Civil Engineering Disasters Essay Sample

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Civil Engineers build significant structures that can last more than a century, some of these structures such as Burj Khalifa, pyramids and evil towers in France can be considered as landmarks, because of its history and its beauty of design. Civil Engineers study the four factors of building structures to determine which tools and materials they will use in order to build permanent structures. Although engineers studying the factors and take the determination, there is some disasters occurred in many places because of many reasons. Nick Spurrier said “There will always be failures or disasters as engineers and designers push the boundaries by building taller buildings, longer bridges, or by reaching further into space”. In this outline I will show some of engineering disasters that happened before and what are the reasons.

To start with, one of the most known widespread engineering disasters happened in Soviet Union in 26 April 1986 at 01:23:40 a.m. when a reactor number 4 exploded causing radioactive pollution, it effects reach Belarus, causing pollution on more than 3,600 towns and villages, and 2.5 million people. According to Larry West it was an operator fault (2012). Secondly, in 1975 The Banqiao Reservoir Dam in china failed causing death for over 171000 people and destroying the homes of 11 million people. It was built to occupy a huge amount of water that came from the rains. In the same year the rain started to fall , it estimated that 189.5 mm of water fell every hour it exceed the average annual rainfall, which even the engineers didn’t even accounted for the dam to occupy that much of water. In 7 august the dam broke and let the water came out. It was known as a tragedy day in china.

According to EFO staff 11 million people`s lives would never be the same. Anyone who survived the initial flooding was trapped without access to food or clean water and contaminated water caused illness throughout the area (2012). Finally, St. Francis Dam disaster which was built by an experienced civil engineer called William Mulholland; the dam itself was a curved concrete dam which means that depends on the gravity of the earth to prevent it from being pushed aside by the water that flow inside it. In 1928 the dam failed to handle the floods and destroyed causing 600 deaths and damages to the house. “It was almost like what happens in war when you have so many people killed in a short period of time” said by Grainger. Studies say that the dam failed because of a limited understanding of the geological foundation of the dam, there was lack in technology to investigate before building the dam.

At the end, although you are a successful engineer and have an experience you can commit a mistake that can cause a disaster but, the faults can be minimized by taking many steps. To start with, increasing the inspection of the construction to make sure that it has no faults and damages. Secondly, increase the review of the design itself before constructing. Finally, put new federal laws for the construction.


Civil Engineering Disasters – The St. Francis Dam Flooding. (2012). Retrieved January 10, 2013, from Case Studies in Engineering. (2013). Retrieved January 10, 2013, from Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. (2013). Retrieved January 10, 2013, from St. Francis Dam disaster: Mulholland’s tragic mistake. (2013). Retrieved January 10, 2013, from Top 10 Worst Engineering Disaster . (2013). Retrieved january 10, 2013, from

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