Construction Safety Management
Ethics is a cornerstone of professional construction practice. This assignment is to help students to gain a better understanding of ethics standards through a real-life case study. This assignment is also an assessment of your written communication skills. Please take the time to write well to ensure a high grade.
Read the attached Ethic Case Study and reference any code of ethics adopted by any professional or trades organization to answer the following questions:
Q1. What is the main ethical issue in the case study? Describe any circumstances to help the reader to fully appreciate the issue.
Q2. What caused the issue/problem in the first place?
Q3. Imagine you are in place of William J. LeMessurier and you have noticed such a flaw after finalization of construction of such a huge civil project.
What will you do? Explain your reasons.
1. You would deny accepting the flaw in your design. It was due to the fact that the construction of this project was finished and it was not possible to return back to engineering stage. Besides, you think that requirements of codes and standards are too meticulous and ask for much safety factor that is not needed in practice. Additionally this project is covered widely in public and it is not wise to panic people with such matters.
2. You would accept the flaw and you decide to abide by the rules. You will discuss the matter with the owners of the project and inform them of this problem. In this case you have given priority to public safety but this matter may damage your professional reputation highly and possibly other owners will not trust your job in the future that can be a big loss from commercial point of view.
Q4. Discuss your rationale for declining the other option.
I. Technical Merit (7 points)
– Q1 & Q2 (300 words minimum)
– Q3 & Q4 (500 words minimum)
II. Writing skill (3 points)
– Use of appropriate grammar & spelling
– Logic structure & development of ideas
Deadline: Please submit your solution in Blackboard (click “Ethics Assignment” link on the left navigation menu) prior to attending the next lecture.
Public Safety In Civil Projects
The 59-story Citicorp Center, one of New York City’s most distinctive skyscrapers, was the brainchild of the structural engineer William J. LeMessurier and the architect Hugh Stubbins, Jr. A deal struck by Citicorp and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, the original landowners, allowed Citicorp to build a structure on the site if it also constructed a church on the northwest corner of the block that would not be connected to the skyscraper in any way. To accommodate this requirement, LeMessurier devised an innovative structure in which the skyscraper rested atop a central core and four immense 114 ft (34.8 m) columns set at the midpoint of each side of the building. This design made it possible for the structure’s corner to be cantilevered over the new church on the northwest, and it created an open plaza on the southwest corner.
LeMessurier’s design also included a unique wind brace system comprising 48 braces arranged in a six-tiered V pattern on each side of the building. The system was intended to enhance the structure’s lateral stability by channeling stress from the building’s corners to the steel support columns at the center of each facade.
In June 1978, one year after construction of the skyscraper was completed, LeMessurier received a call from an engineering student in New Jersey requesting more information about the design. According to the student’s professor, LeMessurier had placed the columns incorrectly. In revisiting his calculations, LeMessurier became aware of a serious flaw in the building’s design.
At the time, New York City’s building code required testing of a building’s resistance only to perpendicular winds. Yet the placement of the support columns at the midpoint of each facade, rather than at the corners, meant that a greater risk to the structure’s stability was presented by diagonal winds. When LeMessurier tested his wind brace system against winds hitting a column at an angle of 45 degrees, he realized that the winds increased the tension in four of the eight affected girders by 40 percent, substantially more than he had anticipated.
The increase in tension on the wind brace system would not have been a significant concern to LeMessurier if he had not recently learned of an on-site modification to his original design. His design had specified that the diagonal girders be welded to the support columns at the center of each facade; however, since welded joints were both expensive and commonly regarded as needlessly strong, LeMessurier’s New York office had approved a change to bolted joints. Even more troubling was the news that while American Institute of Steel Construction specifications required an extra safety margin in the strength of joints in structural columns, the people on LeMessurier’s team had chosen to regard the diagonal braces as trusses, not columns; thus, the number of bolts securing the joints had not provided for this extra margin of strength.
As a result of these design flaws, LeMessurier estimated that the Citicorp Center would be able to withstand only a 16-year storm, not the 50-year storm the building had supposedly been designed for. The design had also included a tuned mass damper, which might have lessened the risk of failure, but the damper relied on electric power and thus would provide no protection in the event of a power outage. With hurricane season on the horizon, LeMessurier believed that the potential for strong diagonal winds presented a significant risk to the newly occupied skyscraper.