agameinterest
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I hear a lot of people in this forum commenting on engineering, they use the words like design and problem solve and innovate. Most these people think this is what engineering is, the key word here is think, like the key word on most news articles is could. So an engineer designs and a designer engineers? Problem solving is something everyone dose and the same can be said about design. Maybe 200 years ago engineering was like this, most probably.

I work for a large utility company and they have a few contractors so I get to work with a lot of other graduates from outside the business who work for big engineering firms like Atkins, Jacobs and KBR. So I have seen first-hand what they and I experience and like me a lot of them were in shock and upset at the reality of engineering. Some hate it and change paths and others like me try and make the most of it. Thanks to golden handcuffs it’s difficult to leave.

An engineer specifies! To do something innovative where you design something new is expensive, hazardous and has no guarantees. So as an engineer you use known and proven technologies, most the times you copy and paste as this most cost effective with design work. The key word in engineering is standard/standardise. To make sense of this I can give you an example.

Say for a project a process, civil, mechanical and electrical engineer have been asked to design two tanks pumping from one tank to another. Now for the design everything has to be justified and costed. The design also needs to meet several requirement’s that include legal, company standards and industry standards. Some companies are very specific on the requirements and can have standards higher than industry and legal. Some companies specify preferred makes and models of units like pumps and valves.

Now in this project say the process engineer has sized the pipes and pumps (you will have a company guide and tools for sizing these units, again nothing innovative) for the delivery of the fluid to the other tank. In this scenario the second tank the fluid is being delivered to is higher. These sizes are given to the civil engineer who has to design the structure to support the tanks and pipes, mechanical engineer who looks into the pumps and pipe materials and the electrical engineer who will deal with the controls and power to the pumps.

The process engineer has been innovative and sized an exact pipe inner diameter and demands this exact size. This is not a drastic design change but I will explain the challenge with this. The mechanical engineer looks into this, he contacts the preferred manufactured of the company after looking at the standards for what materials are required. He contacts a manufacturing company and asks can you fabricate this pipe for me at this length, to which the company says sure that will £x millions. The mechanical engineer is shocked and asks why it costs that much, to which the company will rely it’s a custom build not an off the shelf pipe at stand size. The civil engineer has the same issue, it’s not to standard size so custom braces are required and for a manufacture to make custom parts is expensive (needs testing and developing and it’s a risk to them). So all these engineers have to orders, unless you have insane sums of monies for that project, standards of the shelf parts.

So all the engineers do is specify using company standards and tools (tools = excel spreadsheet last edited in 1997 with formulas) and then round up/down to the nearest stand sized of the shelf parts required to make this work. This applied to a lot of things from gauge of wire to valve size.

Committees, committees and more committees! Everything is chosen and selected by committees during design and the standards are also generated by committees. All an engineer does is follow stand practices specifying. The technical engineers who install the pumps do some of the more fun jobs while you as a university grade engineer do lots of paper work and checking and double checking and triple checking and reviews and more reviews.



**Golden handcuffs = a high paying job you hate but cannot leave as in another company in the same position you are not guaranteed the same monies. A lot of oil and gas engineering jobs have this syndrome.
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alleycat393
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(Original post by agameinterest)
I hear a lot of people in this forum commenting on engineering, they use the words like design and problem solve and innovate. Most these people think this is what engineering is, the key word here is think, like the key word on most news articles is could. So an engineer designs and a designer engineers? Problem solving is something everyone dose and the same can be said about design. Maybe 200 years ago engineering was like this, most probably.

I work for a large utility company and they have a few contractors so I get to work with a lot of other graduates from outside the business who work for big engineering firms like Atkins, Jacobs and KBR. So I have seen first-hand what they and I experience and like me a lot of them were in shock and upset at the reality of engineering. Some hate it and change paths and others like me try and make the most of it. Thanks to golden handcuffs it’s difficult to leave.

An engineer specifies! To do something innovative where you design something new is expensive, hazardous and has no guarantees. So as an engineer you use known and proven technologies, most the times you copy and paste as this most cost effective with design work. The key word in engineering is standard/standardise. To make sense of this I can give you an example.

Say for a project a process, civil, mechanical and electrical engineer have been asked to design two tanks pumping from one tank to another. Now for the design everything has to be justified and costed. The design also needs to meet several requirement’s that include legal, company standards and industry standards. Some companies are very specific on the requirements and can have standards higher than industry and legal. Some companies specify preferred makes and models of units like pumps and valves.

Now in this project say the process engineer has sized the pipes and pumps (you will have a company guide and tools for sizing these units, again nothing innovative) for the delivery of the fluid to the other tank. In this scenario the second tank the fluid is being delivered to is higher. These sizes are given to the civil engineer who has to design the structure to support the tanks and pipes, mechanical engineer who looks into the pumps and pipe materials and the electrical engineer who will deal with the controls and power to the pumps.

The process engineer has been innovative and sized an exact pipe inner diameter and demands this exact size. This is not a drastic design change but I will explain the challenge with this. The mechanical engineer looks into this, he contacts the preferred manufactured of the company after looking at the standards for what materials are required. He contacts a manufacturing company and asks can you fabricate this pipe for me at this length, to which the company says sure that will £x millions. The mechanical engineer is shocked and asks why it costs that much, to which the company will rely it’s a custom build not an off the shelf pipe at stand size. The civil engineer has the same issue, it’s not to standard size so custom braces are required and for a manufacture to make custom parts is expensive (needs testing and developing and it’s a risk to them). So all these engineers have to orders, unless you have insane sums of monies for that project, standards of the shelf parts.

So all the engineers do is specify using company standards and tools (tools = excel spreadsheet last edited in 1997 with formulas) and then round up/down to the nearest stand sized of the shelf parts required to make this work. This applied to a lot of things from gauge of wire to valve size.

Committees, committees and more committees! Everything is chosen and selected by committees during design and the standards are also generated by committees. All an engineer does is follow stand practices specifying. The technical engineers who install the pumps do some of the more fun jobs while you as a university grade engineer do lots of paper work and checking and double checking and triple checking and reviews and more reviews.



**Golden handcuffs = a high paying job you hate but cannot leave as in another company in the same position you are not guaranteed the same monies. A lot of oil and gas engineering jobs have this syndrome.
Is this general advice or do you have a question?
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Tubbz
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Fill in spreadsheets

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