Standards

Posted by Kirsten Gibbs
Last updated 9th November 2021
reading time

  • I'm not sure the plumber appreciated me hanging around to watch.  Not to begin with anyway.

    But by the end of the afternoon, he was glad of it.   Because by then I'd seen for myself how everything went wrong, and more importantly, I knew he was not to blame.

    It wasn't his fault the ducting wouldn't go through the hole.   That was my fault for buying the wrong size - to fit the cooker hood, but not a 'standard' hole.  Although to be fair I didn't know that a) there was a standard hole size and b) that my cooker hood had been built to a different standard.

    It wasn't the plumber's fault that the old tap was so hard to remove.  That was because for some reason the old tap fixings couldn't accommodate a standard worktop depth, so the previous fitting had been slightly bodged.

    It wasn't his fault that the new tap would have to be slightly bodged in the same way, since it was identical, and it certainly wasn't his fault that the lever came off in his hand as soon as he tested it.  That was down to tap manufacturers observing no quality standards at all.

    So all in all, what should have been a straightforward job, turned into a bit of a nightmare, involving the purchase of yet another (different) tap, some new hose, plus additional reducers and fixings, and of course more of the plumber's time and skill (not least that of being a contortionist).

    Will, the plumber, is only young, but even he complained that 'in the old days', everything was manufactured or imported to a British standard, which meant you could rely on the fact that one thing would work seamlessly with another.  You could get most jobs done easily, only the really unusual was tricky.

    That's what standards are for.  To make the usual easy, so you can have imagination and energy to spare to deal with the unusual.

    Having a choice of standards opens up different possibilities.  That's great, as long as everyone states which standard(s) they are working to at any one time.  Otherwise, all you've done is turn the usual into the unusual.

    No wonder we have a productivity problem.

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