Looking At The Designs Of Civil Engineers Construction Essay

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Civil engineers design and manage the construction of roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and water supply and sewage systems. They should consider many factors in the design process from the construction costs and expected lifetime of a project to government policies and potential environmental hazards such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Civil engineering, considered one of the oldest engineering disciplines, assimilates many specialties (Conradie, 1999). The most crucial ones are structural, water resources, construction, transportation, and geotechnical engineering. Most of the civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions, from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. As civil engineering is continuously broadening its area of interest so significant numbers of civil engineers have also chosen their career in management, research, and teaching fields. These sort of moves demand, civil engineers must have requisite awareness about all these fields.

2. Emerging Fields in Civil Engineering

The rising need for proficient use of the earth's resources of land, air, water and raw materials as well as for proficient design, maintenance and analysis of civil structures requires a remarkably good insight in the spatial and temporal patterns of resources and activities (Conradie, 1999).. Since the parameters of civil engineering today are not only confined to design and construction of structures but due to globalization and privatization of civil engineering firms now civil engineering emerges as a study, which not only focuses on construction and design but also reflects the importance the management of the resources used in construction. Now we discuss about the various newly emerging fields of civil engineering.

Health Safety and Environmental Management Concerns

To plan, develop and maintain the build environment is the main responsibility of civil Engineers. In our routine daily lives majority of us take the built environment more or less for granted. We have gotten used to a well functioning infra-structure (Carpenter, J.,Williams, 2001). Furthermore, whereas some bridges and high rise buildings may be extremely spectacular most of the built environment is hardly noticed. This part includes sewage systems, tunnels and water supply systems; systems without which our modern society could not function. Civil engineers can be said to provide the basis for the existence and continued development of society. When civil engineers make decisions in regard to the planning, design or maintenance of the built environment they take basis in the fundamental laws of nature, e.g. the results of fundamental research in physics, chemistry and biology. Well known examples of this is the law of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics which all play crucial roles in how we design and maintain buildings and structures. However, in most cases these laws of nature cannot be directly applied to a specific engineering problem. Engineering models have to be established by combining fundamental research with numerical computer simulations and the results of carefully planned experiments.

When engineering decisions are made on behalf of society it is important that the preferences of society are consistently reflected in the decisions. Fundamentally seen the preferences of society define in which way society spends its resources for the purpose of enhancing the living conditions for the individuals living in society. Obviously this relates to how much money the society can spend on reducing the e.g. the risks associated with roadway traffic as opposed to spending money on education or public health. It has been found possible to formulate and verify a model which expresses societal preferences corresponds to investments into life saving activities and this model is now widely applied as a basis for engineering decisions on investments into life saving. In addition to life safety and economy also the environment is now considered to form a key attribute in societal decision making. In addition to this not only the preferences of our own but also future generations must be taken into account when we in our generation are making decisions with a possible impact on future generations.

The high incidence of workplace accidents and occupational diseases is a major concern for social security schemes around the world. It is estimated that more than two million people die from work-related illness or accidents each year. To address these challenges and to promote prevention, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) not only has a Technical Commission focused on the subject of insurance against employment accidents and occupational diseases, but hosts a unique network of 11 International Prevention Sections under the leadership of the Special Commission on Prevention (ISSA 2008).

3.1 Improving safety management on site

We heard that there are two ways in which safety can be improved on construction sites proper design of the construction site in the first place and the appointment of safety managers to oversee individual sites once things are up and running.

According to the HSE, a large number of construction accidents occur when workers walk across sites, handle materials or move to the workface. Causalities, however are mostly related to operationing at heights or management of site transport. Surveys show that up to half (47%) of construction accidents could have been prevented or mitigated had "designers taken different choices or actions before construction work started on site" (Marsh,T.W., 1995). Appropriate attention to design in the begining stages contributes to a safer outcome overall. For instance, at the new developed Arsenal Stadium, existing materials were cast off and a concrete mixer installed to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic on the site. Lighting and other assembling work was also finished at ground level and raised to reduce the numbers of workers operating at height. We heard that this made the job not only safer but ultimately cheaper as well. Construction Industry Council told us that it is encouraging safer design through the Safety in Design Limited company which makes benchmarking standards in relation to knowledge and competence for designers working in the built environment, through web based guidance for designers and the development of a pre-qualification criteria for clients wishing to connect design contractors/design consultants they involve.

However, very satisfactory design must be supported by on-site monitoring. Many submissions to the Committee examined that the construction industry still has far too few safety representatives working on site within Greater London."

4. Quality Management System

Quality is explained as 'suitability to purpose', that is dispensing a product (a structure) that provides a suitable quality for the purpose for that it is planned. The cost to be compensated for a building is a indication of the expectations of quality. A cheaper structure probably uses inferior and unfavorable materials and is likely to be less favorable and less sustainable. The quality is also incorporates with the production time, when the structure is proposed to be completed.

Case Study:

The UK construction sector has been challenged to adopt manufacturing concepts to improve its performance. So a survey has been conducted by the Total Quality Management (TQM). This was divided into two main sections. The first was designed to investigate the background of the company and also included questions about the number of employees, the company's main activities and the types of projects in which it was involved. The second part was related to the company's quality activities (in particular quality initiatives, certifications and continuous improvements) and processes (O'Connor, J.T., 1995).

Twenty eight construction companies that had responded to an earlier survey (O'Connor, J.T., 1995), and indicated their willingness to participate in the research, were contacted. In the event, seven agreed to take part. Each company had a three-hour interview with either one or two managers at the company's premises. The results were compiled into reports that were sent to the appropriate interviewees to validate the accuracy of the information and to avoid bias. The activities in which the case companies were involved ranged from designing and building family houses to designing and building bridges. Both large companies (those with more than 250 employees) and SMEs were represented, thereby ensuring a more generic analysis. To preserve the confidentiality of the data supplied, each company is identified by a letter. The case studies will be reported individually and then they will be cross analyzed. The aim of this whole study was to collect data from organizations and match the data with standards. If found any irregularities then suggest the organization for improvement accordingly.

In the construction firm quality management can be looked at as having three elements:

To construct a structure satisfying the client

To construct a structure where quality takes care of price concern.

To construct a structure in which enough time is spent to attain the desired quality.

Analogous to other features of construction quality management has to be premeditated. Planning management generally looking for order control system and quality for a construction project reflects this sense of order. It might be seen to be in five fundamental stages (O'Connor, J.T., 1995):

Deciding the quality of design or quality standard required by client.

Planning how to achieve the required quality, equipments, materials construction methods and personnel to be employed.

Investigate the site in order to decide feasibility of construction of the building first time at the site.

Correct any quality irregularities.

offer for long term quality control through developing systems and a quality culture.

4.1 Technical Management

This is the essential management unit for any construction project which incorporates with defining goals and constraints, and to create mathematical analysis models in solving difficult problems of raw materials, production control and inventory, among others. Technical management involves the resources and construction personnel must be utilized efficiently for the various operations to accomplish the task. At the construction site this involves management correspond to crew management with associated tasks and logistics related to operations as well as service and maintenance.

At the primary stage after surveying the site, material testing is done in order to make structure economically acceptable by ensuring all possible safety concerns for the users. Many standard codes are used for setting up the qualities of material and other raw materials such as The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) favors application and development of quality control system standards, including international standards such as the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC)and "ISO-9000", to certified engineering services and the application of standards to the constructed project (O'Connor, J.T., 1995). So technical management also deals with matching up the standards of materials and if they match then plan it to use efficiently. It even associates in forecasting various aspects which may affect the cost, safety and production time of the structure.

It is obvious that quality and cost are the major concerns for any construction. Cost is related to the quality that needs to be known for management decisions. The cost of construction can be fallen down as follows. There are many issues other than raw material and labor cost, which individual has to deal to estimate the final cost of structures such as:

There are sites which need demolishing of one structure and making another structure, so in this case the total cost and production time would be different from the estimates.

The costs of supplying appropriate designs, more training to reduce failure costs and a lot of maintenance work.

4.2 Project Management

Project Management Organization is a structure that is purposely designed for executing projects. It is specifically customized to reach the demands of difficult projects by separating unique work and maintaining a strong attention on accomplishing the project (R. M. Wideman, 1986). Once the project is finished, this structure disbands. This structure is efficient in managing dedicated resources throughout the life period of the project. This section presents requirements and techniques during project planning, cost estimation, including risk assessment, predicting and economic assessment. It is the section when design and planning phase in which major cost savings may be evaluated during the eventual operation and construction phases. The particular and essential duties of the Project Manager vary depending upon the company size, the industry, the company maturity, and the company culture. However, there are few responsibilities those are common to all type of Project Management organizations (J.E. Diekmann, 1986)

Specification of project aims and plans including explanation of budgeting, scope of the project, scheduling, selecting project participants and setting performance requirements.

Maximization of proficient resource deployment through procurement of materials, equipment and labor according to the standard schedule and plan.

Execution of various operations through appropriate coordination and control of planning, estimating, contracting design, and construction in the complete process.

Improvement of effective communications and mechanisms for sorting out conflicts among the diverse participants.

Fig 1. Schematic diagram of project management (R. M. Wideman, 1986)

Operations Management

Operations Management (OM) is related to the inventory, production, delivery of products and services. OM is a unit that enables enterprises to attain their plans by efficient utilization and acquisition of resources. It prescribes the acquisition, utilization and development of resources that organizations need to provide the goods and services to their customers wish for. Eventually, OM includes the planning, design and management of all processes, activities and facilities required to convert resources into goods and services.

Operational Managers has to control most of the organizational resources such as money, personnel, materials, buildings and machineries, used in manufacturing or in delivering services. It is of crucial importance that these resources are used efficiently and effectively, in order to attain soaring levels of productivity and competitiveness.

The efficient and effective use of these resources needs the sorts of knowledge and skills given by OM concepts, tools and techniques. The work and duty of Operational management ranges from strategic to operation and tactical levels. Strategic problems may incorporate with deciding the location and dimension of manufacturing plants, deciding the body of service networks and scheming technology supply chains. And tactical problems may include plant layout and equipment selection. In brief, operational tasks may include production, material handling, quality control, scheduling and inventory management.

Financial and Commercial Systems

5.1 Financial Systems

In finance, the financial system is the system that allows the transfer of money between savers and borrowers. Financial systems are essential to the allocation of resources in a contemporary economy. These systems link household savings to the corporate sector and allocate investment funds among firms. They permit inter temporal smoothing of consumption by households and expenditures by firms and they also facilitate households and firms to share risks. These functions are general to the financial systems of most developed and developing economies. Though the form of these financial systems varies widely as per the requirement.

Generally we know that the civil engineering projects are very large and demands a very huge amount of money. One particular is solely unable to fill that demand of money. Here financial system plays a crucial role, which ensures to provide any sudden and large requirement of money. They have power to monitor the whole market and handle the economy of a large domain.

Financial systems also assist to inform your organization's planning and action plans. Financial systems also help you manage and track the resources required to productively finish your task. These guidelines give fundamental practices those you will need to build financial sustainability in your organization. Also there are lots of other reasons why developing financial systems are important include:

Financial capacity and systems help the firm to make sound decisions based on cash flow and accessible resources

Monitoring funds, or comparing real income and expenses versus budgeted amounts, helps managers ensure that the compulsory funds are in place to entire an activity

Most governments require that charitable and registered organizations form accounts that track income and expenses

Funders need reports that reveal that grants were utilized for intended aims

Establishing clear accounting procedures and financial controls help to ensure that the funds have been utilizing for intended purposes

Clear planning, transparency and realistic projections contribute to the credibility of the organization.

5.2 Commercial Systems

The term commercial system is general and applies to any group or organization with a particular set of priorities, strategies, skills and resources that are organized to collectively accomplish the specific aim of making a profit. Eventually, the primary concern of commercial organizations or systems is to get a profit for the shareholders, owner or both by giving products and services.

For properly understanding what a commercial organization is needs being familiar for profit activities commercial organizations participate in.

Thus both systems have their distinct role in any construction project. Financial system ensures the availability of necessary funds and proper distribution of it to the various departments of project. Where as commercial system aims to provide maximum profit to owner and even more satisfaction to customer.

Human Resource Management (HRM)

It is the strategic approach to the management of a group's most valued possessions. The people working there who have contribution to the achievement of the goals of the business. The expressions "human resource management" (HRM) and "human resources" (HR) have widely replaced the expression "personnel management" as a explanation of the methods concerned to managing people in firms. In simple sense, HRM means employing personnel, Utilizing and developing their resources, compensating and maintaining their services according to organizational requirement.

The HRM function has undergone significant change over the past couple of years. Big organizations couple of years ago looked to the Personnel Department typically to manage the rules and regulations around hiring and paying people (Ulrich, Dave, 1996). But nowadays, organizations consider the HR Department as contributing a major role in training, staffing and helping to manage public so that employees and the organizations are contributing at higher capability in a highly fulfilling manner. However, most of the HR functions these days fight back to get beyond the importance of management and employee champion, and are considered rather as reactive than strategically partners for the top management.

These conventional expressions are becoming less ordinary for the theoretical constraint. At times even industrial and employee relations are confusingly interpreted as synonyms, however these generally refer to the bond between management and workers and the performance of workers in companies. The speculative discipline is based mostly on the postulation that employees are individuals with changeable goals and requirements, and as such they should not be reckoned as necessary business resources, like filing cabinets and trucks. The field needs a optimistic and enthusiastic attitude of workers, assuming that practically all are willing to contribute to the enterprise fruitfully, and that the main obstacles to their endeavors are lack of insufficient training, knowledge, and failures of process.

"Human Resource Management" (HRM) and "Human Resource Development" (HRD) have been visualized by various practitioners in the area as a more pioneering view of work place management than the conventional approach. These techniques prompt the managers of an activity to articulate their goals with specificity so that they can be conveyed and undertaken by the work force and to supply the resources wanted for them to successfully accomplish their assignments. In particular, HRM techniques, when correctly practiced, are expressive to the plans and operational practices of the project overall. HRM is also considered by many to have a key contribution in risk reduction within the organizations.

6.1 HRM And Personnel Management

The both terms human resource management (HRM) and human resources (HR) have widely replaced by the term personnel management as a explanation of the schemes used in managing people in firms. In general and common sense, HRM implies maintaining and employing people, developing their resources, utilizing and compensating their services according to the job and organizational requirement.

The basic contention of the academic theory of "HRM" is that humans are not machines, therefore we all need to have an interdisciplinary check up of people in the workplace. Fields such as psychology, Legal or Paralegal Studies, industrial and organizational psychology, industrial engineering, critical theories, sociology and industrial relations. Postmodernism and post-structuralism play a important role (Smit, Martin E.J.H., 2006). A lot of universities and colleges provide bachelor as well as master degrees in Human Resources Management.

The Human Resources Management function comprises of a variety of activities and key among those activities is deciding what staffing needs you to encompass and whether to use independent contractors or get employees to fulfill these needs, recruiting and training the best workers by ensuring that they are high performers, dealing with performance issues, and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations. Typically small businesses have to carry out these activities themselves because they may not yet afford to be part or full-time help (Smit, Martin E.J.H., 2006). However they must always guarantee that employees are conscious about the personnel policies which ensure to up to date regulations. These policies are frequently in the form of employee manuals that all employees possess. Activities also comprise managing your approach to achieve personnel policies and compensation, employee profits and employee record's compensation.

Document Management

Document management or control nowadays must keep in mind the complete life cycle of a document as well as its content from creation, employees and clients, to the eventual storage and harvesting of content for reuse, to collaboration among partners. Document control involves the following steps:

The original draft of documents will be submitted to the affected Departments for comment. All comments received will be included into the document or discussed until a resolution is reached.

The finishing draft will be submitted to the Executive Office for review, revisions, and final signature

Advantages of document control:

It increases the efficiency of the work

It helps out to Control internal & external document standards

It automatically prepared work for audits

New Recommendations

The main objective of the health management is to minimize or if possible then completely avoid hazards at site. It will possibly decrease the chances of physical harm of employees and subsequently increase the health safety conditions at site. One of the important keys to success lies in establishing communication with people at all levels. To improve the safety methods new ways have been used to reach the satisfactory safety levels. This whole work can't be done by the single unit at the site but all management units specified above coordinated well and help to implement methods, which may include written circulars, reports, news sheets, promotional activities, incentive or reward schemes, personal contact and, most successful of all, structured safety meetings at the work place level where everyone can become involved. Safety meetings will be more productive and motivating if a member of a group under the guidance of management is asked to lead the meeting, having first been given the framework of the subjects for discussion and what the discussion hopes to accomplish. For the progress of any project it is necessary that all accident should be avoided at the site which eventually needs improved safety methods.

There are some fields which need to be improved in order to maximize profit and ensure success in the civil engineering projects:

Improve the recruitment and retention procedure of the prople

Start use of business portal so that accessibility of data will be easy

Processes and Policies should be implemented

Enabling new technologies which may decrease tremendous load of work and also increase the functionality.

Internal and external controls should also be implemented

All management should work in such a manner that the performance of whole organization should be maximize.