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This appears to be discussing scope of works, which is an entirely different thing to standards.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone.
It is Invisible, and what's more most of the bigger/more organised/professional units cover much of this ground in their procedures manuals.

I don't personally see what is wrong with the brief and WSI system.
So... heres a puzzler for you... (and I don't see anything wrong with WSI either)

an area of a medieval town is to de developed ... 10m by 40m with a basement

what to ask for.... do you have to be very detailed asking for enviromental (just in case there is a waterlogged well?) what about the requirements for human remains? animal bones... etc....

do you require a full staff list and qualifications ? etc......


you can be assured that for a project like this the level of competance is already set... the actions required in the event of encountering xxx deposits is already set ... etc.....

I too see large companies with 38 page policies and procedures... but... how many times have you been burnt by... You did not specifically ask for that.. so we won't do it... ? And basically we don't have a leg to stand on...

Curatorial Standards are perhaps what are as much under scrutiny as contracting ones... if we all sang from the same songsheet.. that can't be such a bad thing.. instead of relying on the subjective interest/experieince of the curator - we all based our professional judgment on the same group of standards... Which to my money could be just like the IFA ones... after all we are all looking at the same area.. whether from Holland or Greece or UK.

A trench is a trench.... a watching brief is a watching brief a building survey is a building survey.. a land survey....etc....

Or are we suggesting that a dutch trench is somehow different? better/worse than a UK one?

the key words are
"most of the bigger/more organised/professional units cover much of this ground in their procedures manuals."

and that suggests that there are thos that are disorganised, unprofessional and smaller groups that don't know what they are doing, but we (as curators) can't stop them from operating to their own unrecognised 'standards'..

Show me a standard and I will show you 2 more...

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
As already stated standards are not scopes of works - or to be blunt - if you don't ask, you don't get. This is why we have briefs and specs. The responsibility lies with the curator.

As for your example - tell us what you would do? Are you talking about an evaluation? Presumably. Every brief I issue is tailored to that particular site - they're all different. There is no 'one size fits all' solution.

Asking for a full staff list, I would say is both unecessary, unreasonable and unrealistic. Depending on the site - Supervisor/PO upwards will do, plus specialists. Often contractors are that busy or stretched that it is difficult for them even to be sure about this. Why I would want or need to vet the CVs of everybody I don't know. Your experience of contractors must be really bad if you think this level of micro-management is needed.

Most curators know who the bad 'uns are and treat them accordingly. Some developers also seem to be waking up to the fact that cheap ain't necessarily always cheerful either - whether or not they give a stuff about the archaeology.

Half agree.... but would it not be nicer to ask for an evaluation and then be assured that a person with the proper skills will carry out the job using professional judgement... ie... instead of you having to micro manage ... tryiong to think what you might need for every single site... that you could trust contractors to carry out work to a standard... and curators are all acting according to a standard.. ... ?

Tell you which one I would prefer... and thats the concept of being professional I want to see... professional standards, and professiona judgement and most of all... trust.

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
This is not a 'standards' document, this is a quality assurance document (it even says so at the bottom). I am aware of a few units which have ISO9001 quality assurance (I think I got the number correct) and their documents look exactly like this. An organisation I previously worked for had a quality assurance scheme - this was not directed to results, but was simply a method for assessing what had been done, hence all the references to documents and plans being initialled to create an audit trail to assure that the quality manual had been followed.

The IFA documents are standards documents, as are the East of England standards. Possibly the IFA may be considering instituting a quality assurance system such as this for the RAOs.
now your hurting my head... Smile

standard: 1. Guideline documentation that reflects agreements on products, practices, or operations by nationally or internationally recognized industrial, professional, trade associations or governmental bodies. Note: This concept applies to formal, approved standards, as contrasted to de facto standards and proprietary standards, which are exceptions to this concept. 2. An exact value, a physical entity, or an abstract concept, established and defined by authority, custom, or common consent to serve as a reference, model, or rule in measuring quantities or qualities, establishing practices or procedures, or evaluating results. A fixed quantity or quality.

Quality assurance (QA) is the activity of providing evidence needed to establish confidence among all concerned, that quality-related activities are being performed effectively. All those planned or systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements for quality.

They do seem heavily interlinked.. both defining what is and is not 'acceptable' I could argue that the IFA documents are not Standards.. but guidelines... as Standards by definition have to be agreed by all parties.. and although there may be general acceptance.. they are not in any legal definition a 'Standard' the Dutch Document is however a document agreed at govermental level (I think) Surely a standard is something that quality assurance must check... so to have a quality assurance scheme you must have a standard to check against?

Sorry for getting confused on this... but I am concerned that - good as they are - the IFA documents are seen as Standards ... when they are Guidance. A Point that Tim Howard made ... and even the DOcument from Holland starts with the abigious "Standards and Guidance."

To be blunt... as a non RAO.. could you as a curator enforce IFA "standards" if I have not agreed to them?

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
To be blunt ... Yes... If you have stated them in the brief and the WSI produced by the contractor has signalled compliance with the brief and the standards set therein.

"No development shall take place within the area indicated until the applicant has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation which has been submitted by the applicant and approved by the Planning Authority."

In this instance you don't approve the WSI unless it accords with your brief, which states the standards to be complied with.

As far as I am aware the IFA documents are Standards and Guidance - thats what it says on the cover anyway!
I ain't arguing against the current standards (what ever they might be)
I do worry that 'standarsd are not being used equally and with little variation across the UK... where it is dependant on interpretation.

I wonder what people feel is wrong with the Dutch system? and what makes our system better... could it be possible that a merging would help?

"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
There's nothing wrong with the Dutch system as I see it - it's just different. However, I suspect that they have very similar problems to us, and for the same reasons.

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