According to a recent conversation with a potential government client; engineering is probably not design…more of a service.

The context should be explained; an architect designs…which in this case is for a future school and the client is keen to take time over choosing the right architect (the engineer will simply be plucked from the framework pool).

The implication is that an engineer is not part of the design process, has nothing to offer in terms of unique ideas. Perhaps the engineer just waits for a set of architects drawings to appear and then checks that the columns are drawn the right size and the floor the right thickness.

It would be wrong to claim that this situation never happens. In reality it does and many engineers potentially have valid excuses for letting the side down (appointed too late, low fees, dominant architectural vision) but surely to earn our place at the table we must not be afraid to point out bad design or poor decisions…and just as important come up with ideas to solve them. When was the last time you sat back and said nothing?