Spotlight on ethics: Glass safety in a heritage building conversion

Do engineers have a responsibility to warn the public if there is a chance of risk?

This is one of the questions posed in our beginner level Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study, Glass safety in a heritage building conversion, which addresses the ethical issues of safety, communication, whistleblowing and power, with the aim of developing ethical awareness in learners.

This case concerns a construction engineer navigating multiple demands. The engineer must evaluate trade-offs between technical specifications, historical preservation, financial limitations, social needs, and safety. Some of these issues have obvious ethical dimensions, while others are ethically more ambiguous. In addition, the engineer must navigate a professional scenario in which different stakeholders try to influence the resolution of the dilemma.

Now, as well as the activities within the original case study, we have provided an expansion on one of the activities in the form of a Case enhancement, which asks learners to dig deeper into the ethical issues in the case through a debate.

We’ve provided this, and other case studies and case enhancements for you to use and adapt in your teaching. If you’re new to ethics, we have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

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