When it comes to engineering, there is indeed such a thing as overdoing things. The purpose of engineering, at its most basic, is to try and find simple solutions to complex problems. Over engineering refers to a situation where a design goes way beyond the basic purposes that it is supposed to serve and ends up complicating matters without adding any marginal values compared to what could have been achieved using a simpler engineering design. At its worst, over engineering is not just a waste but could result in actual losses both in financial terms as well as manpower and materials. In short, in the world of engineering, more is not always better and over engineering is something that should be avoided at all costs. It is best to do enough to fulfill the purpose in mind and solve the problem at hand without any need to take things overboard.
Why Should You Avoid Over Engineering?
It might sound like a shoddy or lazy way to do things by deciding to simply do enough and nothing more but, while that may be true in other fields, it is not true for engineering. As an engineer, it is always important to try and avoid over engineering and the best way to do this is to have clear goals and objectives of your engineering project and then find the most efficient solution or path to achieving those goals without trying to do any more than you need to. Below is more specific explanation as to why over-engineering should be avoided at all costs.
Increased project costs
In practically all types of engineering projects, over engineering does, at the end of the day, lead to an increase in the project costs without necessarily offering up any benefits to justify those costs. For starters, if the engineering project happens to be larger than it needs to be then you will use oversized components or too many components and the costs of buying all those extra but unnecessary components only pushes up the costs for no reason. Not to mention that the labor costs associated with such engineering projects will be much higher than the labor costs that would have been incurred by employing smaller engineering designs that are just as effective.
By increasing the complexity of electrical, plumbing or mechanical systems in a building you make their construction may complicated and, by extension, increase the possibility of errors during construction and installation. With too many unnecessary components it is easy to add the useless ones and omit the most useful ones during installation which could end up compromising the effectiveness of the entire system and eventually lead to change orders which will only further increase the costs involved.
This one is more specific to specific systems. In electrical circuits, performance might be increased by over engineering but the costs will also increase so it will be a matter of deciding whether the increased performance really does justify the increased costs. However, in HVAC installations, over-engineering would compromise the performance of the system.