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Ethics in a downturn
Posted by Tom Wilson:
Quote:quote:'Best Practice', on the other hand, is a fine example of weasel words.
Actually, 'Best Practice' or 'Best Industry Practice' are common terms, which I believe are recognised by contract lawyers. What they generally mean is something along the lines of:

'In line with what is generally accepted as best practice in the industry, even if this means going beyond the actual minimum standard required by any published regulations or guidance'.

What it never means is that it is acceptable to go below published regulations or guidance.

Maybe someone in the know (DrPete?) may have a more authoritative definition.


to let, fully furnished
I have always hated the phrase "best practice".

"Most excellant" practice "to greatest degree" practice is what is should mean.

However the phrase has come to mean something like a standard that is in common useage.

Wikipedia has this to say:
"Best practice is an idea that asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications. Best practices can also be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task, based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time for large numbers of people.
Despite the need to improve on processes as times change and things evolve, best-practice is considered by some as a business buzzword used to describe the process of developing and following a standard way of doing things that multiple organizations can use for management, policy, and especially software systems.
As the term has become more popular, some organizations have begun using "best practices" to refer to what are in fact 'rules', causing a linguistic drift in which a new term such as "good ideas" is needed to refer to what would previously have been called "best practices."

I would say that achieving the best archaeological work by any measure ie perfection is not possible and is something that by definition not everybody can achieve. Best is a relative measure.
In terms of quality of work if a standard is suitably defined why not simply say meeting the required standard - the term minimum implies that you should go beyond the accepted standard. This may or may not be desirable.

I have always taken best practice to mean the best that can be practically achieved in a given set of standards. The best that most practitioners achieve. I would say that this does not necessarily never means is that it is acceptable to go below published regulations or guidance. There may be standards that are impossible to achieve. It should do but it doesnt.

I would avoid it use in contracts for this very reason and in particular if the phrase was not specified at the time of the tender. If I was asked to define the phrase in the context of a contract dispute -I would look at the detail of what was at dispute rather than attempt a general definition.

For example somebody complains that a dba is sub standard and they are not paying for it because the maps in a map regression exercise are not all at the same scale I would say. Pay up. Normal practise is not to do this - it is not specified in a standard - I do it and charge accordingly.

This is a theme I touched on at the BAJR conference I said if half of the work I have produced is considered to be above average I would be happy ie the work I produce is on average the industry norm!

Peter Wardle
(Now back to that boring job rescaling maps!)
The term "Best Practice" is not used in construction contracts - it is meaningless and does not constitute a contract. Wherever applicable a construction contract will refer to specific published codes and standards (EN, BS, CP and so on) that work or materials can be measured against. "Best practice" cannot be defined - whose best practice, and who decides?

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