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"The service life for the xxx system shall be more than twenty years with the need for refurbishment running not less than fifteen years into this period."

What does this sentence exactly mean? I understand the service life has to be more than 20 years, but the part "running not less than 15 years into this period." isn't clear to me. Does it mean that the system has to operate for at least 15 years without refurbishment?

  • It makes no sense. If it means anything then it is that it must need refurbishing from 0 - 15 years but not necessarily after that. Sounds crazy to me. – chasly from UK Apr 3 at 17:30
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So, the main part of that sentence is the first part:

The service life for the xxx system shall be more than twenty years

That part I will assume is clear.

There's then another clause:

with the need for refurbishment running not less than fifteen years into this period

This has the subject "the need for refurbishment", the verb running, and the argument "not less than fifteen years". This suggests that there is some necessity for refurbishment, and that it will apply for at least fifteen years. The "into this period" determines that the fifteen-plus years will start at the same time as the twenty years' service life. That is to say, there will be a need for refurbishment for at least the first 15 years, and potentially longer.

Now, I would look at that and say "what?", because I don't know what sort of refurbishment they are talking about. That's what the overall meaning depends on. It might be that, elsewhere in the requirements, there is stated to be a need for refurbishment to keep the system up with changes in standards. That would mean the system would have to last over 20 years, and it would have to be refurbished to keep up with standards for at least 15 years. There are other possibilities, but that is the one I would consider most likely - but if that is what it means, there would be other things in the document to make that clear(er).

  • Thank you for the explanation, SamBC. There is no more explanation in the specification about "refurbishing" other than here. So the original requirement description isn't clear for anybody, I think. After reconsidering, however, I now think it might mean that refurbishment has to be done at some time within the period of 20- or more year service life, maybe at later time in the first service life, that is for example at 17th or 18th year, and the effect of the refurbishment has to last at least 15 years. Anyway, it would be the best way to ask the author directly, if possible. – yewido Apr 4 at 2:20

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