ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

This assignment addresses the following objectives for the course as outlined in the course specification:
a.review and analyse the role of engineers as managers;
b.understand the planning process and distinguish the different types of organisational planning;
c.evaluate the various forms of organisational structure, the principles of organisational design, and the role and functions of human resource management;
d.evaluate the characteristics of effective management control, including elements of operations and financial control;
e.distinguish and discuss the social and legal responsibilities relating to product liability and professional negligence.
ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

Special Instructions
This assignment is to be electronically submitted via Study desk assignment drop-box.Please submit as a generated PDF file or Word file. Do not submit zip files or scanned PDF files.
File name for your assignment may follow the following format:- Student surname (in capitals)_first name_ENG3003_ASS 1_S3_2019 This is not critical but helps in sorting student submissions.

CASE STUDY: “A flood of decisions”
The management of water supply in south-east Queensland over the last decade provides an interesting example of engineers working in new and rapidly changing contexts. They have had to manage their own time, set priorities, and learn to operate the water supply and flood mitigation systems during periods of extreme weather conditions: firstly, during long periods of drought between 2001 and 2009, when the combined water storage in the region’s three largest dams dropped to less than 17 per cent; and then over the 2010–11 summer, when record-breaking rainfall events were experienced.

The largest dam in the system, Wivenhoe Dam, was built by the Queensland government following the devastating Brisbane flood in 1974. The dam was designed to augment

Brisbane’s water supply and to protect the city from similar flood events in the future. It holds 1 165 000 megalitres (ML) when its water supply compartment (i.e. its base capacity) is at 100 per cent, and a further 1 420 000 ML when its mitigation compartment (i.e. its top-up capacity) is at 100 per cent. Thus, the dam’s total capacity is 2 585 000 ML. The flood
mitigation compartment is designed to temporarily store upstream floodwaters and then release that water in a controlled manner to minimise flows in the Brisbane River, and thus minimise downstream flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich. The personnel who manage the dam are, under Queensland legislation, required to follow the operating manual to avoid any liability for losses resulting from water releases from the dam. Because approximately 50 per cent of the Brisbane River catchment lies below Wivenhoe Dam, the dam can only be used to mitigate floods, not prevent them.

During 2010, the controlling weather pattern shifted from El Niño to La Niña, resulting in increased rainfalls and, in some areas, record-breaking rains. There had been celebrations in April 2009 when Wivenhoe Dam reached 40 per cent capacity and water restrictions were relaxed. However, many people did not believe the drought was over until the dam reached
100 per cent of its water supply capacity on 4 October 2010 and the flood gates were opened for the first time since 2001. By the end of December 2010, the dam was at 102 per cent capacity, and the catchment was saturated following record rainfalls during the month. At 12.26 pm on Wednesday 5 January 2011, operations personnel at Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam received a timely alert from Wivenhoe Dam engineering officer Graham Keegan. It was entitled ‘Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) severe weather warning — dam flood operations’, and warned that significant rainfall of 100 mm to 200 mm ‘may occur during the next few days’ and that:

Somerset and Wivenhoe Dams are still above (full supply level) and rising slowly due to continuing base-flows from their catchments. As the catchments are still wet it is likely that we will be releasing floodwaters in the near future if BOM’s forecasts are accurate. Please be prepared. We will keep you up to date with our plans as this event develops.

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

Instead of draining the dam’s flood compartment as the waters rose with the heavy rainfall on 9–10 January 2011, the water levels were permitted to rise, eroding the dam’s capacity for flood storage.

This delay resulted in an emergency release of water on 11 January when the levels got so high that they threatened the stability of the dam. Prior to this, the government advised the residents of southeast Queensland that the release of this water into the Brisbane River, together with the peak flows from Lock yer Creek and other tributaries, would lead to severe flooding in Brisbane and Ipswich on Thursday 13 January. The rest is history and, although the flood did not reach the 1974 peak, it caused enormous damage to both cities.

In the following week, the government established the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry to report on, among other matters, flood modelling and warning systems, the operating manual, and the management of Wivenhoe Dam and other flood mitigation systems. The Commission’s report found that the dam was operated in breach of the manual
over 8 and 9 January, and one of its 172 recommendations was that the Crime and Misconduct Commission should investigate the documents prepared by three of the four approved flood engineers and their oral evidence. Clearly, over the last decade the water engineers working for south-east Queensland water authorities have learnt to manage the
infrastructure at both ends of the climate spectrum. During the long periods of drought, they learnt to manage dwindling water supplies across the region and advised government on the strategies that could be used to guarantee water supplies should the drought continue into the future.

To do this, they would have used a range of rainfall and water use patterns to develop and analyse the different scenarios. They would have then advised the relevant government and water supply agencies about water restriction policies and their implementation.

They would have also managed decreasing water levels and the large tracts of land that emerged as water levels dropped in Wivenhoe and other dams. In late 2010, the system moved to the other extreme, and the management focus switched from water supply to flood mitigation. In the first week of January 2011, the Wivenhoe operations team were managing a
system that had reached critical levels. John Truman, national president of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia, highlighted the lessons that could be learnt from the many flood events that occurred over the 2010–11 summer:

The scale of these events will provide many lessons and new information. These lessons will be at each of the individual local areas that have been affected and they will also be at the broader engineering profession level where standards and policies will need to be reviewed.

The management of Wivenhoe Dam during the south-east Queensland floods demonstrates the importance of accurate information in the workplace.

Generally, good decisions are consultative decisions, but when is consultation finite, and who decides that? For example, former Queensland Water Minister Stephen Robertson was briefed in October 2010 by the Bureau of Meteorology that the impending wet season would be
‘unusually intense’. He then sought advice from the water grid manager, who had no direct role in managing the dams — but not from the government department responsible for flood mitigation and dam safety. In March 2012, the Flood Commission handed down its findings, which included a recommendation that the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) investigate the conduct of the dam operators.

In August 2012, the CMC ruled that the engineers concerned had, in fact, acted appropriately in the stressful situation. The Commission also found that some of the information presented in the dam’s operating manual was contradictory, which meant that there was little evidence of misconduct by the engineers themselves. This presents a perfect example of the importance of clear, consistent and accurate information in the workplace, which serves to aid the decision-making processes of both staff and management.

Answer the following questions about the case study: –

Question 1
What information sources (or potential information sources) could have been used to assist when the decision-making process for Wivenhoe Dam in this case? Explain why reliability of information sources is critical to decision making, and how reliability can be improved and/or enhanced using today’s technologies and engineering practices in relations to the case study.

Question 2
With reference to decision-making theory covered in the chapter, describe the type of managerial decision-making evident in this case, and the conditions under which decisions were made.

Question 3
Evaluate the decisions made in the case in relation to the classical, behavioural and judgemental heuristics approaches to decision-making that are outlined in the chapter. Which model do you believe best describes the situation and subsequent decision-making process in this case? Justify your answer.

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

(i) Marks will be allocated in the following way:
Question 1 Maximum 50 marks
Question 2 Maximum 30 marks
Question 3 Maximum 50 marks
Written Communication: Maximum 70 marks
Total Maximum 200 marks

(ii) The required format for the case study is:
Title page
Executive summary
Table of contents
Body of the analysis (Answers to specific questions)
List of references

(iii) The answer should be no more than 2000 words in total. This is merely a guide and there is no penalty associated with this word count.

(iv) The exact number of words in the report should be reported on the Title Page.

(v) The report should be word processed and presented as if it was a professional management consultant report.

(vi) Written communication will be assessed in this assignment and will contribute to your overall Communications mark in the course ENG3003 Engineering Management.

(vii) Please note that if plagiarism or cheating is detected in this assignment it will result in no marks for the assignment. Students should ensure they clearly understand the meaning of plagiarism and cheating. In particular, students should understand that while they may collaborate with other students on the conceptual ideas in their assignments, the final written report submitted by each student must be unique, and must not contain the written material of any other student in the course, or any other person without due acknowledgement.

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

ENG3003 Engineering Management Assignment-Australia

(viii) All sources of information used in the preparation of the report should be adequately referenced, and you may have to consulted works outside the
formal study materials.

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