Conflicting Ethical Dilemmas
An ethical dilemma that can be distinguished from the first example is the decision of Spire engineering to give Mary the lead reasonability in a construction of a parking structure in an instance where the soil is very poor. Since it is a parking structure carrying heavy loads, Spire engineering need to assign an experienced engineer to manage the construction of concrete structure designed in soils that provide inadequate foundation. Further, Mary’s inexperience with dealing with contractors also provides an ethical situation. The contractor’s superintendent undermines her authority and knowledge. Mary also notices some concerns, which when brought to the superintendent’s attention are ignored.
After the batch plant breaks down, the already placed concrete begins to set even before the plant is up and running and this causes the formation of a cold joint, which is a zone of weakness of the structure. This increases the likelihood of the concrete developing a cold joint, which will require the concrete to be removed. However, the superintendent ignores Mary’s decision and continues without removing the set concrete. Mary ignores to seek help from her firm on the next best course of action and lets the superintendent have his way. Thus, construction on the set concrete continues and this has a high likelihood of developing safety concerns as the strength of the foundation may be compromised. Furthermore, her trusting the superintendent’s judgment is unethical since she is the supervisor of the project and is responsible for what happens in the construction. She has the authority to inform the client, which she also does not do.
Stakeholders directly or indirectly affected by the ethical decision making process
In this case, stakeholders include the client or the owner of the parking structure that employs Spire engineering, Spire Engineering, the Contractor and the clients that rented the parking space in the parking structure.
Ethical theories and ethical codes relating to the case
Different ethical codes can be related to the case. According to the ASCE ethics code , “Engineers are required to perform services only in areas of their competence”. In the introduction, Mary seems to have no experience in dealing with contractors. Furthermore, Mary was not prepared to handle. As per the code, Mary needs first to have firsthand experience in dealing with contractors so that she can be given a position to supervise a big project. The engineering code of ethics that states that “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and shall strive to comply with the principles of sustainable development in the performance of their professional duties” . Mary acts unethically in the sense that she allows the construction to proceed yet the safety of the structure has been compromised. In the end when the structure fails, some people are injured. If she was to act ethically based on this code she should have made all efforts and use the appropriate channels to ensure that the correct procedures in the construction were used. Mary also acts unprofessionally when she does not notify the client of the likelihood of issues developing because the contractor failed to remove the concrete that had set.
Based on the ethical theory of utilitarianism, Mary would have evaluated her actions in the sense that she should not have allowed the contractor to continue pouring the concrete in the foundation, as it would result in negative outcomes for most people . People negatively affected by her actions include the clients that had rented parking space, the owner of the parking structure suffered losses from the damage, and her firm was sued for the damage. The situation would have been avoided if she had taken the necessary steps to maximize positive outcomes for more people by not allowing the superintendent to continue constructing using the non-approved method. Spire Engineering did not seem to uphold the ethical code, which requires “Engineers to continue their professional development throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for their professional development of those engineers under their supervision” . Spire Engineers should have provided Mary with more support in terms of supervision and dealing with contractors, as they seem to have experienced engineers that have dealt with contractors.
Based on Immanuel’s Kant deontological theory, individuals need to choose actions that best conforms to their recognized duties . Mary’s duty is to ensure that a safe parking structure is constructed as per the design requirements. However, this seems not to be the case since by letting the superintendent to have his own way, she has made safety an unimportant issue. Mary had the control to ensure rational actions were taken to prevent failure of the structure but she chose not to follow her rational thoughts. Mary could have acted based on the ethics code of engineering that requires engineers to ensure that safety of other people is a priority in construction. Further, Mary did not do her required duty of informing the client of the actions of the superintendent which resulted in the failure of the structure. The owner also after noticing the development of the cracks would have done the duty of reporting the matter to the relevant authorities concerned with safety and strength of concrete structures to take necessary steps to reinforce the foundation to prevent the failure.
Alternative Outcomes and Their Potential Consequences
Spire engineering would have selected a more experienced engineer who has the skill in handling and dealing with contractors. This would have resulted in the set concrete being removed and the cold joint would not have been formed. Consequentially, the structure would be structural sound and no accidents and lawsuits would develop.
Spire engineering would provide an engineering supervisor to work in conjunction with Mary during the site visits to ensure her authority was not undermined. Contractors would develop more respect based on the mutual respect accorded to her by the other engineer. The client would be more informed on the progress of the construction and the contractor would not be able to do the construction without the engineers consent.
Mary would take the responsibility of informing the client that it would be necessary to remove the set in concrete and provide her justifications to the client and her engineering firm. Further, she could have documented such actions to remove her name and her firm from liability in case the client agreed to continue based on the contractors actions.
The best solution would have been alternative two. This option has the least likely chance of developing challenges since an experienced engineer has more authority. Further, Mary would get the opportunity to learn from the engineer while working under him or her. This would enable her to build her professional competence in the field.
 American Society of Civil Engineers, “ASCE Code of Ethics”. [Online]. Available:
http://www.asce.org/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/ [Accessed: Nov. 18, 2013].
 D. Birsch, Introduction to ethical Theories: A procedural Approach. : Waveland Press, 2013.