Saturday, February 4, 2012

Collapsed Credibility

The reports on the tunnel collapse in Montreal have been released.  The Ministry of Transport is blaming the engineers and contractors they hired but disavowing any responsibility itself.  Good times.

There is so much wrong with these reports, let me count the ways:

  1. The initial design: why was there a need for very heavy concrete and metal screens above the tunnel to filter the sunlight as folks enter/leave the tunnel?  Would not something lighter been fine?  Oh, and having these heavy "paralumes" rest on four inch ledges?
  2. The Minister denied any responsibility for the collapse--it is the fault of the contractors.  The Ministry should not be expected to review all of the plans, as that would mean they are re-doing all of the work of the contractors.  Um, ok.  Bad analogies were deployed--house owners do not get blamed if their house collapses.  No, but the Ministry is more than just a buyer of infrastructure.  
  3. It is always the same set of contractors--SNC-Lavalin is also building the new McGill hospital and has been tied to building stuff for Qaddafi. CIMA + and Dessau are also involed
  4. The firms say: it is just an accident.  Sure, bad things happen, not our fault.  Unless the accident is produced by bad design, bad planning, bad oversight....   Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers famously said that "Luck is the residue of design."  So, bad luck or accidents are the residue of bad design, n'est-ce pas?
Looks like the Ministry of Transport continues to lack a learning curve and seeks to cover everything in denial sauce.  

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