Engineering Professional Practice: Sample Case and a solution

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Engineering Professional Practice: Sample Case and a solution

Case: A client came to a designer’s and asked to design a multistoried building. The soil type is found not suitable for that type of structure. The designer hesitated to design a building. The revealed his/her intention as that he/she actually is not going to build that structure but he/she wanted to collect fund from outside sources on behalf of that design and he/she wanted to utilize that money in other business.

Problem: What should a designer do in such situation?


Engineering is a profession. A professional is that which is acquired thru a specialized training or education having certain skill those ordinary men does not possess. Because of professional’s knowledge and skill that ordinary people do possess, and because of they use their knowledge and skill for the benefit of men and the society as a whole, professionals do have high recognition in the society. Furthermore, their professional practices are also subjected to public evaluation and hence, a professional’s work cannot be remained as a personal matter. In this background, we have to deal the situation.

A designer is supposed to design a project visiting the site and he/she should look for all the things that are readily apparent on the site that is likely to affect the design. Besides this, a designer is also needed to ascertain the nature and load bearing capacity of the soil underneath ground level. In this case given, it is clearly specified that the type of soil is not suitable for that type of building.

Client’s intention in this regard does not matter for an engineer as a professional designer whether a client is going to build that structure or not. A designer’s main duty is to prepare a design for the project created by a client that is technically feasible to erect on the ground. Non-feasible and non-economical design may lead towards the negligence of a designer or they exhibit the incompetence of the designer. If negligence and incompetence are not the case and if the designer perform such task to fulfill the client’s intention only then the designer is not remained as a professional and his/her behavior becomes unethical and immoral. Professionals committing such unethical/immoral acts are subjected to a disciplinary action if not institutionally (as in the case of Nepal) but by the public and their public image will become very low.

It is also to be noted here that a designer’s duty does not end when he/she has completed his/her design. A designer is under a continuing duty to check that his/her design will work in practice and to correct any errors that emerge during the implementation (construction) of that design. In the case given, as the early stage of starting a design work, it has already been known that the soil type is unsuitable. Thus based on the above discussion as a designer, I will not be involved in designing that structure.

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