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The Structural Engineer's Standard of Care



Author(s) Joshua B. Kardon
Contributor(s) Joshua B. Kardon
Notes Presented at the OEC International Conference on Ethics in Engineering and Computer Science, March 1999
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Year 1999
Publisher National Academy of Engineering, Online Ethics Center
Language English

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Foundation Design

Author: Joshua B. Kardon, S.E. 
University of California, Berkeley

This case is an excerpt from "The Structural Engineer's Standard of Care."

A large condominium project was built in six phases, spread out over several years. For Phases I through III the soils engineer recommended the foundation be a drilled pier type, and that the piers be 4 feet deep. When construction of Phase IV started, he recommended 6 feet deep piers. Later, during construction of Phases V and VI, the structural engineer went back to 4 feet piers. All the buildings in all six phases were of the same design, based on the same soils report. The soils were similar in all Phases. Was the structural engineer negligent in not carrying forward the soils engineer's Phase IV recommendations?

Management and control of information is part of diligent engineering practice. It was argued that the structural engineer's failure to carry forward the revised soils engineering parameters represented an error inconsistent with the standard of care.

Cite this page: "Foundation Design" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 11/24/2010 OEC Accessed: Saturday, August 24, 2019 <>