Gracelynn Soesanto EAS 203 Dr. Brittany Shields Letter to a Government Agency 23 September 2018 To Whom It May Concern: My name is Gracelynn Soesanto and I am a structural engineer with Gillum-Colaco, Inc. At Gillum-Colaco, we are currently working on a project based in Philadelphia’s Center City Business District, and we were tasked with erecting a new, cantilevered office tower in the area. Today, I am writing to inform you of two possible safety concerns that my company supervisors dismissed when I brought it up to them in a recent memorandum.
To provide you with context, while our team was meeting with with our lead architect, Devon Wright, for this project, he was able to communicate to us the materials that he would like for us to use during the construction of the foundation as well as the skeleton frame of the skyscraper. The present situation is that our team was met with two main challenges posted by budget constraints. In order to cut costs, we have been instructed to alter the formula for the cement, and use a higher water to cement ratio for the concrete we are supposed to use to build the foundation.
Apart from that, we were also unable to obtain the steel required to build the skeleton frame, and were instead told to construct a frame comprising of wood. As stated previously, the building is cantilevered. If we have neither a sturdy foundation, nor a proper frame during construction, the overhanging part of the architecture may not hold.
Should we carry on with this action plan, I worry that the public may be put at involuntary risk (Fleddermann 75), and that this will give rise to dire and irreversible consequences (Fleddermann 76). As an engineer, it is my duty to produce ethical designs and protect the safety of the public. This being so, allow me to introduce two solutions to the issues I have raised earlier: First, it is important that we have a substantial foundation on which we could build the office tower.
Following our deliberations during the design stage, the team decided that the type of concrete foundation that is best suited for supporting the building would be the high performance M-70 grade concrete. This formulation is designed for low porosity, thus increasing the compressive strength of the concrete. The high performance concrete also has a high abrasion resistance, as well as a high modulus of elasticity (Panchal 13). This will ensure that the unique and modern structure of the new office building will stay up right. Next, we must know that despite there being a strong foundation, a building will not stand if it has a weak frame. We have decided that it is best to go with a structural steel skeleton frame to reinforce the protruding part of the architecture. Aside from being easily forgeable, structural steel is the ideal material for construction of the building’s skeleton frame because it is known to be strong, hard, and most importantly, durable (“3 Uses of Structural Steel”, 2016).
These properties guarantee that the office tower will remain in tact. Having said that, I am aware that replacing wood with steel for the skeleton frame, and building a foundation using the M-70 grade concrete may seem costly in the short run. However, I strongly believe that these solutions are necessary investments. Not only would they prolong the longevity of Wright’s designs, they will also ultimately increase the safety of the people who will be working in and near the building. To reiterate, I am worried that if no action is to be taken place, there might be fatalistic consequences for both the institution I work for and the public. It is my responsibility as an engineer to make sure that the projects I involve myself in are morally acceptable.
It is my recommendation that some form of government intervention (Fleddermann 80) has to take place before construction of the building takes place. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I appreciate your consideration, and hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Gracelynn Soesanto Works Cited Panchal, Jay. “High Strength m70 Concrete Grade.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 4 Sept. 2017, www.slideshare.net/jaypanchal62/high-strength-m70-concrete-grade. “3 Common Industrial Uses Of Structural Steel.” Edmonton Structural Steel Fabrication, 29 Nov. 2016, northern-weldarc.com/3-common-industrial-uses-structural-steel/.