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Get What You Specify, Not What you Want

September 15th, 2008

As a consulting engineer we recently did a project where the specification
called out asbestos gaskets. Knowing that asbestos has not been used for
years in North America and the fact that the project engineer on the last
project did not want to use them, we assumed that this project engineer
would do the same. We spent some time researching what was used in the past, made up a specification deviation and sent it to the owner. To our surprise he refused the specification deviation as he liked asbestos gaskets and that was what he wanted to use.

This is not an isolated incident and is a problem that all people dealing with
owners have, is what does the owner want? As a service provider, time and
money are wasted when there is confusion and indecision on the owners’
side. People do not know what to do, so nothing gets done. You don’t know
which direction to go, so you spin your wheels. This is not a pleasant position to be in, especially when you figure out one engineers preferences and the next one has different preferences.

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