The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 66 (1988) > Issues > Issue 3 > Discussion on Realising Quality - Checking, Inspection, Training and Assurance by L.J.L. Carvalho, B
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Discussion on Realising Quality - Checking, Inspection, Training and Assurance by L.J.L. Carvalho, B.H. Fisher (F), G. Mills (F), D.W. Quinion (F) and D.H. Stanger

Mr H. B. Gould (F) (Maunsell): The authors who spoke after Bob Fisher have given pretty good answers to many of his criticisms. I think that he was speaking with his tongue in his cheek. To invoke the possibility of legal action in support of an argument of the sort that he has put forward is an old political trick: he puts up a case that has not been made in order to knock it down with his use of Concise Oxford Dictionary to support his definitions. I doubt very much that he uses COD as one of his contractual documents. Would he, for example, avoid using words like ‘dead men’, ‘soldiers’, ‘needles’, ’male and female connections’, ‘saddles’, and so on? These are perfectly good engineering terms, but I do not think he would find an English dictionary that would support his normal engineering use of them. This is as it should be: it is quite customary to vary one’s vocabulary according to one’s readership or audience. When we propose a new procedure, we may need new terms, and we must define them. For quality assurance the definitions are given in BS 4778, a glossary invoked in BS 5750. There it is stated that quality is often used for several distinct purposes: comparative or degree of excellence; quantitative; and fitness for purpose. It goes on to define quality, formally, for the purpose of quality assurance. Here it is given as ‘the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy the given needs’. Bob will not find that in COD. While I am talking about definitions, I might as well quote also the definition to be found in BS 4778 under 5.1.1, ‘Quality assurance’,-’all activities and functions concerned with the attainment of quality’. (It will be noted that I am quoting today from a rather thick book, BSI Handbook 22; it contains all the quality assurance documents produced by BSI having relevance to our operations.)