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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


STACEY, T.R.. Design - a strategic issue. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2009, vol.109, n.3, pp.157-162. ISSN 2411-9717.

A set of six design principles for rock engineering was developed by Bieniawski: design objectives; minimum uncertainty; simplicity of design components; state-of-the-art practice; optimization; and constructability. These principles translate into a ten-step design process. Although this methodology was developed for rock engineering, it is applicable to any design process, feasibility study, etc. Diligent use of such a process will ensure that a defensible design or evaluation has been carried out. Recently a 'strategic conversation' process has been identified by Ilbury and Sunter that includes the following ten steps: scope; players; rules of the ame; key uncertainties; scenarios; SWOT analysis; options; decisions; measurable outcomes; and meaning of winning. A comparison of these steps with those of the design process shows a remarkable correlation. This is perhaps not surprising since engineering design is a strategic up-front issue, and front end loading in a project is critical to achieve the expected project performance. Based on the close correlation between the strategic conversation and engineering design processes, a circular design process, rather than a linear process, is proposed. The 'circle of design' better reflects the importance of review and monitoring in the two hases of successful design and implementation-defining the design, and executing the design.

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