Engineering and Design
In this article we will talk about the engineering and design in the shipbuilding industry of today. First of all, let's see what exactly the engineering department of the shipyard normally deals with. The engineering department is called upon to aid in preliminary planning due principally to the numerous applicable rules and regulations which must be satisfied and to the complexity of both yard and ship-board equipment, it is important to note that new regulations.
These rules and regulations would normally include internationally recognized regulatory documents published by such entities as, for example, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) and the U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) and many others, have greatly increased the amount of engineering work necessary for both the preliminary and final designs of the ship. Engineering works are normally started at the earliest possible time, even before schedules are prepared. That is very important for the smooth engineering design and subsequent construction of the vessel.
The extent and thoroughness of engineering work done on contract plans and technical specifications by the owner or the owner's design agent varies considerably, and this can markedly influence the engineering effort required by the building yard. The ship building yards are often required to make an independent weight estimate and to conduct basic design studies which will enable the drawing room to develop working plans and the purchasing department to proceed with ordering component parts.
The shipyard drafting department prepares detail working plans of the future ship and also develops bills of material. Plan schedules are prepared which list the plans that shall be developed and scheduled dates for start and completion, approval, and yard issue. The lead time required to order materials will often determine the start date of drawings. Whenever material, including steel, is in short supply, or whenever there is a likelihood of a long delivery period, orders are often placed before plan approval.
This, of course, is done at the shipyard's risk. Design changes are inevitable as the design develops and during construction. These changes can affect schedules, procurement, and even the ship's delivery date. Changes affecting the ship's weight, center of gravity, or cubic must be reviewed to determine their influence on the ship's characteristics. The effect of such changes and related costs must be acceptable to all interested parties before the changes are authorized.
However, most shipbuilding contracts require that the shipbuilder, without prior agreement on cost, put in hand those changes, identified as the so-called Essential Changes, which commonly result from applicable rules and regulations which were not in effect at the time of contract signing. Any addition or change by either the ship owner or ship builder should obviously be brought forward at the earliest possible time to allow enough time for their proper review.
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