Instructions for the Director of Naval Construction

From The Dreadnought Project
Jump to: navigation, search

Instructions for the Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty.

September, 1912

1. The Director of Naval Construction will be responsible to the Board for the efficient performance of the duties of his Department. he will be directly responsible to the Third Sea Lord for all matters of design, stability, strength of construction, and for the weights built into the hulls of ships and boats, including masting, torpedo, and electric light apparatus, and all nautical apparatus, whether building in the Dockyards or by contract; also for gun mountings and torpedo mountings to the extent that all questions relating to their introduction, changes of pattern, alteration, &c. will be referred to him by the Director of Naval Ordnance for his concurrence, before they are submitted to the Third Sea Lord. All drawings and specifications connected with ordnance and torpedo mountings are to be signed by him and the Director of Naval Ordnance.

2. The Director of Naval Construction is to submit to the Third Sea Lord all detailed plans affecting the stability, strength, speed, immersion, protection, arrangement of armament, fuel and ammunition services, fire control, ventilation, accommodation, navigating arrangements and generally all plans of importance affecting the qualities of the ship and her control. If the detailed plans affect in any way the qualities of the ship or entail any alteration in the design approved by the Board, a clear statement as to the effect of such alteration is to be made by the Director of Naval Construction when submitting them.

3. He and his representatives will visit and survey the various ships and the structural drawings in progress at the Dockyards and elsewhere, as he may consider necessary, to enable him to satisfy himself that the designs are being carried out in all their details to his satisfaction.

4. No alteration in or addition to the original designs of any ship as approved by the Board is to be made without the approval of the Third Sea Lord.

5. The Director of Naval Construction will be responsible for keeping the records of the matèriel of foreign navies.

6. The experimental works at Haslar will be under his direction.

7. The Director of Naval Construction will be jointly responsible with the Director of Naval Ordnance, for the design and manufacture of gun-mountings, and for the mechanical arrangements connected with the supply and fitting of torpedo apparatus, and electric lighting of ships or boats.

8. He will consult the Engineer-in-Chief in matters affecting the machinery to be fitted in ships projected or under construction.

9. The Director of Naval Construction and the members of his professional staff will devote all their time to the work of designing, to the supervision of designs, and to the performance of the duties indicated in paragraph 1, and in Appendix A. The Director of Naval Construction will have no responsibility for the administrative work of the sub-department of the Superintendent of Construction Accounts and Contract Work, and will not, therefore, be required to interfere in these details.

10. On the application of the Superintendent of Construction Accounts and of Contract Work, the Director of Naval Construction is to furnish him with such outline particulars of the weights of structure, weights and description of various kinds of armour, &c., proposed for new designs as may be sufficient to serve as the basis of financial provision to be submitted for approval, and for the preparation of schedules of instalments.

11. The Director of Naval Construction may sign correspondence with the Dockyards or other Admiralty Establishments at home and abroad, or with individual officers of H.M. Navy or Civil Service, on matters relating exclusively to the duties of his Department, but all correspondence communicating Board decisions, or relating to important questions of principle, or affecting other Departments, is to be in the name of the Board, and is to be signed by the Secretary.

12. Nothing contained in these instructions shall modify the direct responsibility of the Director of Naval Construction that the vessel realizes the intention of the design as approved by the Board, or the procedure which has been laid down by the Board with regard to the preparation of designs of H.M. Ships. A copy of the Board Minutes prescribing the procedure to be followed is attached to the instructions (Appendix B).

 By Command of Their Lordships,

 W Graham Greene


September, 1912.[1]


(1) Preliminary discussions as to qualities to be secured in the designs of ships and boats.

(2) Submission of outline and final designs.

(3) Reports from Naval Attachés, Director of Intelligence Division, or other sources, on foreign navies and vessels projected by foreign countries.

(4) Reports on comparisons between qualities and performances of completed ships, and the intentions of the design.

(5) Approximate estimates of cost, which should accompany designs for consideration of the Board.

(6) Preparation of building drawings and specifications.

(7) Proposals of information of machinery contractors so far as they affect work on ships, weights, and positions of centre of gravity.

(8) Inclining experiments and calculations for stability.

(9) Experiments on models of ships.

(10) Speed trials and their analysis.

(11) Design of propellers, in conjunction with the Engineer-in-Chief.

(12) Examination of designs submitted by private firms.

(13) Record and tabulation of weights bearing on designs, alterations, and additions.

(14) Examination and approval or amendment of structural details as indicated on working drawings.

(15) Examination and approval or amendment of working drawings for fittings and accommodation.

(16) Examination of returns of weights worked into ships during construction, when launched, or on further stages of advancement.

(17) Examination of proposals for alterations and additions to ships, including special reports from fleets, and reports and recommendations thereon.

(18) Examination of and reports on returns of sailing qualities of ships, of returns on rolling of ships, and of weights of ships.

(19) Examination of reports on turning trials, and of reports on steam trials, and remarks thereon for the information of the Board.

(20) Any proposed technical revision of the forms of contract and conditions of tendering.

(21) Preparation and revision of technical instructions for building ships, boats, &c.

(22) Circulars relating to change of practice in building and fitting ships, boats, &c.

(23) Inventions relating to ship propulsion, shipbuilding materials, armour and equipment.

(24) Preparation of plans for alterations required in ships purchased for Admiralty service, and records of particulars of ships.

(25) The standardization of fittings and appurtenances of ships, so far as the designs and detailed working drawings are concerned.

(26) The designs of boats of all classes and of floating docks.

(27) Questions of design, improvement or modification in manufacture by contract of materials, fittings, or equipment required in H.M.'s ships building by contract or in dockyards.

(28) In addition to the foregoing there are many other subjects which will fall to be dealt with by the Director of Naval Construction which have a more or less direct bearing upon the design and strength of ships, boats, &c.

(Board Minutes, 15 Feb. 1887, 5 Dec. 1887, 28 Mar. 1901.)

1. When a design for a ship is required, the Third Sea Lord, acting under the general direction of the First Lord, will, after conferring with the First Sea Lord, and obtaining his written approval as to speed, armament and complement, instruct the Director of Naval Construction to prepare a sketch design for consideration embodying such features as may have been decided on by the First Sea Lord and Third Sea Lord.

2. The Director of Naval Construction, after conferring with and obtaining the opinion in writing of the Director of Naval Ordnance and the Engineer-in-Chief, as to the armament and machinery respectively, is to prepare a sketch which shall be submitted to the Third Sea Lord, who will bring the same before the Board.

3. If the sketch design is generally approved by the Board, orders will be given by the Third Sea Lord that the design is to be worked out in detail, or modified with a view to its ultimate adoption.

4. The Director of Naval Construction will, in consultation with the Director of Naval Ordnance and the Engineer-in-Chief, complete the design and submit it with a full and careful description of the expected qualities and capabilities of the ship to the Third Sea Lord, by whom it will be sent to the Secretary for circulation to the several members of the Board,* before being considered at a Board Meeting.

After a design has been approved by the Board, and has received the Board Stamp, no alteration or addition either in hull, machinery, armament, complement of men, boats, or stores, or other detail is to be permitted without the concurrence of the Board.

5. No deviation from the designs approved by the Board is to take place which would in any way affect the immersion of the ship when completed for service.

* In order to prevent delay, this is usually carried out by placing the Plans in the Board Room under lock and key, where they are available whenever required; due notice of their having been so placed of course being given to the members of the Board.


  1. The National Archives. ADM 116/3392.