Case Study

8Case Study

Case Study


Engineers need to ensure that they apply and make use of all available literature and theory to come up with structures with adequate design. This report sets out to give a summary of the case study; this section will be closely followed by the discussion of how the existing problem was solved as well as a discussion of the role that social responsibility plays in the engineering practice. The report will also discuss the outcomes of the project including the resulting changes that have occurred to the councils practice. There will also be a conclusion and it will include actions that one can take to ensure that that he or she so socially responsible in future and also in the next internship.

Summary of case

Ku-ring-gai council is an agency of the local government with employee base f 500 employees and it is located in Sydney north shore and it covers an area of approximately 84 square kilometers. Ku-ring-gai has about 9 suburbs as well as around 108,000 residents. There are five major departments in the council namely development and regulation, civil, community, operations and corporate, and strategy and environment department. All these departments work collaboratively with each other to offer the residents with facilities, services and events aimed satisfying the needs of the community. The trainee worked as a trained design and project engineer and he worked under the operations department which undertakes roles related t the upkeep of asses as well as the creation of new infrastructures. The trainee was responsible for the design, management and construction of civil engineering projects in addition to the budgeting, estimation as well as reporting. His general area of work was upgrading of the council wide design standards such as the driveway profiles, pits and kerb ramps, town centre designs, road design and construction, design and construction of the drainage of storm water, engineering as well as construction advice and access design. The office environment seems causal but was in a way professional and community focused and this enabled the work of trainee since it gave him the freedom of exploring the various design as well as construction methodologies. The existing issue was a fatality at an existing pedestrian crossing and it need to be upgraded to the latest roads and maritime services pedestrian crossing standards.


The problem was solved by integrating the Ku-ring-gai council database and also by interviewing the local residents and other group of stakeholders so as to come up with a list of issues that would be considered when upgrading the pedestrian crossing and also there was a selection of the most appropriate design. The interactive approach adopted ensured that all the stakeholders involved were consulted and their opinions taken into consideration in the upgrade leading to a more satisfied group of stakeholders. Based on the fact that the location comprised the intersection of a number of community activities some ethical considerations have to be made since the change would affect a great number of people. apart from the cage and the newsagent there were also a number of bus stops, a major access point to the Gordon stations as well as a drop-off and pick-up point for those people who were travelling from and to Gordon by car. Additional the area to be modifies was also surrounded by a number of houses and apartments building this further increases the number of people to be affected and thus it would seem unethical to execute the proposed design without an alignment of the engineering criteria to the needs of the community that would be affected in a direct manner.

The implementing of the chosen design saw some modification to help in solving the existing problems. I applied my leadership and creativity by broadening the scope of the design so as to incorporate the entire intersection such as the dilapidated council assets and the footpaths. I also employed my leadership in solving the risks that I had identified earlier in the project for instance the risk of coming up with a new design that introduces new safety issues while at the same time solving the already existing ones and the risk of the primary contractor failing to construct the small tolerances that were ensuring for achieving the storm water drainage solution. My creativity was also evident in that due to the fact that the worksite was at a train station and also across a drop-off area of a school, I eliminated the risk by ensuring that the construction was done during the school holidays. At the same time I made used of a professional traffic control company to help in the management of traffic during the construction time. Additionally my leadership was demonstrated through the safety checks done n a daily basis and also ensuring that any new workers were well informed.

Role of social responsibility in engineering practice

Social responsibility in the engineering practice means that engineers in the profession need to ensure that they uphold the public interest and safety before all other considerations while working. This means that the engineers need to take into consideration and show outstanding regard for the consequences that their conduct is likely to bring to others and their impact of the work to the society in general (Douglas et al. 2010). In this regard engineers are expected to show determined efforts in discovering all fact related to design, deployment, development and the consequences as well as the possible positive to negative impact they may have on the society.

Social responsibility have a number of impacts to the engineering practice with the major one being heightened safety as well as the well being of the public. Based on this impact the engineers take all the necessary precautions so as to avert any kind of risks that the general public may face from their work. In regard to the case study they have ensured that the pedestrian crossing is upgraded. This was aimed at ensuring that pedestrians as well as other people making use of the roads were not involved in accidents thus showing a greater level of concern to the public (Douglas et al. 2010). Another major impact of social responsibility in the engineering practice is that they need to ensure that the funds and resources of the society are used in the most appropriate manner. In relation to this impact, engineers should ensure that they do not waste the resources such as time, money and the adequate number of personnel should be employed to work on projects so as to ensure that they are finished on time. In relation to the money issue, the budgets need to be created and should not e over priced and this would ensure that the society gets projects that are at par with the proposed budgets. Additionally, engineers need to use the right quantity and quality of materials to curb any safety issues which may arise from poor quality materials. For instance, when upgrading the pedestrian crossing the right quantity and materials should be used and also in line with budget (Dowling et al. 2013). The other impacts of social responsibility relates to the organizational and individual concern of the impacts of the engineering projects on the society where the project are being undertaken or implemented. For instance, the project being undertaken by the Ku-ring-gai council took note of these and consulted other stakeholders who could be affected by the project.


A major outcome of the project is that through it’s the engineer was able to achieve his goals of upgrading the pedestrian crossing and at the same to implementing numerous improvements to the safety and this was achieved by improving the fall of the footpaths and the roads. At the same time the sightline of the drivers and the pedestrians were also improved greatly and there were also visual aids to go in line sightline. Another major outcome that can be noted was that there was an economical solution as well as dissolution of a major local political hot topic. Another outcome was that the design played an essential role in improving the drainage so as to prevent flooding. The project also resulted in a change in the councils practice in that the project engineers made use of the council database and also interviewed the local residents well as other stakeholders such as those who had businesses around the area and came up with a number of issues that were to be considered in the development and design of the pedestrian crossing upgrade. This seemed to be an unusual practice and the council had not adopted it but based on its success the council and other engineering colleagues adopted and made use of the collaborative approach in their future projects.


In conclusion, it is evident that the project was a success as a result of the collaboration between the engineers and the various stakeholders who would have been affected by the project in one way or another. This ensured that the project was received the support of all stakeholders and this enhanced its success rate. A major action to ensure my socially responsible practice in my next internship and also into the future is ensuring that in the future projects I abide by the precautionary principle and more so when formulating and coming up with engineering designs. This will play an essential role in ensuring that the safety of people working and those who may be in close proximity to be building is assured and is upheld at times. Another action is that I will ensure that I uphold my commitment of an engineer of the design as well as the development of technologies that are sustainable. I will ensure that y taking into consideration the future of a place for example need to extension of already existing facilities and taking note of future needs for example taking note and consideration people with disabilities in the design to ensure that they can get access to the various buildings developed with ease.


Douglas et al., 2010, Citizen Engineer – A Handbook for Socially Responsible Engineering, Prentice Hall, USA pp 5 – 11.

, 2nd Ed, Wiley Australia pp 132 – 133. Engineering Your Future – An Australasian GuideDowling et al., 2013,