Draft Standards and Liabilities

Do designers required to comply with draft standards in their designs?

This is a dilemma where designer need to face. They will be doomed if implemented but the same results if not. In this end, liabilities still remain on the designer.

Previous court ruling indicated that a judge have decided against a designer for not implementing a draft standard known to the designer during the design stage thus causing an accident or failure of the design.

On the other hand, what if the accident or failure of design was caused by the implementation of a draft standard? Will the judge still judge against the designer? The probability is yes. Why? Draft standards have a note on them which states:

This document is a draft standard and is liable to alteration. It is not regarded to be a standard until finally issued as such.

What if the contents of the draft standard during the design stage will be changed in the final release? Does it mean that the designer is at fault? Your guess will be as good as mine.

What do designer do? Any standards, draft or final released, complied with by the design should be properly documented together with the date of the release. In which case, any court ruling will then be based on the current standard during the design.

This is one of the omission of most designers. I have read specifications indicating the title and number of standards but no dates indicated. If will be impossible to determine which standard release have been complied with during the design.

What if in the absence of a local standard, can an internationally acceptable standard such as the IEEE be used? In my experience and personal opinion, the answer is yes but it will be optional as there is no statutory obligation of the designer to comply with other standards except otherwise specifically stated in local laws and regulations.

About the Author

Ver Pangonilo

A Filipino Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) – Australia and Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) – Philippines with extensive experience in concept select, front-end engineering, HV & LV detail design, construction and commissioning of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Area electrical installations in water and waste water pipeline and pumping facilities, offshore platforms, hydrocarbon process plants and pipelines including related facilities. Hazardous area classification and design certification (UEENEEM015B, UEENEEM016B, UEENEEM017B).

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