Inadequate Design Management Compared with Unprecedented Technical Issues as Causes for Engineering Failure

This paper stems from research in the University of Alabama’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. Engineering design failures fall into two broad categories, those that occur because of a hitherto unknown or unprecedented technical cause, and those that occur because of a known cause that was overlooked during the design process. The latter can be considered a failure of design management, and the purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast inadequate design management to unprecedented technical issues as a cause for engineering failures. Failures that occur to improper maintenance or abuse are not the scope of this paper. Two approaches were taken, namely: (1) evaluation of current and historical engineering failures for instances of inadequate design management and/or unprecedented technical issues; and (2) review of filed claims data for design errors and omissions to determine whether inadequate design management is a substantial issue. This research may provide useful information in understanding how both categories limit the success of the design process.


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  • Accession Number: 01534523
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Jun 20 2014 3:04PM