Paper Example on Engineering: Math & Science Solving Life's Problems

Paper Type:  Course work
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1876 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


Engineering entails the integration of math and science to solve life problems. With the knowledge in math and science, engineers can design, modify, test, inspect, evaluate, install, maintain and develop a wide range of products and systems. The engineering field is split into several specialty areas such as forensic engineering. Forensic engineering involves utilization of principles of engineering in investigating failures or even performance problems. Also, findings from the investigation are used as testimony before the court of law or any judicial forum if necessary. The paper is premised on forensic engineering.

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Part A

Possible Causes of Collapse of the Building

To begin with, overload is likely to be one of the causes of the collapse of the multi-storey car park building. The parking of too many vehicles and occupancy on the balcony which exceeds the maximum stress the building can tolerate is likely to trigger collapse. The multi-storey car park building has a specific standard weight it can stand, and in case of any overload without evaluation, the building is likely to collapse. Secondly, the lack of maintenance may have resulted in the collapse of the building. The building built in the late 1980s would have been left in dilapidated condition with little or no repair. The irresponsible nature of the owner could not allow actions to be taken on small structural cracks, which eventually led to collapse. Lack of maintenance causes problems to be sidelined which later culminate in catastrophe. Thirdly, building materials or chemicals that are inferior and defective most likely were used during the construction of the building. Since the multi-storey car park building was erected in late 1980s, there is a high probability that the older 1950s-1980s materials such as wood roof assemblies treated by fire retardants were manufactured by ammonium phosphate of little worth. Such materials have been verified to be prone to collapse especially after 20 years of use. The inferiority of the materials could have been brought about by errors in their manufacture or damages before their use.

Bad engineering is another possible cause of the collapse of the building. To err is human. Structural engineers are equally human and are prone to mistakes. Mistakes such as shoddy workmanship, incorrect sizing, poor selection choice of materials and improper heat handle, and treating can contribute significantly to triggering collapse of a building. Therefore, the probability of structural failures coupled with bad calculations cannot be overruled.

Moreover, under-designed is likely to have triggered the collapse of the building. Under-designed is whereby the stipulated code of design was correctly followed together with incorporation of good calculations; however, they were inadequate for the available both live and dead loads. Dead load refers to the self-weight of a building, whereas live load is an imposed movable load at a given position in the building for a short duration. Besides dead and live loads, buildings are designed to resist wind and earthquake forces. Under-designed results when the code of designed followed is not sufficient for the available loads and forces. It can also be brought by failing to consider the "factor of safety" that is the range of safety. By consideration of the margin of safety during the design stage, the building will be able to resist loads of higher range, which exceeds the actual loads the building is supposed to be exposed to in reality. The bad design of the building can be a possible cause of its collapse. The omission of buttresses or shear walls and movement allowance as a result of bad design can cause a building to collapse. Fire is also a possible cause of collapse of the building. Whenever a building is engulfed in an inferno the concreate undergoes chemical changes that weaken it.

Besides, the steel yield strength is reduced, and crack/spall develops. All of these can trigger collapse of a building under fire. Bad construction propagated by unskilled workmen or ignorance may have resulted in collapse of the building. For instance, for the deck to pull away the constructor must have provided nails between the structure of the building and the deck ledger. Bad construction is also witnessed when between concrete and building stones or supporting brickwork does not have a slip joint, which in the end run causes cracks. Bad construction is characterized by omission of the required units of structural CMU of concrete and steel during construction, which affects the durability of the structure.

Being that it is a car park building, impact damage is undoubtedly one of the possible causes that might have resulted in its collapse. Drivers can unconsciously drive the cars into the walls during reverse as they try to park resulting in cracks or partial collapse which eventually results in actual collapse. The building might have collapsed as a result of storm damage. For instance, heavy downpour or flash floods can cause buildings to collapse. The force that accompanies these natural disasters can supersede the standard pressure and stress a building can tolerate. Being that the position of center of gravity of any object tends to be at the base, multi-storey buildings are likely to collapse, starting with the topmost floor in case the position of center of gravity is altered. Soil plays a crucial role in the stability of any building.

The sinkhole, be it natural or human-made, is a contributing factor towards the collapse of a building. Seismic also influences the position of center of gravity of a building. Earthquakes of considerable magnitudes that cannot be endured by the building can result in its collapse. The probability of influence of soil and seismic as possible causes of collapse of the building cannot be quashed. Vandalism and sabotage can also overstress a building yielding failure, which results in a collapse. Lastly, instability can also be a possible cause of collapse of the building. Instability can be brought about by several issues to do with material choice, design, and geometry. As a result of stability, the building will fail either from corrosion, or fatigue, and eventually collapse.

Planning of Investigation

For a building to be erected, there are certain steps and processes which are hierarchical that need to be followed to achieve excellence. Therefore, my plan of investigation would seek to examine whether each of the set aside steps and procedures was fulfilled as per the recommended stipulations. The investigation would also determine if all the necessary steps and procedures involved were executed without shortcuts. The relevant data would be obtained through interviewing various parties namely: neighbours of the collapsed building, personnel in building design, and construction agencies, witnesses and so on.

Data analysis would, after that follow to assist in establishing the cause of collapse of the building. There exist six stages involved in a construction project, and my investigation would tend to evaluate each of them about the multi-storey car park building. The first stage is the conception of the project. At this stage, the investigation will seek to find out the owner of the building and the motive or purpose the owner had at the conception of the car park building. How the land under which the car park building is erected was acquired and whether all the legal requirements were met. The second stage is the design stage. Under this stage, the investigation will focus on how the bidding process was done and the led architect. The qualifications and certifications of the led architecture would be looked into to ascertain whether the individual is legally permitted to carry out any activities related to architectural career. Also, it will be verified whether the building owner adhered to the existing state regulations and codes. The contract documents will also be examined to check whether the bidding and tender legal requirements were incorporated. The pre-construction stage follows next after design stage. At the stage, investigation concerns picturing the contractor chosen after the bidding process. The identity of the contractor who was chosen for the car park building would be established as well as his qualifications and license. The contractor comes in hand with a project team. The project team includes the contract administrator, project manager, superintendent, field engineer, and health and safety engineer. The work of a project team is to prepare the land set aside for construction.

My investigation will try to establish whether site examination was effectively done by the then project team who were tasked to prepare the construction site before erecting the multi-storey car park building. If the soil was tested and findings reviewed by the relevant authorities before the construction commenced. The fourth stage is the procurement stage. The stage involves ordering and obtaining equipment, materials, and grass-root workforce. The investigation will critically analyze the available procurement papers of the collapsed car park building to find out if the procurement guidelines were adhered to. The investigations would also look into the quality of the goods ordered and obtained and examine whether they were of required standards. The number and type of workforce hired during the construction period would also be taken into account. The working hours in a day of the workforce which were deployed would be established too. The recommended standard of a building can be compromised when the workforce is overworked without sufficient rest intervals. The construction stage is the second last stage. Inspection and supervision of field engineers are of particular importance during construction stage. The investigation will seek to determine the period taken by the construction and the frequency of trips the field engineer and senior contractors made to the construction site. Of late, it is not absurd to find field engineer and led contractors supervising an ongoing construction work once or twice in entire construction span. Errors can be made by subcontractors, which requires the close supervision of led contractors and field engineers to identify and correct such construction errors. The budget used would also be evaluated to see if it is incoherent with the standard budget of construction of such a multi-storey car park building. If in case, there were overruns and how the building owner went about to manage the overruns without compromising the set of standards recommended.

Lastly, the post-construction stage follows. The stage involves commissioning of the building, occupancy by the owner and then closure. About building commission, the investigation would determine if the overall inspection was carried out and if it was indeed carried out, who did it and what were the findings. For the car park building to have been commissioned then it implies that the inspection revealed that everything was done correctly. Moreover, my plan of investigation would also capture whether the building owner was appropriately trained on how to operate and maintain the multi-storey car park building by the project team before its commissioning. The three types warranty that is express warranty implied warranty and statutory warranty at the time of occupancy of the building would also be considered. The above information would avail the fact of the matter on the design history of the building up to date of collapse.

There is certain information or documents which may be required to establish the cause of the collapse of the building. A sample of debris of the collapsed building will be collected and taken to the laboratory for testing a...

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