There was a diary Friday about engineering problems on the S.F. Bay Bridge that some feel could lead to a collapse in a major earthquake. The author is not an engineer but was writing based on news articles he had read. He got some harsh responses from some engineers defending their brethren and their profession with such comments as "engineers ... are obligated by oath to serve the interest of the public." (Right, and doctors take an oath to "first, do no harm.)
I also am NOT an engineer and, like Will Rogers, "All I know is what I read in the papers" but there was an interesting, not unrelated, article in today's (8/24) Las Vegas Review-Journal about - hey, look, figure skating doodle bugs, who knew!
Where was I, oh yeah, the article was about the five year struggle over the partially completed Harmon tower on the Las Vegas strip. In 2008, construction defects were found that caused building of the tower to be stopped after only 26 stories of the planned 48 were completed.
On Friday, a District Court judge gave the owners of the tower the OK to have it demolished. An engineering expert testified that more than 7,000 defects were found during one testing phase with every element tested having at least one flaw and nearly all having multiple diverse defects. He said that due to the flaws the tower could collapse in a major earthquake.
The builders, while admitting problems, insist that the building is fundamentally sound and could be repaired. The legal battle has been going on since construction was halted.
So, yeah, sometimes architects and engineers screw up. Some even insist that it was the body's engineer who routed a sewer line thru a playground.