Engineers never lose sleep or get sued when they over-design plans. Almost all code specifications are set to a minimum of 250 percent of calculated requirements. That sounds sufficient, but based on countless housing units reviewed over the past four years, the thinking in the engineering community must be, “Well, if 250 percent is good, 350 percent must be better.” In Lean, this is called “over-processing.”
No one would ever advocate under-building or going slack on meeting codes in any way, but simply accepting what is given to you without a challenge is guaranteed waste — extra cost with no value.
Try this: Take a unit you plan to build multiple times and give it to your usual engineer. Then give it to three additional engineers. Pay their fees, but tell all four that you’ll pay a $5,000 bonus to the one that comes in with the absolute lowest cost and most efficient engineering while unquestionably meeting all codes. You’ll learn a lot and pay yourself back the bonus fee many times over. Over-engineering is waste, and you may have to shake up your engineers to get a handle on it.