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CHAPTER 2 CIVIL ENGINEERS 2.1 Introduction This chapter highlights on the definition of engineering, civil engineering and further narrows down to civil engineers in the construction sector; design engineers and site engineer. This chapter also briefly focuses on the abilities of civil engineers. 2.2 Engineering Engineers are someone who is in charge of developing and building something such as a house, an airplane, a vehicle, a mechanical component of air condition and so on. Previously in the medieval times, engineers play an important role as an advisor to the king. Engineers develop catapults, battle ram, castle, fort and so on. In China, 14 engineers' role date way before the birth of Christ such as building arch bridge construction, battle ships, forts, and surprisingly, the first seismograph ever in the world. It can be said that of all engineering disciplines, civil engineers are the oldest. According to Branigan (2004), engineering is defined as " profession devoted to designing, construction and operating the structures, machines and other devices of industry and everyday life". From the definition above, it can be said that engineers make our lives better. They improve our lives in term of designing new electronic gadgets, new vehicle, better infrastructures, better buildings and so on. According to Cywinski (2001), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE 1996) defines civil engineering as ‘‘the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the progressive well-being of humanity in creating, improving and protecting the environment, in providing facilities for community living, industry and transportation, and in providing structures for the use of mankind.’’ Engineering is further divided into several disciplines, such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, aeronautical and space engineering, and the list goes on. Of all the disciplines, civil engineering is the oldest and the most comprehensive discipline of engineering. Table 2.1 below is a time line of civilization and the achievements in the field of engineering. 15 Table 2.1: Timeline of Engineering Civilisation Achievement Babylonia and Assyria Canals, dams, levees, and roads. First bridge constructed over Euphrates River on 6 B.C. Egypt Great Pyramids, Temple of Amon-Ra, causeways and roads. Greece Introduction of engineering theories. Parthenon. Introduction of Architekton, who is a designer and builder of architectural and construction expertise. Rome (2 AD) Construction of arch. Architectus, designs and construct bridges, aqueducts, highways and buildings. Aqueducts, tunnels, harbours, docks, lighthouses. Medieval and Renaissance Bridges, cathedrals and castles. Old London Europe Bridge France (17th -18th century) France pioneer in civil engineering during this time. Bridges, canals, roads, water supply Britain The first institution for engineers was established, The Institution of Civil Engineers in 1818. Civil Engineering and architecture is defined as two separate professions. Architects are into aesthetical aspect of a structure, while engineers are into developing a scientific and rational design. United States The establishment of American Society of Civil Engineers in 1852. Building canals, railroad, developing water power. 16 In Malaysia, engineers are governed by the Board of Engineers Malaysia and also Institute of Engineers Malaysia. While Board of Engineers Malaysia is formed by the Government, Institute of Engineers Malaysia is a private institution. It is mandatory that a Professional Engineer, an engineer needs to be registered with Board of Engineers Malaysia upon graduation from technical institution. According to Philips (2003) engineers can be classified into 11 types, according to the kind of work they do—construction, consulting, design, development, teaching, planning (also called applications engineers), production, research, sales, service, and test engineers. 2.3 Civil Engineering Civil engineering is a branch of engineering and by far, the oldest. In Malaysia alone, more than half of the engineers are civil engineers (Gue, 1996). Basically civil engineers are involved in the design, construction and management of turning a drawing into a tangible object. Just by saying that about civil engineers is simply not enough. However, the definition of civil engineers does not stop here. They are people, with vast knowledge in mathematics and science and not only do they construct, but they have to do it in an economically manner. For example, if a layman can build a house at the cost of RM 10,000, then a civil engineer should be able to build a safe structure at RM 5,000. 17 Below is a definition of civil engineers. " A profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind" (from the 1962 definition adopted by the Engineers' Council for Professional Development, cited from Branigan 2004) Branigan (2004), further stated that civil engineering is " planning, designing, construction and maintenance of structures and altering geography to suit human needs. Some of the numerous sub structures are transportation (railroad facilities and highways), hydraulics (river control, irrigation, swamp draining, water supply, sewage disposal) and structures (bridges, tunnels, buildings)" Khurshid (2001) pointed out that civil engineering is "involved with the design and construction of large buildings (skyscrapers), roads and traffic systems, railways, mine sites, canals, waterways water supply and irrigation systems. Mainly the projects tend to be large, costly infrastructure systems, involving teamwork and planning in design and construction." According to Gue (1996), civil engineers have an important role to play in advising policy makers and also contribute directly to the process of formulating, planning, design and implementing infrastructure projects. There is also a need for civil engineers to be aware of the importance of coordinated approach to long term planning for adequate and efficient infrastructure. Abi-Karam (2000) noted the mission and identity of civil engineers in today's society 18 " Our basic mission, as outlined in any number of mission statements, building codes, and bylaws, is to protect life and safety, to address human needs, and to provide for those needs." From the citations, it can be generalised that civil engineers are professionals whose expertise may include planning, design, management and construction of civil structures, for the purpose of mankind. It may ranges from houses to airport, water tower to dock yard, canals to tunnels, highway to waste treatment. Civil engineering is further divided into several disciplines. Khurshid (2001) stated that civil engineering is divided into construction engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, environmental engineering, transportation engineering and water resources engineering. Kwaku (1985) generalised the responsibilities of a typical civil engineer in the construction field. They are: 1. Interpret the owner's needs into drawings and specifications. Responsible for providing drawings and specifications that do not contain conflicts, duplications or omissions 2. Approves all manufacturer's and suppliers' materials and samples, and deals with all questions of substitution 3. Provides on-site monitoring services and reviews all inspection reports and change orders 4. Responsible for construction methods, costs, and schedules 5. Through the contract requirements, an engineer has indirect responsibility to the general contractor, as does the general contractor to him. 19 Randolph et al. (2003) came up with a more detailed the responsibilities of a typical civil engineer. The responsibilities are: ■ Serves as technical advisor and supervisor for construction projects ■ Responsible for daily administration of project ■ Must create friendly relationship with both internal and external parties ■ Provides a wide range of engineering services such as design, contract preparations, bid evaluations, and inspections ■ Makes periodic reviews to ensure correctness of project records and adequacy of contract funds ■ Must be clear and concise on intentions for awarded project ■ Analyzes complex engineering projects and determines the best cost-effective approach ■ Develops, organizes, and analyzes engineering and financial data ■ Should have good communication with utility companies and other public agencies involved in the project, enabling all parties to schedule their work or services in the best interest of all concerned ■ Reviews and approves preliminary and final plans ■ Presents reports in written or oral formats to city council, various public organizations, and boards ■ Must establish proper contact with property owners adjacent to project site as they are the most affected by construction operations ■ Meets with designer as many times as needed to get a final product that meets expectations of all parties ■ Must have a good understanding of all plans and specifications governing the contract ■ Maintains records of correspondence and important discussions meetings ■ Must be readily available and willing to cooperate with contractors to provide timely and proper answers to all concerns and inquiries ■ Plans, schedules, and coordinates project activities 20 ■ Prepares policies, procedures, specifications, and standards ■ Enforces quality control procedures ■ Budgets for personnel and other necessary resources ■ Reviews contractor’s claims and change orders ■ Implements and enforces all safety-related activities ■ Handles disputes and claims Formulation Design Development Construction Documentation Bidding and Negotiation Construction Project Closeout Figure 2.1: Traditional Construction Process 21 Figure 2.1 shows a typical construction process from the start till the end of a project. Typically, a civil engineer is involved in the design stage as a design engineer, to design the structure of a building. In the construction phase, the contractor ensures a smooth flow of construction procedures to ensure the project is built within the scope, budget, time and quality. A typical construction consists of three main parties. They are Client/ Developer, Contractor and Designer. This is illustrated in Figure 2.2 below: Developer Designers Contractor Figure 2.2: Three Main Parties in Construction The developer may be an owner. According to Kwaku (1985) a developer is a real estate practitioner who assembles various segments of a deal that ultimately ends with a syndicated ownership of a property. The developer also decides with the engineer or contractor on the type of facility to go on the site. Usually developer has its own in house engineer and other construction professionals. Designers usually involves architect and design engineer. Architect produces the architectural drawings and specifications needed for the project. Design engineer produces structural drawing to ensure the building is safe. 22 Contractor is the party appointed by the owner or the developer to build a particular project. Contractor is responsible for the performance of all work in accordance with the contract documents that have been prepared by the designer. Contractor provides labour, equipment, material and the necessary procedures to build a project. Contractors usually have their own in house construction professionals such as engineers, architects and quantity surveyors. In construction management, basically, there are two types of civil engineers involved. First, it is the design engineer, or usually called consultant engineer. The second type of civil engineer involved in construction is Site Engineer. However, in Malaysia, there is no standardization in the usage of the word engineer or civil engineer. Sometimes, an experience foreman is called an engineer, even he does not hold a degree in civil engineer. The term civil engineer is used loosely, especially in construction. It can be site engineer, site supervisor, project engineer, assistant project manager, client's representatives or just the word contractor, if the engineer works for contractor. The field of ‘‘engineering’’ has many persons with ‘‘engineer’’ titles, who are not professional engineers, as well as many who are trained in the engineering profession, but are actually working as trainees, junior engineers or draftsmen. [29 C.F.R. § 541.308(b)], cited from Mitchell and Eschenbach (1999). But for the purpose of this paper, only technically qualified site engineer and design engineer in the field of construction are taken into account. 23 2.3.1 Design Engineer A design engineer has the responsibility of converting an architectural drawing into an engineering drawing. If the design engineer is a structural engineer, then he needs to analyse and design the structure into structural drawing. Oberlender (1993) noted that a design engineer is also responsible for producing design alternatives, computations, drawings and specifications that meet the needs of the owner and the rules and regulation. It also comprises site inspection and review of workshop drawings. Sometimes, they are called Structural Engineer or plainly as consultant engineer. This is mainly because they deal with structural drawings. According to Cywinski (2001), the definition of structural engineering (IABSE 1998), ‘‘is the science and art of planning, design, construction, operation, monitoring and inspection, maintenance, rehabilitation and preservation, demolishing and dismantling of structures, taking into consideration technical, economic, environmental, aesthetic and social aspects.’’ Basically, they transform architectural drawing into engineering drawing. Design engineers main objective is to come up with a structural design that is safe and economical. Even though most of design engineers' work as on computations, calculation and drawing, they are needed to do routine site inspection of the project under them. This is to ensure that whatever that is constructed on the site is in compliance to the specification in the engineering drawing. Sometimes, a design engineer also advises the client at the conceptual stage of the construction process. According to Mitchell and Eschenbach (1999), consulting engineers work under constant pressure of meeting datelines. Their work sometimes may require them to work more than 40 hours a week. In the light of modern technology, various engineering 24 software are available to help design engineer in their design, and also to be more effective. According to Salter and Gann (2003), the engineering design process is principally concerned with how things ought to be. One needs to think creatively in order to solve design problems. This process of creation often involves developing new combinations of existing technologies. 2.3.2 Site Engineer Site engineer, are engineers who are mostly based on the site. The term site engineers are loosely used. Sometimes they are called Assistant Project Manager, Site Supervisor, Construction Engineer or just plainly engineer. These types of engineers are responsible of transforming drawings, into a tangible object through a systematically planned construction procedures. The duties of site engineers include ensuring a smooth flow of the construction phase of the project, procurement of materials, solving any problems that occur at the site, to communicate with other construction parties and to prepare any necessary reports. Not only do they need to be good in engineering skills, they need to have good knowledge in management, finance, and planning (Khurshid, 2001). In Malaysia, Site Engineers usually work either for developers, or for contractors. The nature of site engineers' work can be described as tough. They need to coordinate with sub-contractors, engineers, architect, client, and also their superiors. They also need to do daily inspection, to check the progress, and also to inspect that the quality of work done at the site is of appropriate quality. Not only do they have to be 25 under the grueling weather most of the time, they are also the first in the line of fire, in case of any errors occurred at the site. Besides that, they are also exposed to any probable dangers and risks at the construction site. Thus, it can be said that site engineers bear a heavy responsibility that comes at a rather hefty price. A site engineer, normally, works not only by using their skill and thinking, but also their physical energy. Sometimes they need to travel to remotely located sites. Although a civil engineer is a noble profession, at some times, it may be very taxing due to the hectic, demanding nature of the work and unplanned event Typical work activities of a Site Engineer (taken from prospect.ac.uk, 2004) A site engineer acts as the prime technical adviser on a construction site for sub- contractors, craftsmen and operatives. The role typically includes the following tasks: ■ Setting out (marking the position of structures), surveying and levelling the site; ■ Checking drawings and quantities and ensuring that the calculations are accurate for the work; ■ Overseeing the selection and requisition of materials and plant for use in the construction, and agreeing prices for items; ■ Planning the work and efficiently organising the plant and site facilities in order to meet an agreed programme of deadlines; ■ Communicate and coordinate with any consultants and/or sub-contractors engaged in the project; ■ Attending regular meetings with clients, architects and consultants and keeping them informed of progress; ■ Supervising and monitoring the site labour force and subcontractors; ■ Overseeing quality control and safety matters on the site ■ Solving any unexpected technical difficulties and other problems that may arise. 26 2.4 Behaviour and Abilities of Civil Engineers It can be seen that civil engineers' jobs are demanding. Thus, in order to be a good civil engineer, one needs to have an analytical mind, and also the ability to think out of the box. To say that a civil engineer's needs are based solely on intelligence alone is an understatement. A civil engineer needs to be able to communicate, write technical report, manage people and as a team leader and player. In the nature of construction, civil engineers are usually preferred to be an all rounder, not only in their expertise skills, but also in other skills that may be appropriate in the nature of construction. Mitchell and Eschenbach (1995) noted that engineers should require ‘‘knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction and study’’ [29 C.F.R. § 541.3(a)(1)]. The work must require ‘‘the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment in its performance’’ [29 C.F.R. § 541.3(b)] Being a civil engineer, one should be a person through systematic training and education. For example, in design, engineers follow their design code and procedure step by step. In construction, engineers make sure the structural elements of a building are built systematically, one by one, step by step. Even though civil engineers are systematic in their thinking, this does not mean that they are trained to be like a robot. A civil engineer, or any type of engineers needs to think out of the box, to think creatively and analytically in order to overcome various types of problems. Thus, it can be said that engineers are problem solver. And most of the answers to the problems faced by engineers are not in the books. But answers are found due to their ability to think creatively and analytically. 27 Due to their analytical mind, civil engineers are skeptical people. Whatever they are designing there are some sense of sceptism involved such as "Why," "How", and "What If". It is due to such sceptism, engineers are who they are today. Because of their sceptism, they impose a higher safety factor in their design, assume a bigger loading and assume a larger component for a building. And because of this sense of sceptism, engineers tend to look for a better and refined solution. Even though civil engineers are heavily trained in terms of engineering principles and knowledge, the learning life of a civil engineer does not stop the moment he/she graduates from university. A civil engineer needs to upgrade their engineering knowledge constantly, mainly because of the evolution of the engineering world, in terms of new concepts, new construction techniques, new CAD software and so on. It can be said that engineers evolve around science and technology. According to Job Guide 2004, civil engineers generally have the following characteristic: ■ able to identify, analyse and solve problems ■ good oral and written communication skills ■ aptitude for computing and design ■ practical and creative ■ able to work with little or without supervision ■ able to work as part of a team ■ able to accept responsibility ■ willing to contribute and adhere to the safety requirements of the engineering operation 28 One of the greatest things about civil engineers is the sense of pride and achievement from the structures , which they designed or constructed. The results of their work, is something tangible, such as a highway, a building, a dam, and so on. This is what makes civil engineering a noble profession. It gives a sense of responsibility, pride and achievement from their contribution in their work.
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