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EngiCom TechMentors: Developing Engineering Design Skills As A Young Engineer by Engr Adewale Adeniyi


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On the 5th of July 2020, The Foundation for Innovative Technologies and Engineering for Community Development (EngiCom) webinar series had the privilege of hosting one of the leading engineers in the country and the most encouraging when it comes to developing the young engineers in the engineering community – Engr. Adewale Adeniyi.

Background of Engr. Adewale

Engr. Adewale is a seasoned mechanical engineer who currently works as a project engineer/manager at Pivot-GIS (Honeywell Group). He has over nine years of experience in industrial maintenance, engineering design, fabrication, construction, and project management. He is a graduate of mechanical engineering at Rufus Giwa Polytechnic in Ondo  state. He is a registered Project Management Professional (PMP).

You’ll agree with me (or don’t) that engineering as a profession revolves around quite a lot of things but at the heart of these things is “engineering design”. Design in engineering is one of the major ways used in solving real-world problems and to improve existing solutions. This is just a basic understanding of one of the things engineering design aims to achieve. Unfortunately, as important as it is, most young engineers (undergraduates and graduates) do not really have a fundamental understanding of engineering design.

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This is why the EngiCom Tech Mentors, )a project of Foundation for Innovative Technology and Engineering for Community Development,)  team came up with the solution to host an event to address this by inviting Engr. Adewale to speak to the young engineers who signed up for Developing Engineering Design Skills As A Young Engineer webinar.

Engr. Adewale who has a wealth of knowledge in the fundamentals, principles, and application of engineering processes came to the webinar fully ready to impact the knowledge that he has to the young engineers present in the meeting.

He started by explaining what engineering design is. According to Engr. Adewale;

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Engineering Design

“Engineering Design is a specific set of steps engineers use to organize their ideas and refine potential solutions to engineering challenges”.

As you can see it doesn’t really differ that much from normal design and human-centered design for example in the sense that its aim at the end of the day is to solve problems.

He presented some of the challenges that engineers face when it comes to engineering design. Some of these include:

  •         Invention
  •         Complete new design or re-engineering (plant, infrastructure, facilities, etc.)
  •         Modification of an existing system (plant, infrastructure, facilities, etch on a greenfield or a brownfield)
  •         Connection to an existing system (systems integration)
  •         New product design (No manufacturing hubs in Nigeria)
  •         Design of a process (production lines, construction, installation, etc.)
  •         Job design (ergonomics, anthropometrics

He also stated that during the engineering design process, a few key factors are taken into consideration. Some of which include;

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  • Functionality
  • Fit for purpose
  • Safety (people and environment)
  • Weigh control, materials conservation
  • Cost
  • Reliability
  • Risk reduction
  • Economic and market analysis
  • Serviceability, marketability, compliance issues, constructability
  • Availability of materials
  • Manpower/expertise
  • Compliance (regulatory and statutory)
  • Cost analysis (MTO comparisons)
  • Component materials manufacturers catalogs etc.

Given that every decision made during engineering design is important and has future repercussions, special care is taken to gather all necessary information before moving forward. Some of the information and data required are;

  •         Codes of standards (specification)
  •         Regulatory documents
  •         Reports
  1.       Geotechnical reports
  2.       Geophysical reports
  3.       Metrological reports
  4.       Bathymetry reports
  •         Catalogues
  •         Development of design basis


The reason why so much data and information is gathered during the design stage is that with engineering, little mistakes could result in catastrophic events. An example of these types of failures that could result from these “little” mistakes include;

o   Burst

o   Collapse

o   Rupture

o   Creeping

o   Buckling

o   Sagging

o   Crash

o   Mechanical Damage

o   Explosion

These mistakes or failures in constructing the designs can be analyzed in engineering design and systems put in place to withstand the forces that are responsible for them. Failures are caused as a result of the application of forces or a combination of forces that are beyond the capacity of the system.

Some of these forces include;

  1.       Tension
  2.       Compression
  3.       Shear
  4.       Torsion
  5.       Bending

Now imagine a situation where bending forces and compressions forces are acting on a body, the magnitude of failure is higher than when each of them is acting alone. These failure modes have the potentials to cause damage to people and the environment.

Some tests can be conducted on materials to be used for building or construction of an engineering piece. These could range from mechanical tests like hardness tests, tensile tests, Charpy impact tests. Heat treatment tests like hardening, annealing, tempering, softening could also be performed on the materials as well.

All these tests are done to determine the factor of safety of a system.


Factor of Safety (FoS) is a measure of the reliability of a particular design. In engineering, a Factor of Safety (FoS) also known as and used interchangeably with Safety Factor (SF) expresses how much stronger a system is than it needs to be in an intended load. Safety factors are often calculated using detailed analysis because comprehensive testing is impractical on many projects, such as bridges and buildings but the structure’s ability to carry a load must be determined to a reasonable accuracy.

Factor of Safety can also be strictly defined as the ratio of a structure’s absolute strength (structural capability) to the actual applied load.

It can also be defined as the required margin of safety for a structure or component according to code, law, or design requirements.

Calculation Example:

When the maximum strength is 120N, the design load is 100N. Find the factor of safety.


Given the definition above from the ratio, we have our factor of safety by dividing the maximum strength by the design load which gives us 1.2.

These days, there are hardly any systems that are purely based on one engineering discipline (e.g. purely mechanical systems, purely electrical systems). Various disciplines are involved in designing a system these days. Disciplines like Process, Mechanical, Civil and Structural, Electrical and Instrumentation, Corrosion, etc. All these disciplines interface on a typical design project. (Output of A is input to B).


Standards can be defined as a set of technical definitions and guidelines – simply a “how-to” instructions for designers and manufacturers. It gives all the necessary requirements for the product, service, and operation.

When government bodies adopt the standard and become legally enforceable or when it has been incorporated into a business contract, the standard will become a code.

Specifications provide specific/additional requirements for the materials, components or services that are beyond the code or standard requirements. For example, if you wanted A106 Gr B pipe with a maximum carbon of 0.23% against standard requirements of 0.3% max, you have to specify your requirement in your specification or purchase order.

Specification is generated by private companies to address additional requirements applicable to a specific product or application. It allows the purchaser to include special requirements as per design and service condition. It allows customizing of your product.

Some of the typical standards are;

  •         ISO
  •         ASME
  •         DNV
  •         API
  •         ASTM
  •         NACE
  •         BS
  •         ANSI e.g. ASME B31.3:2015, API 650, DNV-OS-F101 (Always note the dates)


The documents required or needed during this stage are exhaustive and detailed; they include:

  • Deliverables lists and man-hours computations
  • Engineering interface documents
  • Development of procedures, calculations notes, drawings etc.
  • Engineering control
  • Design reviews
  • Document control
  • Interface management
  • Design basis
  • Procedures
  • Specifications
  • Calculations notes (Excel, Mathcad, Spreadsheets)
  • Design results reports (need to know technical reporting)
  • Datasheets (process, mechanical, electrical)
  • Computer-aided design/drafting

o   Engineering drawings

o   General arrangements, sectional views, exploded views, views, layouts

o   Bill of quantities (BOQ)

o   Engineering simulations (static and dynamic simulations)

o   Shop drawings (working drawings)

o   3D modeling (requirements – functional, construction, installation, commissioning)

  • Material take-off
  • Material requisition


Engineering design has an order to it and it makes things quite orderly to follow along. The design process listed chronologically are;

  1.       Problem definition
  2.       Information gathering
  3.       Identify criteria
  4.       Conceptual stage (development of different options and selecting the best)
  5.       Front End Engineering (developing multiple solutions)
  6.       Determining the budget
  7.       Detailed engineering
  8.       Analyze, test and implement


Terms and codes used in the revision of deliverables in engineering design are important and are useful to track the changes and progression during the different stages of the deliverables. Some of these are;

  •         IDC – Issued for Discipline Checks – 20%
  •         IFR – Issued for Client Review 40%
  •         IFC – Issued for Construction – 60%
  •         AFC – Approved For Construction (This is issued to construction contractors by clients)


An engineering interface management process on a project streamlines communications, identifies critical interfaces and monitors ongoing work progress while mitigating risks. It is also used for the listing of interface data as well as sample interface register.


o   Drafting – AutoCAD

o   3D Modeling – AutoCAD, Plant3D, etc.

o   Design & Management Systems – PDMS, BIM


o   FEA – (analysis of stresses and strain), static and dynamic simulations – SACS, REVIT, ABAQUS, CEASAR etc.

o   Supports – EDMS, MS Suites.

Software specialties include infrastructures, trusses, beams, pipelines, pipes, tanks, etc.


At the end of the day, we all need to define the role we want to play in engineering design, some of us already have an inkling where we want to belong but I believe the list below showing the areas available and the competencies needed to get into these particular opportunities will become clearer after this session.

  1.       Oil and Gas, Built Environment, Manufacturing
  2.       Design Engineers – Discipline-Based, Technical
  3.       CAD Engineers – Discipline-Based, Technical
  4.       Project Planner – Technical and Management
  5.       Project Engineer – Technical and Management
  6.       Project Manager – Technical, Management, and Leadership

Some of the other support functions include

  • Document Controllers
  • Cost Controllers

The session ended with Engr. Adewale giving his thanks for being allowed to share his insights (even though I believe it should be the other way around though), he also stressed the need for young engineers to “prioritize experience over monetary gain at the early stages of their career” as it will shape their future in the industry.

Closing remarks were given by Prof. Ademola Adisa Bello and Dr. Agbomerie Charles Odijie.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Charles gave kudos to Engr. Adewale for being generous with his knowledge. He said as a young engineer it is important to specialize in one field as it is not possible for one person to do everything in engineering.

Prof A.A Bello asked the young engineers present during his closing remarks not to be scared and that big things start with little things.

He also said; “the first step is to be in line and have the mindset that you want to do it, once you have that, the attitude is one hundred percent then you go on to do anything you want.”

He also thanked everyone for being a part of the meeting.

The hosts of the webinar Ayobami Ogundairo and Anthony Oyakhilome closed the webinar and thanked everyone for attending the session.

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