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You are required to write a paper on Ethics and Ethical Behavior as it relates to the Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. The paper content should be based on the concepts of ethics and ethical behavior as discussed in class and within the framework of the article entitled "The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis" about the design flaws in the Citicorp Tower and the ramifications of the actions taken by the different parties. Your discussion of the paper should focus on one of the following two directions: 


• Identifying and discussing the ethical dilemmas that faced each of the parties involved; 21

• Describing the expected turn in events if some of these key parties made different decisions compared to those described in the article. 

Expected Turn in events if some of the key parties made contrary decisions

The Citicorp tower at the time of its completion in Manhattan ranked seventh tallest building worldwide. The building was designed by leading structural engineer William J. LeMessurier, structural consultant to architect Hugh Stubbins. The fifty-nine story crisis would have been handled differently regarding the circumstances at the time. Obviously, there had been a critical change amid their fabricate (the props were attached together with jolts rather than welds, as welds are for the most part viewed as more grounded than would normally be appropriate and excessively costly; moreover the contractual workers had deciphered the New York construction regulation so as to absolve a large number of the pinnacle's corner to corner supports from loadbearing counts, so they had utilized dreadfully few jolts.) which duplicated the strain delivered by quartering winds. On account of the goading of the student from New Jersey, LeMessurier found an unpretentious applied mistake in the plan of the building's breeze supports; they were surprisingly touchy to specific sorts of winds known as quartering winds.

This paper focuses on the expected turn of events if some of the key parties would have made contrary decisions in comparison to the ones identified in the articles. This is as discussed in the following section with each subheading denoting times when contrary decisions were probably:

The article begins noting LeMessurier receiving a phone call at his office headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts from an engineering student in New Jersey who at the time was writing a thesis paper on the Citicorp tower. Being an inquisitive person, LeMessurier found the matter interesting and listened to the student concern that according to his professor the four columns that held the building up had been put on the wrong place. If LeMessurier had made a contrary decision not to listen to the student or return the call after his meeting hence develop an interest in pursuing the matter further, LeMessurier wouldn't have revisited his calculation on the columns, forty-eight braces designed to withstand sway from severe winds during his classroom lecture at Harvard. Initially, LeMessurier had designed the braces only to withstand winds acting perpendicular to the building but now he explored to the strength of the braces to resist winds acting at forty-five degrees only to be surprised by his new calculations which showed that a quartering wing increased strain in four of the eight chevrons in each tier hence discovery of increased probability of failure of the building braces to resist severe winds. Also, LeMessurier would not have discovered that the crucial changes in the way the braces were joined. Therefore, LeMessurier would not have taken further checks of the works and calculations hence not realizing the changes in joints hence the braces would likely have failed under severe southeast winds.

Instead of welded joints, Bethlehem Steel opted for bolted joints since the bolted joints were viewed to be equally safe and more practical as opposed to the needlessly strong and labor intensive, hence expensive welded joints. This was contrary to the specifications in the designs produced by LeMessurier for Citicorp tower. Also, LeMessurier would not have likely realized that the standards as stated in the American Institute of Steel Construction specification were disregarded by his team calculating joints hence exposing the structure to more risks as the joints would be substandard to resist the differential between forces, that is, the amount of wind tension less the amount of compression. If this decision would not have been made and welded joints provided instead, there would have been no cause for alarm for fear that the building would fail whenever severe winds occur. The panic and extra costs incurred in welding the joints would not have been suffered. In correcting this decision and providing stronger joints by welding resulted in LeMessurier and Hugh Stubbins being served indemnification costs by Citicorp tower amounting to $4.3 million including management fees.

A phone call from an engineering student in New Jersey to LeMessurier

LeMessurier had options after discovering the disturbing information about the possible pending collapse or failure of the Citicorp tower. He made a decision to blow a whistle on himself to avert disaster and risk professional disgrace, possible protracted litigation and probable bankruptcy. Had he chose to be silent, many lives would be at risk and he wouldn't be embarrassed in front of colleagues. Suicide also was a cowardly option but would save him the pain of embarrassment. At some time, the Citicorp tower would have turned into tragedy when strong winds not sustainable by the initial designs would have hit the building. Possibly, LeMessurier, Citicorp, Hugh Stubbins would have been stripped their licenses and served terms in prisons for indecent and substandard designs and risk to the Citicorp towers occupant had the building failed from severe winds due to weak joints not being rectified from the latest revelations by LeMessurier.

The architect Hugh Stubbins had insisted that the chevrons be placed on the inside rather than LeMessurier plan to have them placed on the outside. If LeMessurier would have done contrary to this decision by Hugh Stubbins and placed the Chevrons on the outside, the bolted joints would not have been readily accessible hence reinforcing of the joints with heavy plates over them like giant Band-Aids would not have been feasible. Failure of the braces against severe wind would be on high chance hence building failure. Moreover, working welding of these joints from the outside would have exposed the fault to the public hence cause for concern and panic, high costs and risks of personnel as well as possibly evacuation of the Citicorp tower and the surrounding. This would mean huge losses from the Citicorp, possible litigations and base image to the structural consultant LeMessurier.

Following the disturbing information that Citicorp tower was flawed, Hugh Stubbins and LeMessurier had to relay the information to Citicorp but reaching the top man William I. Spencer was unsuccessful. Instead, Stubbins managed an appointment with John S. Reed. It is through Reed that LeMessurier and Stubbins met Walter Wriston hence making it possible to arrange for emergency responses and considerations. If Reed would have decided not to share this information and bring in or inform top management at Citicorp of the situation, emergency generators for the towers tuned mass damper and access to Citicorp by LeMessurier and team of his engineers and other contracted personnel as well as securing key resources for the works would not have been possible. With no backup generators for the tuned mass damper, the tower's safety changes would be negligible in cases of severe winds and storms especially when electricity would be affected. The weak bolted joints would not have been strengthened or the work would have started quite late when the time was running out from approaching Hurricane Ella heading New York. Also, if Reed would have decided to leak this information to the media rather than keep it confidential, it would have caused a serious damage to the company, possible evacuations, professional disgrace and even building being condemned due to its unsuitability for use.

During the discussion with city officials, Arthur Nusbaum is noted to have expressed concern on the scarcity of certified welders approved from city's structural welding test. This was a race against time, therefore, there was a need to have more certified welders involved in the work. The decision by the representatives from the Department of Building to allow Neil Moreton, (described as one of the area's most trusted steel inspectors) to test and directly certify any welder that Citicorp's repair project required was very impactful as it made the project repairs be made timely. If contrary decision would have been met by the Department of Building, there would not have been enough welders to attend to the repairs in time hence the tower would have failed from the severe winds as the weak joint would give in. Alternatively, the cost of outsourcing welders from other regions and on short notice would have been expensive and unreliable.

Articles/Books/Reports

Miller, Richard Bradford, Citicorp: the story of a bank in crisis (McGraw-Hill Companies, 1993).

Morgenstern, Joe, ‘The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis’ (1997) 123 (1) Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 23-29.

Whitbeck, Caroline, Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Others

Carmack, Blaine, ‘Learning from Building Failures’ on Building Failures (6 February 1977) < https://buildingfailures.wordpress.com/1977/02/06/citigroup-center/>.

Theaiatrust, Case Study: The Citicorp Center Design (2013) < https://www.theaiatrust.com/whitepapers/ethics/study.php >.

UNC Charlotte, Citicorp case study (2013) < https://eng-resources.uncc.edu/failurecasestudies/building-failure-cases/citicorp-case-study/>.

Nye, James, The New York disaster that never happened: How one phone call from an architecture STUDENT saved the 915ft Citigroup skyscraper from crashing onto Manhattan during a hurricane (21 April 2014) < https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2609257/The-New-York-disaster-never-happened-How-one-phone-call-architecture-student-saved-915ft-Citigroup-skyscraper-crashing-Manhattan-hurricane.html >.

PBS, Citicorp Center (2001) < https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/citicorp.html >.

Anandtech, AnandTech Forums: Technology, Hardware, Software, and Deals – Error (2016) < https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/the-design-flaw-that-almost-wiped-out%20edu/~hpgavin/cee421/citicorp1.htm >.

Werner, John, The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper (17 April 2014) < https://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/04/17/the_citicorp_tower_design_flaw_that_could_have_wiped_out_the_skyscraper.html>.

Morgenstern, Joseph, The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis (29 May 1995) < https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1995/05/29/the-fifty-nine-story-crisis >.

Vamos, Set, Citicorp building documentary (31 March 1999) < https://www.artifice.com/discussion/16.html>.

MetaFilter, The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis (20 April 2007) < https://www.metafilter.com/60480/The-FiftyNineStory-Crisis>.

Barker, Deane, The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis (5 May 2007) < https://gadgetopia.com/post/5871>.

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