Friday, 30 September 2016

There's No Place Like Home

I'm back in Wirksworth after a busy couple of weeks backwards and forwards between Chester University and various places in London.

I have managed to get a bit of real work done, but it's mostly been teaching and working on IChemE business. Even when I've been back in the office, there have been a lot of articles to get out, and the layout book to proofread one more time. After all of my criticism of other's poor proof-reading in past book reviews, I'm now finding out just how hard you have to work to eliminate errors, especially in a big book.

After a bit of time back in Chester, October is going to be proper engineering work, mostly investigations to do with expert witness engagements. It's presently not as crowded as September's schedule has been, but we are often at our busiest at year end, so we will see.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Aaand relax...

I'm glad it's the weekend! The last week's two days in Chester, and two in London(fitting other work in between) make next week's one day in Chester and one in London seem easy. 

I have a couple of magazine articles to send out next week, and a second reading of the docs for an expert report I'm writing, but there's going to be a lot less time in the car and on the train.

The good news about all of that time on the train is that I made good progress on a closer reading of "The Making of an Expert Engineer". Well worth the time. Highly recommended.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Another Busy Week at Expertise Limited

It's been another busy week, with a couple of expert witness jobs running alongside each other, a day in London for the IChemE yesterday, and a hands-on troubleshooting job to do today. Next week is due to be even busier, with more IChemE work, and an advanced expert report writing training course to fit in alongside the engineering and expert witness investigations.

I'm getting lots of new enquiries, including one from Iran, where I haven't worked yet. (Love the food, and their air safety record is getting better all the time) Also firmed up on a visit to Pakistan next year.

Final proofreading of the plant layout book is more than 50% complete, I may even get it to press early. I've made a sound start on the new book, (An Applied Guide to Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Design) maybe 40,000 words of a rough first draft produced. My writing style involves polishing through multiple revisions, so I aim to get a rough draft knocked out very quickly.

I'd have had it done by now if there weren't so much paying work on. You might be under the impression that textbook writing was paying work, but I'm aiming to write five or so, and if I am moderately successful, the income from them will still be a side-line. You have to do it for love of writing and the subject, (and also in my case a chance to interact with fellow engineers)

Friday, 9 September 2016

Water Expert Witness : Expert Notes and Advisory Reports : Cheap and Cheerful?

There isn't always time to write a full Part 35 compliant report in time for the deadlines set by court or legal rules, and recently I have been asked quite a few times to write shorter, less formal advisory reports and notes to inform the judgement of counsel.

It is a way to get the most salient points which stand out from the evidence down in a readily digestible form, though one which is not as defended against cross-examination as the full formal report. It can be good value for instructing solicitors, and as long as well all understand that you get what you pay for, it can be a good place to start.

What you do not get from these kinds of notes and advisory reports is something you can submit to the court, and you also lose nuance. Nuance can be important, but if you case is a slam-dunk for either side, it's best to know that as soon as possible.

I had a new enquiry this week for a new expert witness case in the high court, but most of the new enquiries at the moment are for proper engineering, troubleshooting SAF plants and designing an aeration system, amongst other things.

There isn't that much new in sewage treatment, as I was telling some lawyers yesterday. The activated sludge process was developed over 100 years ago, by Lockett and Ardern in Davyhulme, Manchester (UK), and the first large scale trickling filter was installed in the US around the same time, (at least according to Americans) based on the development of designs by British engineers.

There may not be much novelty, but we are still working on fully understanding the technologies we have. Sewage treatment is very complicated. You might be wise to save money by reducing the scope of your instructions to an expert, but you should never compromise on the quality of your expert. There's no such thing as a cheap engineer!


Thursday, 1 September 2016

Busy: Booked Solid for September

I'm all booked up for September now. Two expert witness jobs, two troubleshooting jobs, three magazine articles to write, five days of university teaching, and I'm making a start on my third book whilst proof-reading the second. I've also got a couple of IChemE meetings in London, and an expert witness CPD course. I have had to ask for an extension on my PhD submission to fit it all in. 

The third book is called "An Applied Guide to Water and Effluent Treatment Plant Design", and it is going to be written in the informal style of the first one. Once the spike of work is out of the way, I'm looking forward to enjoying writing is as much as I did the first one.

I'm really proud of the book I'm presently proof-reading, "Plant Layout". The more formal style and sheer size (1000 pages +) of the book have meant that there has been far more QA, rewriting and revising than there has been free-flowing writing, but the finished product is gorgeous, if I do say so myself. I have high hopes for it.