes. Further there are restricted licenses and general licenses, most only have restricted licenses. So a carpenter has potential to get a license for single storey residential construction without necessarily knowing anything about buildings, other than the timber framing. Their primary task as a building works supervisor is simply to coordinate all the other trades, and largely they rely on the other trades to know what they are meant to do. That basically means the building works supervisor is not an informed buyer. Ah! But should be a building works contractor, shouldn't it?

A building works contractor (BWC) license can be held by either a corporation or a person. A building works supervisor (BWS) license can only be held by a natural person. The BWC has to appoint a BWS. Sole practioners require both a BWC and BWS license. The BWC license is primarily about having financial resources, and the ability to manage cash-flows to start, carry out and complete the works. The BWS license, is about being onsite coordinating and supervising the works. For many of the large builders the BWS, spends most of their time on the road travelling between sites, and consequently not supervising anything. Their role becomes one of QC with lots of rectification work, and consequential delays for new house buyers. And it is often the supposedly un-informed buyers pointing out the defects and demanding rectification: because the BWS was never there to supervise. Which leads to view of extortionate fees for both BWC and BWS, and hence large owner-builder culture. If want it doing right, then do it yourself. So the owner-builder manages their own finances, and otherwise coordinates the services of the sub-contractors, and otherwise relies on them to know their own particular role. Owner-builders not being licensed builders are required to live in their house for a minimum amount of time and are otherwise restricted from building another for a specified length of time.

A few years back, the role of developers was considered, and whether they should be required to have a builders license. I believe the basic argument was it wasn't necessary. Developers generally managing their own finances, or otherwise upto the lending authority to determine if developer able to manage finances. Secondly most otherwise employ the services of BWS, or otherwise coordinate the services of sub-contractors each of which has either a BWS and/or BWC license. For it seems it is possible to operate a business with only a BWS license, on condition not contracting to supply the building works, only to supervise, and the owner otherwise manages the finances, and otherwise all sub-contractors work direct for the owner and have both BWC/BWS licenses. I think its treading a fineline, and a risky approach, but otherwise possible. The issue is that the BWC normally completes a stage of work and gets paid for what they have supplied thus far, if they can manage the stages and cash-flows effectively then they can carry out works far in excess of their financial resources. When working through a BWS only, then the owner has to control the cash-flows and is otherwise responsible for insurance on the building. For the ultimate issue is not whether the owner is happy with the building, but whether the building is suitable for selling to others, and whether or not it poses a hazard or nuisance to the community at large.

Whether constructed by a licensed builder or an owner-builder, a building requires a certificate-of-occupancy before anyone can move in. The certificate-of-occupancy, is issued by a building surveyor (BS) either working for city council or as a private certifier. Building surveyors were once architects or engineers who specialised in the regulations, building surveying is now a profession in its owner right, with its own qualification framework. They now know more about the regulations but less about architecture and engineering: but possibly greater consistency in compliance checking against the regulations.

Any case the certificate-of-occupancy is dependent on certain inspections either by the BS issuing or BWS, or possibly others suitably qualified to ascertain that construction was in accordance with approved documents. When the 1993 Development Act and regulations were being brought in, there were attempts to get each sub-contractor to sign-off on their part of the work, it didn't get very far. On the other hand the principal BWS working for the principal contractor is responsible for accepting or rejecting the work of subcontractors (subbie). So the BWS can sign-off on the subbies work. That is the BWS can implement what ever systems they wish, to safeguard themselves. So principals can exercise more aggressive or assertive practices directed towards the quality of the subbies work. There is a standard form: Statement-of-compliance in the development regulations. This form is to be signed by both the BWS and the building-owner, and completion of such is part requirement before the certificate-of-occupancy can be issued. There are certain stages of work which need to be checked, most especially checking of that work which will be hidden on completion of the building.

Irrespective of what is mandated by regulations or how appallingly it may be administered, especially since 1993 when much of the city council inspections ceased, there is an intent and objective behind the code, and the primary requirement is to demonstrate that a finished building is suitable for purpose. Subject to the occupational, health safety and welfare act (OHS&W) there is also a requirement that the construction processes used are safe and that all industrial plant used is also safe.

The SA OHS&W Act and Regulations may now be obsolete. Not sure whether we have or have not adopted the national system this year, and what changes it makes. Quite frankly I don't really care. OHS&W clearly highlights the stupidity of regulations and regulators: make laws, institute penalties, and keep increasing penalties hoping the problem will go away. The entire solution and focus by OHS&W consultants is to create laws and make penalties greater as a deterant to unsafe practices. Laws and higher penalties doesn't solve anything.

Just take speeding on the roads. The government is annually accused of using speed camera's and handheld radar guns for collecting revenue. The government says not. The equipment is expensive and from overseas, they collect enough from speeding fines to buy more of the equipment.  The government advertising is that "speed kills". If this was true then the police would have a shortage of body bags, not an accumulation of funds to buy more speed camera's. They are accused of using statistics to determine the hotspots where they will generate most revenue. Its a QC approach, break the law, impose the penalty. The penalty just becomes a cost of doing business, or away of life. In the main people don't go out of their way to speed, they just don't pay constant attention to their speedometers. If the real concern was public safety then would take a QA approach and use the statistics to implement solutions which would slow the traffic in the hotspots, and both speeds and revenues would drop.

When it comes to OHS&W, the employers cannot implement safer systems if they just made a massive payout as a penalty. Nor can they implement safer systems if there is no guidance as to what constitutes a safer system. Further if decisions are purely financial, then a monetary penalty just becomes the cost of doing business. If the risk of a penalty is low, because risk of accident is low, and otherwise safer systems are high cost, then unsafe practices will remain. Employees are also partly to blame, which existing OHS&W regulations recognise. For example, employers provide safety glasses, but employees refuse to wear, and employer responsible for making sure they do wear. So if employee gets injured both parties are at fault. But there is another issue, and that is the one sided view of employees, that owners are getting rich whilst they get injured. Not always so, and it ignores the housing, cars and vacations that employees themselves expect to afford. The current workers maybe lucky and able to work safely, but a newcomer may not have such proficiency and luck, and the current workers luck may run-out.

The basic requirement behind all the regulation is that products and processes are suitable for purpose, and that actions taken pose minimum hazard to the community at large. The regulations are in place due to failure of individuals and corporations to exercise due-diligence, exercise a duty-of-care and select suitable products and processes and otherwise minimise risk of hazard. Regulations exist due to a culture of self-interest and not caring about others in the community. Everyone wants the regulations imposed on everyone else, but for themselves to be exempt.

Have a dispute with a neighbour, and one thing they will do is raise an issue with the city council about any building works that have taken place on neighbouring property. A city inspector may come round an inspect or may just get a notice of illegal construction and request to remove or apply for development application. If such happens then need to be able to demonstrate that the existing building complies with the building code. That poses a problem, because many of the required performance criteria are concerned with physical properties of: materials and or component parts of a building. These properties cannot be determined by a visual inspection. Further many things which require a visual inspection are no longer visible in the completed building.

Whether a building or other product, there is much in the finished product relevant to its performance which cannot be assessed by a visual inspection. Engineers coming out, kicking dirt and looking at stuff is largely a total waste of time. There is a need for evidence, real documentary evidence of what has been built. Not some paper shuffling exercise of what should have been built, but what has actually been built.

In the main we in Australia expect to live in a relatively democratic society with reasonably free market. Once again regulation is seen as failing. The competition watchdog, is protecting the wrong thing: it protects competition rather than diversity of suppliers. By protecting competition we allow the big retailers and supermarkets to wipe out local stores, it supposedly brings efficiency and lower prices. Once they attain monopoly, they may then experience penalty. What exactly is the difference between a large national retail corporation and a cartel? The big supermarkets are accused of pressuring farmers and pushing to buy for less than costs to produce.

But what does it cost to produce? One problem with manufacturing has been that protection of local industry dependent on certain productivity gains, but many of the gains claimed were pseudo improvements. There may well be potential in the farming industry to produce for less, but if no pressure to do so, then in the main they won't implement any productivity changes. That suggests that may be competition is required to bring about gains. Personally I don't believe the focus should be on competition, the focus should be on sustaining a diversity of suppliers. Each supplier having a clear differentiation from others. That suppliers focus on added-value and quality, rather than lower prices. The population is not altogether focused on a lower priced basket of goods. The populations focus is being able to afford the goods they need and having some cash to spare for luxuries. The spare cash has been decreasing. If they can get what they need at a lower price and at an acceptable level of quality, they will buy the lower priced goods.

Quality does not equal high performance, it equates to required and accepted performance at the right time. The more expensive product may last longer, but the lower cost product can be bought when needed: less need to save, less need to use a credit card. The added value is not so much in the lower price, but the associated payment schedule and otherwise lack of interest payments. In the long term the higher priced product may be an over all lower cost, but in the short term it is not an attainable goal.

That is where regulation becomes hindering rather than beneficial. Regulation sets performance criteria which whilst low are typically not low enough, and consequently hinder persons in buying goods best suited to their needs. Additionally once in place the performance criteria tend to increase from year to year, making it increasingly difficult for more and more people to obtain that which is suited to their needs. Legislation is primarily to protect buyers from unscrupulous suppliers, but there should still be a responsibility on the part of the buyer to become appropriately informed about the goods and services they propose to use.

The basic decision to buy rather than to make is because do not have time and other resources to do one self, knowledge is typically only a minor reason for choosing to buy. For example cannot perform surgery on yourself, but the doctor should not be so arrogant as to assume only they can understand anything about the operation. Its the patients body that the doctor (sawbones) is going to hack into, the patient has a right to know about the procedure and the objective and intent of the operation. The doctor may spend a long time studying to become a doctor, but they don't spend all that time on a single operation, and the science behind medicine is increasingly becoming common knowledge. Also when it comes to medicine people can grow the ingredients for herbal medicines, they can buy medications from supermarkets, or from pharmacists, or get a prescription from a doctor. They can also try the services of practitioners of alternative medicine.

In the main people have freedom of choice. The issues are:

1) Is the buyer appropriately informed and acting responsibly.
2) Is the supplier acting irresponsible and deliberately misleading.

Now all the law can do is punish after injury, and otherwise seek compensation. What we really want regulation to do is prevent the injury, and avoid the need for compensation. For example the people would rather that the global financial crisis (GFC) did not happen. On the other hand they would also rather that those responsible were punished rather than being given massive payouts. Punishment however doesn't solve the current problem, nor prevent future re-occurrence.

I spend a lot of time dealing with problems caused by a failure to carry out appropriate planning, design and management towards desired objective. Clients bumping into the regulations at the wrong time. Their behaviour is exactly why the regulations emerged in the first place. But the regulations based on QC principles permit far too much progress in the wrong direction before they kick into play.

Whilst I may often consider that my life would be easier if there was more regulation and could spend more time on design and avoiding problems in the first place, I ultimately conclude regulation wouldn't work. We have regulations, they fail, and they fail because we don't have the resources to properly police and enforce. More regulation would require more effort at enforcement.

What we need is less regulation, simpler regulation, more generic. As my dad is always citing, in England they apparently only had one simple driving law: driving without due care and consideration.

In Australia we have road rules which seem to be classified as law: so comes down to arguing technicalities. So lots of articles on current affairs shows about tolerances and accuracy of speedometers and speed cameras. So skip that person wasn't driving without due consideration to other road users: they weren't exactly over the speed limit, not known for certain anyway, therefore can get off paying speeding fine. With simpler law don't care about proving for certain above speed limit, only that they weren't at or below the limit.

Those that argue 10% error in speedometer, only consider one direction, and otherwise tend to be tailgaters. If there is such error, then when speedometer at 60km/hr, then have +/- 6km/hr variation. So vehicle's actual speed could be somewhere between 54km/hr and 66km/hr, a total of 12km/hr difference in speeds. If ask me that's too great an error to be permitted. The person being tailgated at the lower limit, the tailgater attempting to travel at the upper limit, the tailgater using the accelerator rather than the break, trying to pressure the slower vehicle out off the way: basically driving without consideration: driving by instruments rather than with care. Given the actual velocity can be 66km/hr, and the limit is 60km/hr, they have potentially exceeded the speed limit.

There has to be tolerance in regulations to allow for variation. In terms of the speed limit, it is an upper limit, variation is only permitted below never above. But there is an issue on ability to measure. If all instruments have a bilateral error, then at 60km/hr all measurements will indicate a real value which is slightly above the speed limit. Therefore would always have to be driving at less than the speed limit, so that the upper limit on the error is below the mandated speed limit. Such is impractical. It is therefore necessary to specify the method of measurement in particular its accuracy and precision. Is 60.1 km/hr above the limit, or is 60.05km/hr above the limit? What variation will we tolerate?

Most of our codes of practice are distinctly lacking in tolerances, most especially the building code of Australia (BCA). Though there are some general statements about: "to the degree necessary". It then being left as a matter of judgement. The BCA is currently revised each and every year, mostly removing ambiguities, and otherwise explicitly excluding from the scope of the code or otherwise explicitly bringing into the scope of the code. So the majority of buildings do not comply with the current code. All houses built prior to 2012, will not fully comply with BCA:2012, next year houses built this year will not comply with BCA:2013. More than that no house built this year will fully comply with BCA:2012. It will only comply to extent of the assessment made, in the time available. Another person looking at documentation may identify additional issues to be addressed and require design changes to achieve compliance. Another person looking at the actual construction may require additional changes before issuing a statement-of-compliance, compared to the person who issued such statement. 100% inspection seldom ever picks up 100% of defects. So there will always be defects in the design, defects in the documentation of the design, defects in the assessment of the documented design, and defects in the construction, defects in the supply of materials, defects in the inspection of the building at any stage. The ultimate objective is not to get rid of these defects, but to make them so small and insignificant to the extent that the product is robust enough to perform satisfactorily despite the presence of defects.

For me regulation is just a carry over from a culture with a QC mentality. As a culture we haven't really grasped quality assurance, and ISO:9000 series of codes is a relatively poor substitute for real quality, but probably better than nothing. The problem with ISO:9000 is that people have the wrong approach in the first instance: wanting accreditation: is having an accept or reject mentality: and that is something which has to be rejected to implement real quality systems. The implementations end up as bureaucratic paper shuffling, tracking defects produced and laying of blame. In short simply have it nicely documented that the business is defect ridden. Don't buy from ISO:9000 company because likely paying an extortionate amount of money for defects, whether the defects make it to you or not. Further their systems are slow, so a few years down the track, may get a recall, because now discovered supply of defected work. There is no real quality there. Now when start being more rigorous with audits, then get fewer accredited suppliers, but then it starts to become questionable as to whether it really matters. Are you imposing demands so high that shooting self in the foot? Well the answer there is you're not doing it, some third party is, who isn't interested in your needs. With the origin of QA the buyer did the audit of the supplier, the buyer was informed, and for the buyer it was better to improve the quality of suppliers, than to set up and make the component themselves. The buyer invests in the supplier and expects some return on such investment, such as lower supply price. If not then they will achieve the desired economy by making the component themselves. The buyers are therefore informed or capable of becoming informed.

If don't have informed buyers, and not able to properly police the regulations, then no real point to regulations. If must have, then simple and generic is preferable.

A Proposal for building Industry (possibly other areas).

Simply have a register of practitioners. No classification as with the Victorian system. I don't care about job titles of professions. From an industrial engineering viewpoint, I can divide and combine job functions and design a whole new array of occupations and professions, which have potential to do the job more productively and with higher quality than the current array. Such is not a technical problem however, but socio-political. Like engineers don't like being referred to as cogs within the machinery of industrial society. Apparently these employees are something more than a cog. Sorry! but no they are not, all persons operating within the machinery of industrial society are cogs without exception. Breaking free of the machine is extremely difficult if not impossible. Most don't want to break free of the machine, but redesign the machine and build it differently. For example a desire to impose regulation on others, and create exclusive little empires.

So as may have become apparent from other posts, I oppose legislation which restricts supply of services, and therefore I will oppose anything specific about engineers. I don't oppose in terms of approving authority, only in terms of supply of services. So the SA Development Act and Regulations has some activities restricted to persons on the national professional engineers register (NPER). The only issue I have with that, is that currently the assessment process for being on the register is based on largely irrelevant nonsense, and misses the real technical issues why we make reference to NPER. Put simply the legislation can bring us more trouble than benefit.

So my proposal is a simple register, without any prior assessment, there is no implication that those on the register are competent, there is no major restriction of services to those on the register. All persons working for regulating authorities and granting approvals, and all private certifiers, are required to be on the register.

The regulating authorities having jurisdiction, will only accept documents which have been endorsed by a person on the register of practitioners. It doesn't matter what they are, its not on the register. If scribble on the back of an order form by a salesperson, is suitable documentation for a garden shed, then a sales person can be on the register. The issue is when the salesperson submits similar scribble for a large industrial facility. Buyers who choose such approach largely deserve all the hassle they get from the authorities. However it causes a great deal of inconvenience to everyone else in the industry, and other buyers.

It causes inconvenience to other buyers because businesses which supply design services, have to spend their time fixing up other peoples mess. Whilst design consultants are fighting all these regulatory "bushfires", people who are trying to do the right thing are hindered in accessing design services. This results in people considering that seeking approval takes too long, and therefore they go ahead and build without development approval, which then becomes a future regulatory bushfire to put out. So system becomes a self perpetuating lock into fighting fires.

The proposal is hopefully a simple means of breaking out off the current system of endless emergencies all requiring immediate attention.

Its relatively simple in operation. The regulatory authority receives documentation unsuited to the scope of the project. The person who submitted is removed from the project, and a black mark put against their name on the register. Too many black marks they get struck from the register. This does not stop them from supplying, it simply prevents them from endorsing documentation for submission to the regulating authorities. They now require someone else to review their documentation, and endorse before submitting to the regulating authority. The other person has to be a registered practitioner (RP), since they risk being struck from the register for someone else's work, they will need to carry out a thorough review of the work, or insist they do the work themselves.

The consequence of this, is that many cold-formed steel shed suppliers for example will quickly have their salespeople struck from the register as quickly as they were first registered. The sales people will then have to seek the services of other salespeople who have remained on the register, or otherwise seek the services of drafters or engineers. None of which need to be registered, its just faster for all concerned if able to endorse and submit own work, rather than get it reviewed and endorsed by someone else. Owner-builders cannot be registered, but all practitioners in the industry can be registered. Note it is: can be registered, not a requirement.

The only requirement is that documentation submitted for approval is endorsed by a registered practitioner, and that the regulatory approval is granted by someone on the register. Getting on the register being easy, staying on the register difficult.

It also partly assists with respect to those complaining about fees. The plan drafter wins a job, but gets removed by the regulating authority, the job then has to go to someone else, and be reviewed and endorsed by a registered practitioner better suited to the project. If the plan drafter wants to take on more challenging projects and remain registered to pursue simpler projects without hassle of paying someone else to review their work, then they should seek review at the appropriate time. The need for such review becomes an extra expense, and the party providing such review may well be competing for the same work. More likely however, that the party reviewing the work, would never have otherwise been considered, and the work would never have existed. Some projects just need drawing up, and then otherwise should be reviewed and rejected without involving the regulating authorities.

What happens with salespeople, plan drafters and others in the industry, is that by the time a proposal has been bounced back and fourth between the regulating and authorities, and engineering eventually supplied, the proposal is far too expensive for the owner to pay for. Yet they have otherwise wasted money attempting to get regulatory approval. If they do get regulatory approval they also have a limited time in which to complete the approved building works. If it turns out more expensive than anticipated, then may use up all the available time getting approval for additional funding, and thus have to seek regulatory (development) approval again. Alternatively if too expensive, may then expend more time and resources simplifying the design and getting approval again. All of this is really supposed to have occurred before seek approval.

Plan drafters draw up floor plans of what the buyer wants, but it doesn't mean its possible to put walls around the space or roof over it, using conventional building materials and technology as desired and documented. Plan drafters don't design, and they don't assess fitness-for-function of designs against scientific principles, at best they may use prescriptive codes: though in general they have never read any of the codes, don't have the codes, and rely solely on regulating authorities to tell them what to change. It causes unnecessary delay for the buyer, and city councils are blamed for the delay (always changing the rules), making people think that councils are a hindrance. When in reality the plan drafters, builders and many others are the problem, because they don't know the rules: just one solution which sometimes complies with the rules, but not in all situations.

Under the proposal we will still have all the service providers we still have, and the delays experienced will remain. But the delays will now have a cost, for no longer can buyers use the city council building officials as design coordinators, nor as checkers of designs and documentation. However, approval itself should be faster, because the building officials will only be checking suitably documented proposals. That is the documentation received by council will be fit-for-function.

The quality of documentation will improve, hopefully due to more attention to design, and constructing the building on paper rather than: simply putting lines on paper as a token gesture towards representing the proposed intent.

Once the register is in operation some may suggest that registration be limited to those with suitable qualifications, such as building surveyor, architect or engineer, I propose not necessary. The purpose of most  regulation is to achieve minimum compliance for performance of end-products, the quality of service is little considered, that is how the end-product gets the required performance is irrelevant, only that it gets it. Compliance with some wishy washy definition of a profession, or its whimsical capability is of no consequence. Getting on the register is easy, staying on the register is difficult, getting back on the register is impossible or extremely difficult.

Staying on the register requires working within scope of capabilities and sustaining a portfolio of work that gets approval first time every time, with zero to minimalist requests for further information. Getting struck from the register means failed to work within scope of capabilities and work generating an annoying amount of requests for further information on a regular basis. What the annoying amount should be is a matter for determination, but I suggest 3 to 5 black marks against the name on the register, results in being struck off.

Getting back on the register requires working in scope of capabilities, and building a portfolio of work endorsed by a registered practitioner (RP) with little request for further information and little need for revision of the work. That is demonstrating the capability to stay on the register once granted approval to be placed back on the register.

Getting work reviewed and endorsed by an RP costs money each and every time: no regulated fixed fee as there is with development approval. Each and every review and request for further information generates additional cost. Further just as the plan drafters etc.. currently blame the city councils for delays, they will start to blame the RP's for delays. It is therefore not good for the RP's business to do review work for persons who think it is all a game. The RP's could increase costs of review work, to cover the hassle of being taken away from their design work: or simply ask the plan drafter (other) to go away, as not interested in their work as its more trouble than its worth. Increasing fees would simply put the cost of review beyond the capacity of the plan drafter to pay from the fees they earn from their work.

Defining qualifications not necessary, simply have to work within scope of capabilities and otherwise increase capabilities to match scope of work which they attract. As for the regulators, well they have codes of practice to ensure compliance with: they can do it blindly and pedantically, thoughtfully or whimsically. Qualified or not we have no real control over how well they do their job: but they are equally well in a position to be struck from the register.

Once there are two complaints against an RP, then an independent audit of that RP's portfolio of work can be carried out. If found unsatisfactory then the RP can be struck from the register, if that happens and they are on the approval side of the regulations, then they are also in a position where they can loose their job. At the very minimum, demoted and placed under supervision of another RP. New persons for the approval side of the regulations will only be taken from the register, and only after they have had a minimum of 10 years continuous registration. The skills on the approval side should therefore start to improve: no raw graduates with bachelor degrees in building surveying.

It should also be noted that an unofficial independent audit can be carried out at anytime by anyone at a cost. For all that is required is for one RP to get their work reviewed by another RP. For significant and complex projects, this is a desirable approach. Thus whilst one consultant may not win a given project, they may however pick up experience as an independent reviewer. In the market place an independent reviewer can be as harsh as they wish compared to government regulators. Government regulators are seen as obstructive when make harsh assessments. When a business makes a harsh assessment that's what they get paid for, don't like their approach then find someone else. This is not the same situation as private certifier where by cannot remove them from project once appointed. This is an optional and desirable review, and opportunity to see how others in the market work.

Returning to the shed salesperson's scribble again. Their starting point for an RP may be a plan drafter, but the plan drafter refuses to endorse the scribble: it is below the quality of work they normally produce. But the scribble on the back of an order form is all that is required, the problem is the saleperson lost RP status, and now requires an RP to endorse, but cannot find one at the right price and who can produce appropriate documentation in the right time. The shed supplier has a problem to solve. They can adopt computer software to resolve the issue of providing appropriate documentation in a short period of time, but still have an issue of getting an RP to endorse each and every project.

Shed suppliers have a habit of submitting any documentation in convenient reach, and not necessarily relevant to the current project. Further they fail to realise that they are making design decisions and the engineer responsible for the standard calculations is not responsible for the current project. The engineer is not the one who said the design was suitable for the current project, but the salesperson. The salesperson is the one making an assessment of the wind loading at the site and any other conditions. If the building fails, the issue isn't whether the building was suitable for intended purpose but whether it was suitable for the current purpose.

Now the RP endorsing the design for submission to the approving authority is not responsible for the design or its suitability for an intended purpose, they are however responsible for getting it designed to be suitable for intended purpose. Suitability assessed by approving authority is simply compliance with codes of practice. The RP is therefore responsible for employing the appropriate people to achieve a compliant design.

If the shed supplier makes use of software, they still need an RP to endorse that the input/output of the software is relevant to the current project. They therefore really need someone on staff, not an external consultant. They therefore either need a salesmanager who endorses all the proposals before submission to council. Or allocate the task to estimator, material take-off people, or employ appropriately skilled technical person on staff.: such as associate technologist(structures).

The approach is QC, since defects are permitted and penalties imposed. The penalty being: that get struck from register and commercial life is complicated as a consequence. At no stage is anyone identified as more competent and capable. The approving authority simply has a job to do, make an assessment against the approved codes of practice. The applicant for approval has a job to do, produce documentation which argues their case for being granted regulatory (development) approval.

In setting up the register, there is no concern about shortages, there is no concern about numbers to make the register work, there is no concern about the cost of assessing qualifications for there aren't any. Everyone who practices in the building industry (or OHS&W or other area as appropriate) is permitted to register. Most already know what type of projects generate requests for further information from council, and they know who fixes this for them. So it is their own fault if register as RP, and get struck off almost immediately. Setting a minimum period of say 5 years before can get back on the register, will provide some incentive to seek the services of appropriate RP in the first place.

By not setting required qualifications, the register assists industry to determine appropriate education, training and qualifications to suit its particular needs. Thus they train people to suit the scope of work. As the scope of work gets more challenging, the supplier starts interacting with consultants and other specialists. Individual RP's may improve their qualifications and obtain work with the consultants the shed supplier does work with. The shed supplier will then need a new RP. The shed supplier provides experience on simple and relatively repetitive projects from structural design perspective, but this becomes good foundation for designers moving onto more complicated projects. But the opportunity to tackle more complex projects can only be offered elsewhere. In similar manner, many consultancies have little repetitive work on which to develop basic skills to high proficiency, they need people with a higher level of proficiency at entry level positions.

Business can base its job roles on any suitable qualifications it chooses. So when the plan drafter turns up at an RP's office for a review, they can be advised to go elsewhere because they do not meet that businesses requirements for employment as a drafter, and as a consequence it will be a harsh and expensive exercise for them to get endorsement. The result of such behaviour, will be the formation of business networks suitable for particular types of project and providing for at an appropriate level of quality and productivity.

Clearly one shed supplier is not going to get their submissions endorsed by another shed supplier, but neither are they going to go to the big city consulting engineers to get endorsement. There is simply an imposition to rely less on the approving authority to find out what is required, and a need to pay someone to get the documentation right. Getting the documentation right requires technical design skills, not simply drawing skill.

My interest is getting design skills of an appropriate level into industry where they are used, rather than higher skills locked away in large consultancies where the skills are too expensive to buy, for those with the need, because the consultants over estimate their actual contribution, importance and worth to smaller projects.

It is easier to design, than solve problems due to lack of design. It is easier to design and achieve compliance in the first place, than it is to modify existing illegal construction and bring it into compliance.

If regulation is not appropriately policed and people see it as hindrance they will avoid. Regulatory approval needs to be fast, and needs to provide benefit. Approval cannot be fast if people still carrying out design whilst attempting to get approval. Need to get design done before approval is sought. Description of proposal is not design.

With the right regulation will build the skills of the workforce, increase competence, and improve quality and productivity. If implement inappropriate regulations then entry to the workforce, to an occupation becomes too difficult and expensive, and so does starting an alternative business.

Entry easy. Staying difficult. Getting back in, impossible or extremely difficult.

Sun 2012-Sep-16  00:09AM