Case Studies in Engineering Professional Practices (EPP)
Case Studies are descriptions of real situations that provide a context for engineers to explore decision making in the face of socio-technical issues. Case studies typically involve complex issues where there is no single correct answer. Most engineering case studies available pertain to engineering ethics.
The Process of analyzing a case study encourages several learning tasks.
1.Exploring the nature of a problem and circumstances that affect a decision or solution.
2.Sensitivity to ethical issues, sometimes called “developing a moral imagination,” or the awareness of the needs of others and that there is an ethical point of view.
3.Recognition of ethical issues or the ability to see the ethical implications of specific situation and choices.
4.Learning about others’ viewpoints and how they may be taken into account.
5.Ability to analyze and critically evaluate ethical dilemmas’ including an understanding of competing values, and the ability to scrutinize options for resolution.
6.Ethical responsibility, or the ability to make a decision and take action.
7.Tolerance for ambiguity, or the recognition that there may be no single idea solution to ethically problematic situations. Predicting outcomes and consequences.
Steps in resolving ethical dilemmas
2)Consequentialist Approach – basically argues “no harm, no foul”.
3)We are going to assume that if there are any laws involved, you plan to obey them. This is not to say that it is always morally wrong to break laws.
4)List the full range of alternative courses of action available to you.
5)Assume you have a variety of options. Consider the range of both positive and negative consequences connected with each one. Who will be helped by what you do? Who will be hurt? What kind of benefits and harms are we talking about? How does all of this look over the long run as well as the short run? After looking at all of your options, which of your options produces the best combination of benefits – maximization and harm – minimization ?
6)Concentrate instead strictly on the actions. How do they measure up against moral principles like honesty, fairness, equality, respecting dignity of others, respecting peoples rights and recognizing the vulnerability of individuals weaker or less fortunate than others?
7)Take both parts of your analysis into account and make a decision. This strategy should give you at least some basic steps you can follow.
8)Think about the circumstances, which led to the dilemma with the intension of identifying and removing the conditions that allowed it to arise.
** As a consulting engineer you were asked to monitor a water supply project financed by an NGO and handled by local water committee at Kaski district. The project was to be completed by the end of Baisakh, 2070; otherwise the donor would stop the payment. When you visited the site at the middle of Baisakh, you found that the project was not completed. The local committee requested you to submit the completion report so that they could finish the work after sometime and will be beneficial to 80 household of the village.
Answer the following questions:
1)In your opinion, who is /are responsible to finish the project on time?
2)As a consulting engineer, write a report to the NGO.
** A number of cracks in structure as well as settlement appeared in a building designed by an engineer within two years of its completion. Municipality had approved the design and drawing. Later it is found that without any soil-investigation, structural design and detailing of reinforcement design report was prepared.
1)Discuss the position of the house owner.
2)The engineer’s role
** A fresh engineering graduate (Engineer A) with a specialization in water resources, looking for a job is approached by a Senior Engineer from the Department of Ground water Development (DoGD). The DoGD Engineer asks Engineer A to conduct a district wide study of the inter-links between groundwater and surface water at Rupandehi District, Nepal and also provides a sample of a report to be produced as the end product of the study. Engineer A finds that the sample report is based on a superficial study, with all the related data taken from western countries, and request for permission from the DoGD Engineer to visit the site and collect field-based data. The DOGD Engineer refuses, saying that the budget to complete the study is very low, asks Engineer A to prepare the report with data taken from text books or other reports and assures that Engineer A will not face any problem since the contract to conduct the study was obtained by a consulting company registered in the name of the DOGD Engineer’s spouse, and the DoGD Engineer himself is responsible to check the quality of the report.
Answer the following questions with appropriate justification.
a) Is it moral and ethical for Engineer A to accept the assignment and follow the suggestions of the DoGD Engineer?
b) Should Engineer A do his/her best and use data from other report and text books to prepare the report?
c) Should Engineer A simply refuse to accept the assignment and forget about it?
d) Should Engineer A accept the assignment, collect the relevant documents from the DOGD engineer and then report the case to CIAA?
e) Will Engineer A face any problem if he/she just follows the suggestions of the DOGD Engineer?
** You are a structural engineer working for a consulting firm. You designed a shopping complex building as per the requirements of the client. The work has been done under your supervision. After five years the owner decided to add two more stories and come to you to prepare a design. While reviewing the previous design you found that the building will be unsafe for constructing additional floors due to poor underground soil condition. Your supervisor influences you to prepare the design otherwise you will be fired from the job. What should you do in such a situation? Prepare a case study based on engineering ethic.
** A client came to a designer and asked to design a multistoried building. The soil type of the proposed site found not suitable for that type of structure. The designer hesitated to design the building. The client said that actually he was not going to build the building. He wanted to collect the money from outside sources showing that design as a proposal for his venture and he wanted to utilize that money in other business. Now, what should the designer do in such a situation and why? Explain with the reference to ethics and professionalism.
** Highly dense and old city of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur district were fully destroyed due to recent earthquake-2072. The road in those areas are hardly 10 feet wide but buildings were of minimum four storied. It is difficult to enter and pass any vehicle through these areas. Now supposing yourself as an Engineer appointed with full responsibility to manage the debris and reconstruct the areas, how will you handle the case to complete it within provided time frame?
** During quality control visit in a remote village, it has been found that a building is being constructed on the bank of a river, and it will be damaged due to flood. Approximately 25% of the construction was completed. The survey was done by your friend with the consent of the local people. However, the quality of construction was as per specification. Your job is limited to control the quality of building only. Discuss the case and recommend your views on whether to continue the construction or not?
** Both Bibek and Akhil, consultant engineers, slipped on the floor of CTC Mall during their inspection visit, which was under construction, causing serious injury. During investigation, it was revealed that the floor was not constructed as per design and specification making it slippery. The flooring work was subcontracted to Govinda on recommendation of Bibek. Who is to blame? Give reason.
** Loksewa Office published different vacancies for the post of Engineer in Gorkhapatra dated 2074-6-15. A fresh graduate Engineer from ABC College went at Loksewa Office to apply an application for same post. He got the information from Notice Board of Loksewa that the NEC membership is must as one of the essential documents for the further processing of application. He applied for NEC membership with all required documents but he was unable to get the membership. He later found that his college was not registered in the Engineering Council. He appealed to consider his application to Loksewa but Loksewa denied to accept the application. Analyze the role of different parties at this case under the professionalism.
** Engineer Mohit was appointed as engineer by District Development Committee (DDC) of Nuwakot. He was assigned an alignment survey for a proposed road connecting A VDC to B VDC. He went for alignment survey and completed his task. During survey, he used his professional
skill and knowledge. After alignment survey, a group of “Hooldanga” Political Party (HPP) protested at DDC stating that
1)Engineer Mohit has touched his 5 Ropanis of land through proposed road alignment to increase his value of land.
2)Engineering Mohit also included in his alignment survey a small piece of land of Mr. Ranabir because of his personal conflict with Ranabir some 10 year ago. On these ground the alignment survey shall be discarded and need a survey and also need to take action against Engineer Mohit.
1)What Er. Mohit should have done?
2)What DDC should do?
** Project Engineer of East-West Road construction project was invited to a dinner by the contractor of the same east-west construction project. After the dinner was over, Project Engineer was offered one-week long seminar at Thailand, the cost of participating in this seminar would be borne by the contractor.
Assume that you are the Project Engineer of the above said East-West road construction project. Do you participate in a one-week long seminar at Thailand? Discuss critically the possible issues associated with this event.
To see the answer of all above questions, watch this video.