Question No. 1
Describe the principal objectives that a construction engineer should have when carrying out a construction project.
Answer No. 1
As a construction engineer the basic objectives he/she should work on is to complete the project according to all the laws of construction, according to the will of client, on time and with minimum finances.
Every country and their respective areas might have their own building codes and regulations and every contractor should abide by these laws. These laws are basically designed for safety of labour, environment, third parties and the structure itself. Building codes always have safety measures specifically for labour, for example labour should wear safety shoes always on site which will safe their feet if anything heavy and/or pointy fall on their feet. Environment regulations are an integral part of any law. While building the engineer should not negatively affect the surroundings, for example the debris should not be dump on the road. While building it should be practised that residents and passer byes are not disturbed, for example noise level should not exceed the allowable level. Building codes are actually designed to make a safe structure according to regional laws. Government and local building authorities regulate these but a site engineer should know them and practice them to remain on safe side. It is necessary for the engineer to know and put in practice every law, code and/or regulation.
The structure is designed by architect and then by civil engineer according to the needs of the owner. So if the construction engineer follow the design specifically he will most probably not deviate from the basic needs of the client. But it is always a good practice to have meeting or two with the client to know his/her expectations before starting the project. Advantage of one on one conversation is that you can ask counter questions and make sure you understand precisely what the client wants. Definitely the project is being made for the client and if is not made according to his/ her expectation it might lead to delayed or no payment at all alongside bad reputation in the market. So it is very necessary to make the project according to the desire of the client for finance and name sake.
Construction project generally have a deadline attached with its contract. So it is very necessary for the construction engineer to plan and manage the project in a manner that the structure can be handed back before the deadline is missed. In most cases if deadlines are not met it may lead to penalties, which are mostly finance related. In worst scenarios the contractor might be blacklisted by the client and even by the consultant which result in defaming of the company.
Construction engineer should always try to reduce the cost of the project, but should never break any law. As much the cost is reduced the profit of the contractor increase. Generally the contractor is paid on a fixed rate, taking into consideration inflation but if the engineer is able to complete the tasks in a lesser rate it will increase the profit level for the contractor.
Question No. 2
Recognizing the importance of construction quality control, what steps do you suggest an owner take to assure delivery of a satisfactory facility?
Answer No. 2
The owner can take numerus steps to assure quality of the highest standards are met while his project is designed and made. He can higher project director, consultant, design/build firm or construction management firm.
In most cases the owner do not know much about construction, in that case he can always higher a project director that can use his expertise to make the project safe and of higher quality. The project director can also function as a supervisor and can control foreman and his labour. Owner can make the project director responsible to deliver the project on time and of good quality.
If the possessor want to be more professional he/ she can always hire a consulting firm which can design his/her project according to his needs and design codes. Then the designer would also force the contractor to make the suggested design. Generally consulting firm take a small amount for supervision of the project. In the case discussed there is always a person from the consulting firm on site who will make sure the contractor is not deviating from the design.
One of the newest ways to make the project delivery better is to hire a design/build firm. This firm not only design but also acts like a contractor. The benefit is that the communication gap between the consultant and builder is minimised. Both the design and design implementation groups now work as a team as their goals and missions are now identical. Other than that mostly in this system time of the project is also reduced as design and structure building is going side by side.
Construction management companies are experts in both design and building works. Being an expert of civil engineering the construction management firm knows better than the client and hence is a far better supervisor for consultant and contractor. Other benefit is that owner completely delegates his power to the construction management firm and make responsible for handling and completing the project. These firms firmly act according to client needs and laws of the nation to make a good name.
Question No. 3
Briefly explain the difference between construction utilizing a conventional construction contract and construction utilizing a construction management contract.
Answer No. 3
The basic differences between construction utilizing conventional construction contract and construction utilizing construction management contract are the way billing works and responsibilities are distributed.
In conventional construction contract mostly the bill is prepared by the contractor first, then checked by the consultant and if the client wants he also checks it. Then the money is provided to the contractor. Whereas in construction management contract bill prepared by the consultant and contractor is checked by the management firm. It then transfer it to the client which then releases the money directly to the contractor and consultant or via construction management firm, whichever is declared in the contract.
Construction management firm claims the responsibility of the whole project and is supervising the design and the construction work. He acts like a second-in-command of the client. Whereas in conventional method design firmâ€™s work is directly analysed by the client. The structure work is sometimes overseen by the client himself or sometimes by the consultant.
Question No. 4
Describe three specific construction applications of a personal computer that you believe would be valuable to a construction professional.
Answer No. 4
The three applications that I will discuss are Excel, CAD and Primavera.
Excel helps people to make spreadsheets for much of their accounting works. In construction profession rate analysis and billing is one of the most important steps in smooth running of the project. Excel helps the quantity surveyors to make the rate analysis sheet and make bills for the project. They are easily understandable as it also have description before every input. This way bills are easily stored in soft copies and anytime a hard copy can be made and can be send easily by email by a secure route.
Computer Aided Design as the name suggests is actually for designers but a site engineer can also use to his/her advantage. When layouts are quite typical and the drawing is not providing much information then the good practice will be to use CAD instead of calling the consultant for help. Other than that contractor can also use to estimate bill of quantities by just making drawing of the design. For example he can make profile diagram of a road work to estimate cut and fill areas rather relying on surveyor and his manual ways.
Primavera is a management application, which helps its user to make a kind of time table of things. By this application a construction worker can know when which work should be on what stage and when it should end. Any delays can easily be detected and in time can be minimised. It uses research and experts opinions when deciding the time of any work, which makes it unique and very professional.
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