CASE STUDY – QUEBEC BRIDGE COLLAPSE – 1907

Investment.
October 28, 2020
U.S. Supreme Court and the Criminal Justice System
October 28, 2020

Risk Management in Engineering

TASK

Conduct a risk assessment to quantitatively verify the magnitude of the risk exposure in terms of deaths/injuries/damages/costs using recognised methods in one of the case study prepared.

Minimum requirements

  • Original implementation of quantitative risk assessment/decision making techniques
  • 6 to 8 pages (including references and appendices) in IEEE template attached
  • Papers without relevant and original risk technique implementation or not conforming to the IEEE style or page limits are not considered

Instructions:

  1. By now, you have selected your topic and case studies.
  2. Research your topic by reading and analysing at least 10 recent journal papers.
  3. Study Canvas, Module 6 before starting to write your paper.(Module 6 is attached separately)
  4. Decide a good title for your paper considering your topic and case study. Title should accurately reflect the paper main idea and its content.
  5. Write a 200-words abstract including motivation for the study, objective(s), methods, and results and interpretation.
  6. Write a good introduction including contextualization, topic importance, case study introduction, paper objective(s), problem-solving approach, and finally the paper structure.
  7. Review the literature including problem background and related works, more recent references would be better. The main keyword definitions should be presented here. You may have some subsections to organize this section very well.
  8. Develop a research methodology to assess and reduce risks. You need to incorporate at least two techniques in the research methodology from the literature. Do not limit yourselves to the subject materials. The methodology should be logical and robust to support the discussion.
  9. Implement the research methodology in the case study step by step and present the results. Analyse the results and highlight major findings. Tables and figures should be represented in high quality with adequate explanation.
  10. Discuss the results and do a sensitivity analysis to make sure the results are reliable. Propose some risk reduction strategies and show unacceptable risks are managed. Limitations of the work must be listed as well.
  11. Write a conclusion of what have been done for what purpose, what are the findings, and propose some future research directions.
  12. All content must be written without grammatical errors in IEEE template (available on Canvas) and must be fully referenced. Include references at the end of paper consistently aligned with IEEE style.
  13. Therefore, the paper follows below structure:

▪ Title

▪ Abstract

▪ Introduction

▪ Theoretical background (literature review)

▪ Research methodology

▪ Implementation and results (case study)

▪ Discussion

▪ Conclusion and future works

▪ References

CASE STUDY  – QUEBEC BRIDGE COLLAPSE – 1907

Description

The famous Quebec bridge was one of the longest project which spanned over 20 years in making starting from the starting of the company Quebec Bridge Company in 1887 up until the bridge collapse in 1907. This was supposed to be one of the most feasible construction design in order to cover the icy waters of St Lawrence rivers. The width of the river was approximately about 3.2 km which was a huge problem as Quebec was in need of an easier mode of transportation in order to fulfil the trade needs and compete with Montreal at that time which was already ahead with its railway system set in place. Interest of building the bridge was risen from the late 1850s but the committee was set in motion from 1887. In 1898, after going through different sit inspections, Chaudire site was shortlisted as the official location of Quebec bridge which was then followed by incorporation of different design proposals. It was late stated by the chief engineer of the project that cantilever superstructure plan will be best suitable for the budget of the project which was indeed very much restricted.

When and How  it Happened

While the construction was going on, workers and site engineers noticed a few deflections in midpoint in some chords which was noticed to increase in deflection overtime in dome of the heaviest compression members. The deflections were reported to the chief engineer of the project which were then riveted to line up with the joints which further reported out that the joints failed to close. They just assumed that the deflections are happening due to some unknown condition which was later ignored. After a few months, the deflecting chords were increasing in number which later rose the question of how it happened. It was later admitted by the chief designer that he never checked the chords for deflections and assumed they must have come form the chord ribs in the shop. This later emerged out to be a disturbing pattern of load distribution in the highest compressive loads which later were seen to be gradually buckling. Another theory was suggested by chief engineer that the chords were being hit by the suspended beams which were used to put the chord in place. This theory was investigated and no proof supporting his theory was found which made it false. While the discussion was going on about what to do next, the bridge collapsed in 1907 n resulted in death of 33 workers and 11 were injured. Investigation was set in motion and various causes of failure were drawn as follows

  • Defective design resulted in failure of lower chords in anchor arm beside main pier.
  • Specifications were not satisfactory and unit stresses were higher recorded as compared to previous studies
  • An error was made assuming the dead load wherein a low value was taken as compared to what should have been taken into account and was not revised properly by anyone.
  • Loose and inefficient supervision and poor choice of appointing chief engineer
  • Fundamental errors in design was seen

Stakeholder Analysis

Stakeholders Interests Likely Impact Priority
Workers –          Health and wellbeing

–          Safety and precautionary measures

–          Well informed with what is going on

+ve

+ve

+ve

1

1

1

Site engineer –          Supervision and monitoring

–          Communication to higher management

+ve

+ve

2

2

Project Manager, consultant –          Well specified layout of plan

–          Site investigations

–          Timeline and management

+ve

+ve

+ve

3

3

3

Quebec Bridge committee –          Budgeting and going for cheaper option

–          Hiring professionals who are good and perfect fit for the job

-ve

+ve

4

4

Influence vs importance

Stakeholders Influence Importance
Workers 10 10
Site engineers 5 6
Project manager 3 6
Quebec bridge committee 2 6

Inherent Risks Involved

Several risks were seen from the start of the project which raised several ethical concerns. The major one being that the deflection was noticed in the beginning and instead of stopping the operation they were just trying to find out plan B for work to be continued.

On-site engineers debated about the cause amongst themselves.Although the staff who did not return to work due to the deformations lacked the technical skills, they seemed to be the only ones who knew what was actually happening to the bridge.There was no criticism of consultants actions, even though they appeared odd.An Independent  consultant may not have permitted superior design than standard   stress.

Financial constraints also pays a major role in the process as it delayed all the analytics part and forced to ignore the safety part of the project leaning toward adopting unconventional aspects of construction.

CONCLUSION

The ultimate goal of engineering security is to keep human lives safe in all aspect, whether it is physical, mental, social. With two very different case study above we can say that although there are a lot of reasons and aspects that are in need of consideration but we also need to factor in the most ignored, although important aspect of engineering failure, that is human error. We are so much reliable and dependent on technology and boundaries of projects that sometimes we forget to use our own head and rule out the basics that should be kept in mind.

 

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