If I were investigating the cause of the collapse, the information that I would need would be extensive. I would need to assess where and how factors contributed to the collapse. First and foremost, I would extract building information from the Department of Buildings. Since the incident occurred in a meeting room regardless of the buildings use type, I would assume it is an office suite. Typically, a building is designed according to its building usage and in this case a party should not be held in an office area. In understanding what led to the incident, I would need to know what occurred for the floor to collapse as well as the number of occupants at that time in the meeting room. Occupancy is important in this case because it is likely that the party exceeded it. The live load designed for that specific floor would be important in understanding if it was in fact caused by the occupants. I would also check for the quality of materials used in the floor of the incident. Apart from the building information aspect of the investigation I would also investigate how and why the Clemson University fraternity was able to gain access to that meeting room. This would be important because it could pinpoint a culprit, the students themselves or someone else. Ultimately the legal liability lies in who gained access and permission for this party to occur. The legal liability obviously does not end with them but rather with the design and construction of the building. The architect of this building would be contacted and questioned on the structural aspects of his or her design.
As a professional the responsibilities of an architect involve following the set procedures of the contract. They must produce specifications that fully communicate what the owner contracts with the contractor to build, and exactly how to build it. The role the architect plays in construction is to guide the construction to a successful completion, consistent with the design intent, and to administer the owner/contractor agreement even handedly to both parties. If said set procedures are broken, in this case by the owner using lighter concrete mixture for any reason whatsoever, there must be immediate action taken. The architect should not certify the contractor’s requisitions, the architect should also report the situation to all entities. Not only is the architect jeopardizing his or her career by signing off on a structurally ineffective system he is also endangering the livelihood of the buildings would-be occupants.
There is always a situation when the character of a professional is tested in any field whatsoever. Usually the individual does what is the morally correct thing to do and no problems arise from it. This situation should not be solved by simply believing the owner and his promise and his claim that he’ll talk to his construction superintendent. If there is reason to believe that the two parties in the building of the housing are being deceitful it is because they want to cover their own accord and screw the architect over. This would be the perfect opportunity to completely stop this deceitful practice and let the Department of Buildings address this situation. Ultimately no one wins if the architect knowingly signs off on this requisition. The occupants must live under an ineffective structural system, the architect would be held liable if the situation is ever discovered and both parties will lose credibility and business.
The position I would like in the building industry or my dream job would have to be working for a firm that specializes in the design of commercial buildings. I have always liked spaces that a multitude of people could live under rather than residential or small-scale buildings. Most of my favorite buildings are commercial and institutional. The reason I envision myself in this part of the building industry is because I see more potential for employment and self-development. I want to ultimately specialize in MEP Building Systems and work as specialist. I have already planned out my post-college career in order to facilitate my entry into this field. In addition to what I specifically want to focus on, my next goal after graduating is to gain experience and become a licensed architect.
The reason why I want to design for larger commercial buildings is because of their more complex nature and they are more impressionable when completed. The awe of observing these successfully built structures remains decades after completion. There is economic opportunity in MEP and building systems because there are always issues that occur and because of technology, new and improved iterations come about. As mentioned in page 25 of the reading “Mechanical systems are about the most demanding in terms of first cost, operating cost, and space required (both for the central equipment and the distribution systems).” It goes on to say how the HVAC system and its controls are the topics that building users usually complain about the most. Architects rarely hear that “this building is very comfortable, never too hot too cold, or too drafty”. I want to be considerate in my designing and communication with other professionals in order to design successfully.