L. Introduction The Citron Center , today known as the Citreous Center, is one of the most identifiable characteristics of the New York City skyline. The story of Citron Center’s structural engineer, William Limburgers Is a very enlightening story In engineering ethics and very educational to every design engineer . In fact, El Measurer Inventive use and postulations of the big columns bent a “design marvel” (Hegiras) , but those very fundamentals might have been the source for a collateral disaster and engineering scandal.
Capitalizing on good fortune, the ruinous end of Limburgers reversion was prevented and, as a substitute, his importance in the design professional society increased to new heights. In this essay we shall examine how El Messier failed or succeeded to abide by the legal responsibilities and the ethical codes of engineering. II. Ethics I. Professional ethics When designing buildings, engineers are obliged to follow the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSP) canons of ethics. (Accreditation Board of Engineers and Technology, 1977) On one hand, El Messier didn’t completely abide to them in the Citron case.
According to the first canon, engineers should prioritize the safety, health and elf of the public in every design. El Messier disregarded this code by not putting the columns at the corners of the building, knowing that the unconventional design weakens and threatens the sustainability of the structure. (Kramer, 2002) Even though this was done for the ethical reason of not destroying a church as explained earlier, public safety should be the first and most important thing to account for.
Also, the welfare of the public was put at stake since, when the misconceptions were discovered, the risks weren’t revealed to the public until the problem was solved in order to prevent collateral panic. In addition, El Measurer was not fully faithful to his clients as he TLD know about the subcontractor’s declension to change the Joints from welded to bolted. Considering he was the engineer responsible for the construction, he should have been informed about each and every detail regarding the building. His negligence contradicts the canons of ethics.
On the other hand, El Messier was able to ‘uphold and enhance the honor, integrity and dignity of the profession’ by questioning himself after he got the phone call from the student and admitting his calculations mistake. The fact that El Messier put his professional life in Jeopardy by not hiding the design flaw reveals his professional integrity and truthfulness towards his client. ‘I. Personal and moral ethics Besides the professional ethics canon of engineering, It Is Interesting to see how El Measurer respected or disregarded personal and moral ethics. Laced the columns of the structure at the corners. This is was done to keep the SST. Peters church in its place. This action is very ethical since he respected the religious place. (“Professional Engineering Ethics:,” 2013) Secondly, Diane Hartley was taken at granted when she contacted the Citron’s rim. El Messier, when told about the miscalculations errors, was unaware of the gender of the student and assumed it was a boy. This shows how sometimes women are overlooked in engineering, and this unconscious discriminating ideas male engineers could have. (Whitlock) Ill.
Responsibilities In the Citron case, it is important to take into consideration the two different kind of responsibilities held by El Messier: the active and the passive. I. Active The active responsibility is forward looking and is the first thing investigators look at when an engineering scandal has occurred. It deals with the obligations an engineer should have. In the Citron case, we need to distinguish the active responsibility from two different stages: the stage before El Messier knew about the hazardous risks the tower could have and the stage after.
Before he knew about it, the engineer didn’t execute this “active” responsibility. In fact, he did calculations mistakes. He did not account for the quaternary wind stresses. Even though the codes of engineering at that time didn’t mention the need to mention these stresses in the calculation el Messier as a clever engineer should eave known the implications of constructing an usual unique structure different from the other typical ones where only normal stresses were accounted. (Kramer, 2002) The fact that he didn’t knew about the risk of his design and the importance of quaternary winds makes him irresponsible.
After El Messier knew about the miscalculations, he acted upon his engineering and professional duties. He did his calculations again, he informed the engineers working on the project with him and later ,with a series of experiments came up with a solution, costly indeed, but mandatory. El Messier claimed that suicidal thoughts crossed his mind. (Kramer, 2002) Ethically, he couldn’t Just leave the tower to collapse within 16 years. (“Professional Engineering Ethics:,” 2013) The fact that he took full responsibility of his mistakes makes him responsible.
It is important also to note that his consequential behavior is not to be praised or glorified, I reckon, because this was his duty as an engineer. It. Passive The passive responsibility is a backward-looking view of responsibility to evaluate who is blame-worthy of the engineering missteps that could be made. In order to investigate whether El Messier is blame-worthy of the catastrophe that could have taken place or not, it is important to focus on the following Judging criteria: wrong doing, causality contribution, affordability and freedom of action.
One of El Measurer’s wrong doing was his ignorance about the change of Joints from welded to bolted and his miscalculations. The fact that the change of Joints, which weakened the building, was approved by the subcontractor does not make El for the design not to be negligent about the slightest detail in the building. (Kramer, 002) An additional wrong doing in the skyscraper’s design is having columns at its corners which weakened it and not taking into account this in his calculations for wind stresses and quaternary ones.
Also, even though the engineering codes didn’t state that quartering wind loads calculations should be made at the time of the design, El Measurer’s behavior displays unprofessional. As stated earlier, the exclusivity of his design should have led el Messier to notice that the engineering codes applied only to orthodox structure designs. Even though the wrong doings and engineering mistakes were discovered before any catastrophe took place, they are part in this “causality contribution”.
In fact, these wrong doings contribute to the fact that a disaster could have occurred. As a matter of fact, had the student not contacted El Messier, none of the calculations would have been revised and the mistakes would have played a part in the massive destruction of the structure along with eighteen blocks. (“Professional Engineering Ethics:,” 2013) The causal contribution in this case is not about a disaster that took place. It is rather about hat could have been a catastrophe. Affordability is all about predicting the risks and expecting the deficiency to strike.
El Measurer’s wrong doings were unintentional which is validated by way he handled the discovery of his misconceptions. Only after knowing that it would harm his reputation and the life of many, he took responsibility and came forward with the risks falling on the building and repaired the perils. When it comes to the last criteria of passive responsibility judgment ,freedom of action, El Messier was freely negligent and not accurate enough and he was the master of his actions. No higher authority had pressured him to do such atypical designs.
The engineer was trying to do the ethical thing by not putting the columns on the corner, in order to preserve the church. Nevertheless, since his design was eccentric, he should have done more calculations and taken more precautions in order to preserve the sustainability of the skyscraper and not destroy a religious symbol at the same time.. Accordingly, calculating quartering wind loads is a provision that should have been taken to account and makes a blame worthiness and freedom of action factor for El Messier. He didn’t really follow the standards of care that engineers should abide by.
Moreover, when it comes to the joints issue, the contractor was free of action since he decided to change the Joints but it was El Measurer’s duty to the engineer responsible for the project to check all the operations happening. Here again, negligence highlights El Measurer’s free actions. Finally, the fact that El Messier has not informed the public about the hazards of the building could be perceived as a minor wrong doing but this didn’t contribute to the technicalities in the hypothetical disaster that could have appended. However, if the disaster has occurred, it would have caused a lot of death.
Not informing the people about it in this case would have been a disaster and El Messier could have been accounted blameworthy and guilty of these deaths. Indeed, it was intentional and el Messier chose to do so because he didn’t want the people to panic as we have stated earlier. He trusted in himself and believed he were about to do all the necessary actions to prevent any hazard. (Kramer, 2002) ‘V. Conclusion Messier acted out as a good engineer because he took responsibility of his actions ND abided by his conscience and the welfare of the public. Thus he respected most of the fundamental canons of engineering.
In the words of William Luminaries to his students at Harvard: “You have a social obligation In return for getting a license and being regarded with respect, you’re supposed to be self- sacrificing and look beyond the interests of yourself and your client to society as a whole And the most wonderful part of my story is that when I did it, nothing bad happened” (Hegiras) However, there is no doubt that this case show the mistakes great engineers could make. Miscalculations, negligence and not following the standard of care were the primary errors el Messier has committed.