Art of knowing

By Vollie Brink, Pr Eng

They say a good engineer is one who knows what he doesn’t know, but one who knows where to find the information that he doesn’t know.

One crucial element is still necessary: self-study, also called research.
I don’t think many plumbers and engineers know the ‘power’ that they have available to seek and find information.

I received a call from a person who wanted to talk to me about SANS 10252-1. He is an architect and involved with lecturing, but said that he finds SANS 10252-1 difficult to understand. I told him that SANS 10252-1 was not intended as a document for architects; it was developed by engineers as a design manual for engineers.

I also told him that we register engineers in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, and that our Code of Conduct does not allow us to venture into the work of other professions; therefore, we don’t do architectural design and so forth. However, we agreed that you don’t need an engineer to design the services of a house or for straightforward installations — for these, the plumber should be able to do the design and installation, for which his or her training and competency should be sufficient.

The deem-to-satisfy rules have been developed since 1977 to be the guide for the plumber to do the design and installation. The problem is that the boundary between the deem-to-satisfy rules and the engineering design has been eroded, and with the last few revisions, it has become even vaguer, such as that a deem-to-satisfy design shall not allow a gradient of less than 1:60.


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