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Mulholland Case Summary

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Mulholland’s desire to deliver a dam overshadowed his awareness towards engineering ethics. E.F. Scattergood, a chief electrical engineer, criticized the location where Mulholland wanted to build his dam. However, due to Mulholland’s political sway, the board eventually approved his proposal. Also California’s dam law 1917 gave the state engineer the authority to oversee dam project. Which allowed Mulholland the complete authority over his dam project. Prior to the construction, there was an increase in water usage in Los Angeles, which lead to the city demanding Mulholland to increase the water supply. Mulhollands solution to this issue was to irrationally increase the wall height of the dam to allow for more water capacity. This was done…show more content…
After the collapse of the dam, many independent investigators were hired to inspect the dam site for damages. They discovered that the dam was not constructed accordingly to the design specifications. According to reports they noticed that the dam width did not exceed 140 feet as it was specified in the design. This suggests that the bottom portion of the dam may not have been adjusted to be proportional to the height. During the initial stages of construction, cracks appeared on dam, however Mulholland did not seem to be concerned. When the dam was completed, Mulholland inspected the dam by himself without any support. Even prior to the collapse of the dam, Mulholland was notified of cracks along the dam in which he concluded to be safe. As a result, the dam collapsed and took the lives of hundreds to his poor judgement. Furthermore, deputy district attorneys discovered that there were changes made on the dam by Mulholland and individuals who worked on the project. Unfortunately, these changes were not properly documented, which the district attorney’s found it difficult to understand and complete the construction process. Civil Engineers must strive to be transparent in the design and execution of a project, but Mulholland failed to do so as a chief engineer. District attorneys could not obtain documents that they requested because Mulholland failed to record enough details about the construction process, which shows Mulhollands lack of leadership as an
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