Debates in Engineering

Debates in Engineering


Like in every field, engineers can disagree on things. These contentious items can lead to debate amongst engineers for what is the best solution or outcome. While not every hot button item effects ORB, we still like to keep up to date with what the latest controversial items are and how they are affecting the engineering field. Here are some of the debates in the engineering field now.

Everyone can be a designer.

With all the software, tools, and DIY articles available online, it makes sense that people have started to assume that anyone can design a house. Anyone can download a free trial of AutoCAD and sketch up their dream home. So, anyone can be a designer. However, engineers have argued against this. While anyone can sketch a though, engineers have the experience, training and knowledge about the minutia of design. They know the building code requirements, the stability of a material, the weak areas of design to be avoided. This debate questions who can call themselves a designer and who is just sketching. It is also in debate because engineers want to keep the professionalism of their field set apart from people who say they are designers but do not have the same education as an engineer.

How to respond to climate change.

Climate change is a divisive topic in many fields. In engineering, there are many facets to the debate. One such element is who should take the lead, governments, individuals, or engineers? “Some built environment specialists say a better understanding of societal needs and desired outcomes could be critical to rethinking infrastructure decisions and reducing carbon.” Who is to determine the path forward? Even if that is established, there is still the issue of designing for climate change but still providing the client with what they want. “In the mainstream architects and engineers see low-energy solutions as risky. Even if they believe that it will cost no more to build and much less to run (in truth, they are rarely fully convinced) they know that it will cost more to design. They simply can’t afford to go the ‘extra mile’ that serious low energy design requires now that their clients have got used to paying cut price fees.” Until society can come up with what they want, engineers must simply follow suit.

Engineering vs. Design Thinking

Engineering typically relies on deductive reasoning, functionality, low-risk tolerance, and rational/predictable agents (steel beams). Whereas Design thinking relies on inductive/abductive reasoning, emotions, user requirements, and irrational/unpredictable agents (people). The question is: which one should be used? The beauty of this debate is most people have decided that both should be used to generate the best outcome. Both processes require critical thinking, observation and research, testing, and relying on data. However, there are still advocates for both side saying theirs is best.

Debate, if done right, can be healthy and lead to new and innovative design solutions. Here at ORB, we rely on the latest information and technology to provide our clients with the best designs available. If you have any questions about how we can help with your design, give us a call today!

More to come soon.