It's Obviously the Pantomime Season

  morddwyd 09:07 15 Dec 2012

Flood defences failed because flood sensors were waterlogged due to heavy rain!

Now I would have thought that designers might have taken a damp operating environment into account when designing a flood sensor.

They obviously learned their engineering in a different college to me!

  Quickbeam 09:20 15 Dec 2012

And hindsight is of course behind you...

  Forum Editor 10:05 15 Dec 2012

The sensors involved have already worked twice this year, but quite obviously something went wrong on this occasion. It's easy to sit back and sneer with the benefit of hindsight, but I'm quite sure that there are plenty of engineering glitches we don't hear about because the results aren't so dramatic.

I would have been more concerned had the pumps in this installation failed, but they didn't - a sensor failure meant they weren't activated. The problem will obviously be fixed, but I doubt that news will do much to cheer up the occupants of the fifteen houses that were flooded.

  morddwyd 10:43 15 Dec 2012

"Your engineering college obviously taught you how to use your hindsight effectively."

They also taught me to use my foresight to consider operating environments, such as not choosing a vibration sensor which may be damaged by vibration for use near a railway carriage axle/wheel assembly, like not choosing a heat sensor which may be adversely affected by heat for use in a kitchen, oh yes, and not using flood sensors which may be adversely affected by high rainfall.

"It's easy to sit back and sneer with the benefit of hindsight, "

It's not a matter of sneering with the benefit of hindsight, but criticizing, as a time served engineer, what appears to be a basic design/engineering error.

I am sure that you, in your work for various clients, have come across instances which made you think, if not actually say, "Why in earth was it done that way, what were they thinking of?"

  Aitchbee 11:46 15 Dec 2012

I've attached a little battery operated 'flood' sensor to the inside top rim of a small plastic recepticle which is placed under the waterpipe connections to my washing-machine to collect the intermittent drips; the washers need replacing ... but have put that minor DIY job onto the back burner, for the moment [ ... well for 2 years, actually].

  lotvic 22:59 15 Dec 2012

Quickbeam Oh no it isn't... ;-)

  morddwyd 08:40 16 Dec 2012

“You have no evidence for saying that the designers of this system did not apply foresight.”

Nor did I suggest any such thing. I simply countered your argument that I had only been taught to use hindsight.

“Suppose (and it is only a suppose), the designers looked at higher level protection for the circuitry and concluded that the additional cost would mean deferring another flood defence system nearby? Suppose that by not spending the extra enabling the other scheme to be built, homes were protected that would have been exposed?”

Then you sign the job off with a caveat that the system is not at optimum, instead of allowing people to think they are secure behind a viable flood protection system.

“Suppose, there was a manufacturing fault that resulted in moisture penetration. Do you know any engineer that can design out manufacturing faults within a tight budget?” Yes, most of my contemporaries, who would identify task critical components, and a start up system is certainly that, and design around failure, normally through back up systems, or a critical failure warning system.

  Forum Editor 09:54 16 Dec 2012


"Nor did I suggest any such thing"

Come,come - you'll have to do better than that. You clearly did make an accusation that the designers didn't use foresight.

The flood protection system was extensively tested after it was installed,and it worked perfectly. It was real-world tested twice after that by rising flood waters, and it worked perfectly. In the occasion you mention it didn't work perfectly, and the reason is known. It can, and will be fixed.

It happens -in fact it happens a lot. I was (in a very small way)involved in the Thames flood barrier project, and I clearly remember quite a few engineering glitches occurring before it all worked properly. I'm not suggesting that the flood defence failure was an insignificant event; I feel for those people who live in the 15 flooded homes, but to say (of the engineers involved) "They obviously learned their engineering in a different college to me!" and to title your thread with "It's obviously the pantomime season" without having a clue about the details of the problem was a little silly.

I imagine that the sensor(s) involved were manufactured by a specialist company, and no doubt there will be discussions taking place about who was to blame for the failure. The important thing - far more important than any other considerations - is that it's put right for the future.

  lotvic 11:23 16 Dec 2012

fm, This is the quote from article The sensor had become waterlogged during heavy rainfall, the Environment Agency-commissioned report found.

Ah, but wait, I forgot the fourm member mind reading capabilities.

I won't even trouble to point out anything because your opinion of your superior knowledge of how the world works is unshakeable.

  Forum Editor 11:38 16 Dec 2012


I see you were a 'Nearest and dearest fan' I hope my blouse isn't included.

  lotvic 12:15 16 Dec 2012

fourm member, As you "know what happened" can you tell us why it happened before you jump to the conclusion that it wasn't a design or manufacturing fault?

And please don't start a personal tirade of insults on my abilities or my personal view of the world unless you are willing to accept the same criticisms right back at you.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iPad Air (2019) review

Microsoft Paint's not dead

iMac 27in (2019) review

Les bons plans logiciels et services (2019)