Lack of
professionalism and ethical concern may lead to the collapse of Rana Plaza in
April 2013. As we know, ethics and professionalism are related. Professionalism
is the attitude, conduct, standards and views that characterize a profession or
a professional person. When discuss about professionalism, it is not only about
person’s technical ability but it is also about having the right attitude for
the goodness of society and humanity. Usually, when there are problems related
to the engineering such as collapse of building, the professionalism are
questioned. This problem are usually related to unethical practices and
behaviours such as negligence and greed. While, ethics is about the discipline
dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation. In
engineering, ethics is vital because it sets a standards for engineers in
relation to their obligation to everyone that the engineers involved. It such a
guide to personal conduct of engineers. These ethical approaches in engineering
are stated in the code of ethics for engineers. In addition, code of ethics or
usually called as code of conduct of a professional society are very important
to guide the engineers to practice engineering with good moral and behaviour.

For the Rana
Plaza cases, how the lack of professionalism and ethical concern leads to the
building collapse are discussed below.

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To
construct Rana Plaza, we found that they provided low cost for materials. This
is because, they wanted to cut cost on the project and they hired builder which
does not have experience in construction. As a result, the quality of materials
including cement may not comply with international standards because of poor
quality control and problems associated with transportation and storage. Concrete
mix produces good results in terms of adding strength to the construction
structure. However, during construction of Plaza, the portion of water to
cement ratio to make a concrete mix are not follow the standard concrete
specifications. The reason of that is they used too much sand and making it
more brittle and weak. Negligence to meet the proper requirements in obtaining
the right ingredient in concrete making leads to formation of cracks and poor
building structure with seepage possibilities which could be seen throughout
the structure of the Rana Plaza. Some of these cracks were as much as two
inches deep. Furthermore, the other mistakes which they have no idea will give
a big impact to the building performance is the sub floors were cast too thin
and did not have necessary depth and strength needed to disperse and support
the loads from building.

 

The
reinforcing steel used in the concrete also contribute to the formation of
cracks. They faced a difficulty in obtain steel reinforcement due to
unavailability and high cost. Consequently, they made decision by reducing
steel embedded in the concrete in order to decrease the budget. Indirectly,
they were not follow the original design stated in drawing. The overall strength
of the concrete was drastically decrease and made it much more susceptible to
tension loads. Furthermore, they used plain bars as reinforcing rather that
deformed bars. In fact, they know deform bar are good in adheres to concrete
compare to plain bar because it has greater bearing surface. Reinforcement
bar’s surface is often designed to form a better bond with the concrete,
providing more tensile support in the concrete and reinforced masonry
structures. From the situation above, Rana Plaza structure was weaker and does
not have enough strength to hold the concrete in tension.

 

The
Registration of Engineers Act 1997 stresses that engineers must hold paramount
the safety, health and welfare of the public. Engineer obligations to the
society requires them to prepare a safe design at minimal cost. Hence, they
must ensure that the other party who is engaged to do work likely to affect the
structures they have designed are competent and will carry out the work in a
workmanlike manner. For example, engineers need to do an inspection before
worker cast concrete to the beam to make sure they follow design drawing.

According to the
Dietz (2013), initially they wanted to design a structure with a four-storey
building that would house primarily retail and office space. Nonetheless, they
illegally construct four additionally floors to the structure which in fact the
building cannot bear the additional loading because of the building load were
not in the original design. As a result, the building experienced tremendous
stress from the extra load. Sohel Rana had these extra floor built without
getting the approval from local government through bribes and extortion.
Furthermore, the engineer also took bribe from the client to construct the
building illegally to earn more money. Banks and retail space were placed at
first and second floors while garment factories were occupied at the third
through eight floors. These factories were occupying by heavy sewing equipment,
hundreds of employees and, large stockpiles of garments and fabrics. These
things produce much larger loads compare to the design load that contributes to
the formation of cracks.

 

 After a few months construct the building,
they were have a problem where the building’s electricity went out frequently.
To overcome this problem, they installed four diesel generators on the roof of
the Rana Plaza. The roof of Rana Plaza was not designed to sustain the weight
of these generators, each weighing several metric tons. Thus, the operation of
these generators caused the structure to shaking noticeably, imperil it
further. Results from noticeable shaking, the building was settle deeper and
the foundation fail to sustain the structure and collapse happened afterwards.

 

From
the situation above, we noticed that engineer take any profit that is earned
from the construction, but such action is prohibited as stated in Item 5.2 of
BEM Guidelines for Code of Practice. Item 5.2 stated that Registered Engineer
shall not offer, give, solicit, or receive, either directly any contribution to
influence the award of a contract which may reasonably be construed as having
the effect of intent to influencing the award of a contact. He shall not offer
any gift or other valuable consideration in order to secure work. He shall not
pay a commission, percentage or brokerage fee in order to secure work. The
engineer also does not report to the authorities of Sohel Rana’s (client)
wrongdoings as explained above. The silence actions of engineer proved that he break
the Code of Ethic. Their obligation required them to ensure that the law is
followed, and report to the authorities, if necessary, if their clients break
the law, even at the risk of being discharged by their clients”. The engineers
are prohibited from taking bribes because the services provided by engineers
should require honesty, impartiality, fairness and equity and must be dedicated
to the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. So, engineer shall
act to uphold the honor, integrity and dignity of engineering profession.

 

It
can be assume that the Rana Plaza building are being occupied before they get
the Certificate of Completion and Compliance. This action provides the risks to
safety of the publics since there is no certainty that building are safe or not
and it bring the problems to the engineer if there are something happen during
the period. A code of compliance certificate is a formal statement which state
that building work carried out under a building consent complies with that
building consent. The building officials need to be aware that the code of
compliance certificate is issued if the building work complies with the
building consent which it has completed and has met all statutory requirement
with regards to health and safety aspects and it ready to be use or occupied
with all essential utilities services connected.

Then,
it is an offence to use the building without code of compliance certificate.
For this Rana Building, the engineers allows the occupying of building with no
code of compliance and completion. Since this building still have no permit to
be occupied, the building perhaps not meet all the requirement and not safe for
the public yet. So, when the building being occupied with load and people, it
tends to collapse.

In
this situation, the action for engineer to allow the occupancy of unfinished
building are strongly wrong and danger for the safety of publics. And, it
contrary with item 1.0 that a registered Engineer should at all times hold
paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public where he or she easily
give a permission for occupancy unfinished building without certificate of
compliance and completion. Or, in item 1.4 said that the engineers which having
the knowledge of any violation of this code and regulation should report to an
appropriate to professional bodies and cooperate with proper authorities in
furnishing such information as may required.

The
one of the reason for the failure of Rana Plaza building can be when the project’s
document are easily get signed or stamped by PE without supervising the work. The
building tends to fail when there is no supervision from expert person. In Rana
Plaza case, the worker had change or reduce the reinforcing steel without permission
of building official and since there is no checking from the PE, the worker
might just continue their works and it leads to become one of building failure.
Also, it suspected that not enough rebar used in this building construction.
So, where the Professional Engineer when this happens and if this construction
had fully supervision by the PE, this mistake might not be happened.
Indirectly, it shown that this Rana Plaza are built with no or less supervision
from Professional Engineer.

 

Supervision
is very important part in a construction works that intends to maximize its
success potential. No matter in what task, all the workers must have proper
instruction or training to ensure that they are doing their jobs correctly with
minimum risk of error. When the PE conduct no supervision, there is no
responsibility for taking action for prevention of problems. When the building
built without supervision of PE, it may danger everyone and it contrary to the
function of a Professional Engineer is to protect public safety. It is stated
in a BEM circular that the person (Professional Engineer) who submits a drawing
must supervise the construction work. Then, all the Professional Engineers are
strongly advised not certify completion of construction if they have not
carried out full time supervision or if supervision has not been carried out by
staff under his direct control.

 

So,
the PE are responsible to their supervision and submit the document correctly
because they may be responsible for any future problems arising from the
project whose design he or she endorse. Also, stated in item 1.2 that a
Professional Engineer shall certify satisfactorily completion of a piece of
work only if he or she has control over the supervision of the construction.

 

Based
on this problem, uneven footing occurs when the building is developed at area
have soft soil. The possibility of land area in Rana Plaza building is not
suitable for building. In addition, soft soil will cause uneven on pad footing
of building. This is because the foot pads stand on unstable and solid ground.
Therefore, if you want to build a land area of ??soft, the area must be field
investigation to understand how water flow not only above the ground but also
below the ground. After we do that all, we can put all data in calculation
design. Moreover, during construction, the responsible engineer needs to
monitor the progress work. If have any issue problem, we need to solve the
problem based on the right ways. Therefore, this problem can be solved by
increasing the number of piles or increasing the pile depth.              

 

The Rana Plaza
building collapse because the poor building design is one of part the problem.
Although the building design is the best in the world, it is not give benefit
if the construction firm does not follow the plan precisely. The Rana Plaza
building have been built largely out of concrete. Therefore, that building
require the large amount of reinforcement steel to prevent excessive cracking.
The Rana Plaza building is not enough reinforcement and it will make the
building collapse. This is because the load can not transfer from one place to
another place. 

 

 

 

This problem can
happen because the building is not enough cement. The Rana Plaza building is
not use the cement insufficient. That why, the building was happened crack.
Furthermore, the building must use enough material to make the building
stronger. The cement must support by enough the reinforcement to make the
building not collapse. Thus, we need to design carefully and follow the rule to
avoid the building collapse. 

 

Engineering
field nowadays has encountered many challenges including in maintaining the
good ethics within its practioner. Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) through
the code of professional conduct has setup a specific guidelines to be followed
by every registered engineer in Malaysia and somehow for certain reason, there
are still certain cases regarding the ethical things of its engineer. One of
the effective action that we can suggest to the responsible authorities in
order to overcome the misconduct actions of the engineers is by strictly
implementing the rules and punishment to those who were founded guilty. For the
young or fresh graduate engineer, they shall be exposed deeply to this
unethical manners.

 

            This kind of catastrophe event that
happened in Dhaka, Bangladesh was something that really close to our ethics in
performing our job as a civil engineer. The misconducts of any work related to
the construction things cannot be compromised as it will cost a very high price
to pay including losing of somebody’s live. From the Dhaka’s case, many experts
has analyses the reasons and factors that lead to the collapse of the building
and majority of them agreed that there are so much faulty in term of the
structural issues. Henri Gavin, one of the experts from Duke University say
that, the uneven footing that were constructed became the major problem which
caused the building to have settlement at one of its foundation. This issue was
basically stemmed by some mistakes during the early stages of conducting the
soil testing. The settlement that occur clearly indicates that the building
should not be built at the first place and yet the construction still going on.
The engineer or anyone that still ordered the construction to start should be
held responsible.

            Another unethical conduct that
happened during the construction of the building was the order from the
managers of the factory that the work shall be continue even though he was
being told that there was a crack at the seventh floor, a day before the
building completely collapsed. According to Fischetti, “”Concrete
cracks … but generally cracks are not a cause for concern unless you can see
it moving over time or it seems to be excessive.” From this statement, the
crack that happened during the construction, is clearly being neglected by the
manager as to him, the crack was not going to move over time. This is something
that must be revised and include in the rules and codes of conduct as sometimes
we don’t know whether the crack can be worst or not. Generally, we have learnt
many valuable ethical things in this case as we are strongly believe that
disaster can be avoided if all of us follow the rules and regulations by not
compromising the misconduct at any level. 

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