Professionalism, Responsibility & Engineering Ethics


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by Jack D. Gillum, Adjunct Professor; Department of Civil Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, MO,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Forensic Engineering:

Abstract: For nineteen years since the tragic collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Hotel's walkway on July 17, 1981, the engineering profession and construction industry has studied and endeavored to understand what happened; why it happened; who was at fault; what should have been done to prevent it and how can the engineering and construction industry guard against future structural collapses. This paper, by the Structural Engineer of Record, addresses the events during and subsequent to the design, bidding, construction and investigation that followed the collapse. It discusses the tragedy and its continuing impact on the public and the standard of the professional practice of engineering, and the continuing two fundamental issues.

Subject Headings: Ethics | Engineering profession | Structural failures | Construction industry | Industrial facilities | Walkways | Kansas City

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