Type 1 Errors

Type 1 Error: A error in design and/or implementation that costs you time, energy and money as long as it remains present in the system.

This post is a running list of Type 1 errors that I continually add to as I experience them or create them myself. Hopefully you can use this list to help vet your design and implementation decisions before you make the error!

Type 1 Design Process Errors

  1. Failure to plan out your design process prior to beginning it.
    • Begin with a framework, edit the plan as you execute it.
    • Failure to plan the process = starting with details before pattern. Critical things will be missed, and their absence will compound in the design until it is realized, hopefully before it is irreversible!
  2. Details before pattern.
    • Have the discipline to write down your idea and save it for when it is appropriate. Larger patterns inform the smaller details! Small details scaled up to broad pattern without knowledge of the whole create unproductive chaos and fragmented focus.
  3. Failing to design in options.
    • More likely than not, something you design and implement will have to be re-designed and re-implemented – oh so rarely is it perfect the first time! Make sure to design in options to retrace your steps, rebuild, and reboot! You’ll see plenty more concrete examples of this (videos too!) in the more specific sections below.

Type 1 Animal System Errors

  1. Placing feeding/sleeping/watering areas downslope from manuring areas.
    • Gravity always works.

Type 1 Earthworks Errors

  1. Constructing earthworks without adequate spillways for handling overflow.
    • Run your numbers! Know your catchment area, know your max events, then build for something way bigger than that.
  2. Putting the spillway on the dam wall.
    • Yes, I’ve seen this, and its now an 8′ deep headcut one heavy storm away from completely ruining the water impoundment!

Type 1 Infrastructure/Built Environment Errors

  1. Placing thermal mass where it will be cold when you want it to  be warm, and warm when you want it to be cold.
    • You will always be fighting this with either time, effort, money or all three at once!
    • Know your sun angles, where they are at different times of year when you want a heating or cooling effect.
  2. Building in a flood plain.
    • ‘Nuff said.
  3. Lack of easy access to mechanical items that need physical tending to ensure proper function.
    • Don’t put your pig nipples so far inside the pen that you have to climb the fence everyday to check if they are working or not (been there, done that!).
  4. Burying pipe when you don’t have to.
    • Either 1) don’t dig a trench if you don’t have to,  or 2) leave that trench open as long as you can – i.e. the system is running and functioning as intended for a while before you fill it in.
    • Document, label, and map which pipes are which and what they do before they get covered up! Measure key intersections of the buried line from permanent landmarks in case you have to get down there again someday!
  5. Constructing PVC piping that requires cutting PVC to repair critical parts!
    • When linking numerous specialized pieces of irrigation equipment together (i.e. check valve -> pressure reducer -> bi-directional valve -> Mazzei Injector -> Master AC Valve etc.) make sure you can remove critical expensive pieces without having to cut them out! Use unions whenever possible, especially around the more pricey items like filters and electric valves to make that repair following a freeze-induced burst of a sonic weld SO much easier and quicker.

Type 1 “Invisible Structures” Errors

  1. Making verbal agreements without ultimately getting them in writing.
    • Human beings are forgetful creatures.
  2. Failure to delineate procedures for handling disagreement before it even happens.
    • Establish co-owned principles held by decision makers within a given whole that guide how decisions are made. Do this work at the beginning of any large project or undertaking. See The Chaordic Stepping Stones for one possible process to guide you through this.
  3. Lack of clear understanding between all parties of expectations (for behavior, contribution, communication etc.).
    • Write down expectations. Ensure they are heard and understood. Assume nothing!

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