Choosing a style guide for civil engineering proposals
August 21, 2017 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm create a communications style guide for a civil engineering company, which is mainly for their proposals but will likely be used for other communications. These are proposals for engineering services for municipal, residential, and commercial developments, ranging from 5 - 50 pages. I haven't worked in this field before, so I'm wondering what standard text I should choose as the underlying style reference?

So far I'm considering the Handbook of Technical Communication, but I haven't used it before and would need to get my hands on a copy.

Other options are the Microsoft Manual of Style, which is good and which I've used before but may be too software-centric, and the Chicago Manual of Style, which I also like but may be too complicated and not technical enough.

I'm curious if there's any consensus in the civil engineering field about which style guide to use?

I will be making style decisions and adapting the underlying style guide to the firm's needs, but I'd like to start with a solid foundation. Thanks!
posted by alicat to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I was in environmental consulting, we mostly used the CMS, but left the final call to the technical editor.
posted by suelac at 2:54 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My organization (structural engineering SDO) created their own, borrowing from CMS, a bit of AP, a bunch from ANSI, and some idiosyncratic stuff based on the historic practices of their specific engineering niche.

... Which is I guess s long winded way of saying there isn't a rock-solid preference?
posted by aramaic at 6:15 PM on August 21, 2017

I did find a detailed style guide that is tailored to the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction. It draws on other style guides like the CMS and makes specific recommendations for styles that are best suited to AEC proposals. Super useful!

AEC Grammar and Style Guide for Champion Proposals® by Anna M. Bremmer
posted by alicat at 7:42 AM on November 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

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