Civil Engineering Construction, Then And Now

Civil Engineering is one of the oldest scientific disciplines known to man. Early signs of professional engineering can be traced back to 4000 BC with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The Egyptian pyramids till today remain a marvel to mankind, as to how in that day and age such massive structures could be constructed. With such precise calculations and engineering knowledge required they truly are wonders of the world. In those times with no electricity or heavy machinery at their disposal, getting huge rocks to move in their place with sheer manpower is an amazing feat in itself. More examples of early evolvement can been in the Indus valley civilizations where elaborate waterways and structures were built.

Since then civil engineering construction has evolved greatly. Today it has been further split into various multi disciplines such as structural engineering, geo technical engineering, environmental engineering etc. All these disciplines are core specializations in them selves and require in depth study. We today have heavy machinery at our disposal, which has helped the field evolve much faster. With machines available,loads of much heavier weight can be moved much faster.

The need for manpower has come down drastically as machines take on the task of many men single handedly. We have been able to build elaborate structures across difficult terrains, which would not have been possible earlier. Precision work has increased dramatically and has become increasingly easy. Machines of all types such as excavators, compactors, rollers, bulldozers, measuring instruments, cranes, dumpers etc. have been made available for different construction activities.

Lets talk about some of these important machines that changed the construction industry further in brief:

Excavators: An extremely important and widely used piece of machinery is used across a variety of industries such as construction, mining, forestry, demolition etc. The main purpose of the machine is to dig up earth fast. The mechanism of the machine consists of a boom, stick, bucket and cab sitting on top the main assembly also known as the house. Excavators are also available in 360 formats where they have an all round motion capability.

Cranes: Another very important piece of machinery that is used in its smaller format inside workshops too much larger projects involving bridge and skyscraper construction. All the skyscrapers we see today would not have been possible without the availability of cranes. The ability of a crane to move heavy material swiftly to great heights and horizontally is unparalleled by any other. Cranes have greatly reduced the time taken in construction and are responsible in a big way in fuelling construction growth seen over the last 150 years.

There are mainly 3 types of cranes overhead, fixed and mobile. Furthermore under mobile cranes there are various more varieties such as truck-mounted cranes, rough terrain cranes, floating cranes, rail road cranes, crawler cranes, pick and carry cranes etc. In the fixed type of cranes some of the following varieties exist such as tower crane, gantry crane, deck crane, loader crane, jib crane etc.

There are many more important pieces of machinery that we will look at in our next article.

You can see how over thousands of years civil engineering construction has evolved from mere chisels and hammers to sophisticated heavy machinery. How it has sped up the growth of the world and help us build elaborate cities and infrastructure that we use everyday.

Prefabrication And Modularity In Bim Construction

As Building Information Modeling continues its march through the AEC industry, its effects and advantages for construction management are coming more into the spotlight. BIM construction is a fundamentally different animal than past practices. In terms of the relationship between the owner, designer and builder, in how construction is actually accomplished, and in terms of the bottom-line, BIM construction is changing in subtle and radical ways how a project is executed. Construction managers are now included in the design process, prefabrication is increasingly used and build times, change orders and site logistics are all positively affected by BIM construction.

The construction industry has lagged far behind most other industries in leveraging modern technology for productivity gains.One of the most glaring facts about the construction industry as a whole is encapsulated by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that the construction industry has had continual losses in productivity since 1964, in stark contrast to all other non-farm labor, which has almost doubled productivity in the same 40 years.

One of the prime reasons for declining labor productivity in the construction industry has to do with the traditional process by which a project is conceived and delivered. The design-bid-build paradigm is a fragmented process, where the owner contracts with separate professionals for the design and construction of the project, and each phase follows the previous one. Any collaborative involvement between the design professionals and the construction professionals is highly limited, leading to change orders, errors and other issues when the best-made plans are confronted with construction site reality.

BIM construction provides the necessary platform and processes for reversing this trend. The National Research Council of the National Academies identified BIM construction enabled prefabrication and modularity as important components to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the US construction industry in a 2009 report. As 3D modeling and parametric design make constructability part and parcel of the design process, construction managers are increasingly brought in early in the projects design phase, to evaluate the practicality of a design. This involvement has driven what some call the oldest new idea in construction. Prefabrication, and modularity, bring to bear in the construction industry practices that Henry Ford discovered well over a hundred years ago. Fundamental to this is the decoupling of manufacture from assembly. Instead of costly, time-consuming onsite fabrication and fitting of parts, prefabrication in a controlled environment allows for a reduction in labor, faster completion times, less waste and change orders. This is particularly true in the finish and detail portions of a building, as well as the skin and faade systems.Modular components are then brought to the site for efficient assembly. This is neither new nor particularly foreign to the construction industry.

One of the earliest examples of modern prefabricated construction was the magnificent Crystal Palace in London, built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Made of cast-iron and glass, the Palace was longer than Versailles and higher than Westminster Abbey. The building was completed in less than 200 days, from conception to occupation. 3300 iron columns, 2150 iron girders, 250 miles of sash bar, 293,635 panes of glass. The crucial detail is that these all conform to a basic 24 foot module, allowing the manufacture to be contracted to several foundries and glass factories. The entire structure was dismantled in 1852 and moved to another site, reassembled and stood until fire destroyed it in 1936.
The Hilton Palacio del Rio in San Antonio was designed, built and occupied for the Texas World Expo in 202 working days! A 500 room deluxe hotel, still in use today, had each room factory built and placed by crane in 46 days.

Most recently, in Lin Gang Industrial Zone in Xiangyin County, a 17,000 square meter hotel known as T30 was completed in an astonishing 15 days! Over 350 rooms with restaurant, gym, swimming pool and underground parking, 93% of the building was pieced together onsite with premade assemblies. Earthquake resistant up to magnitude 9, the building boasts quadruple-paned windows, external solar shading, LED lighting and an innovative air filtration system.
One of the main challenges in prefabrication in BIM construction is the necessity for working with tight tolerances from the start of the design process. This is aided by 3D modeling, as BIM construction brings the trades in early in process, driving a new design philosophy. Instead of onsite builders building to the design, designers now design to the module specifications, achieving substantial savings and compressing construction schedules.

Another stumbling block is what is known as multitrade prefabrication. Common in Europe, but almost unknown in the US, this involves the creation of modular units with duct work, gas mains, hot water supply, electrical conduits and communication pathways built-in. Independent prefab firms in Europe have developed BIM construction software for these horizontal systems that convert the model into a bill of materials on a module by module basis. The need for multi-trade coordination in the design of these modules is obviously necessary.

Another challenge is the task of lifting and manipulating these large modular units on the work site. With stick-built construction, only raw materials are handled by individuals or well-developed machinery systems. New systems and logistics will now need to be devised to transport, store and place the multi-ton, large-dimension assemblies that are a result of BIM construction prefabrication.
On the flip side, the advantages of modern prefabrication and modularization in BIM construction are overwhelming. So much so that the McGraw-Hill SmartMarket Report: Prefabrication and Modularization: Increasing Productivity in the Construction Industry reports that their survey shows that 98% of all architects, engineers and contractors expect to be using prefabrication and modularization to some extent in the projects. Healthcare facilities (49%), hotels and motels (11%), commercial warehouses (11%) lead the way in using BIM construction driven prefabrication. The building elements most conducive to prefabrication and modularization are building superstructure (27%), MEP systems (21%) and exterior walls (20%).

The reasons listed in this report for using prefab and modular systems include: improved project schedules, reduced costs and budgets, site safety improvements and green building/waste reduction.
The ability of modern prefabrication to provide a spectrum of customization possibilities is an important part of the new surge in acceptance of BIM construction modularization. The maturation of the manufacturing industry now provides sophisticated understanding and processes of the customization spectrum which can translate to the burgeoning sector of BIM construction prefabrication.

The terms made to stock (MTS), assembled to stock (ATS), made to order (MTO), and engineered to order (ETO) are used in manufacturing to define the extent to which a product is customized. This is generally considered proportional to the cost and lead time necessary for production.
This allows owners to achieve both a uniquity of design along with the savings of prefabrication. No longer does modular and prefab mean drab and boring. In the modern era one no longer needs to sacrifice aesthetics for the efficiencies of factory production.
BIM construction, in and of itself provides many benefits to the AEC industry. But its ability to lay the groundwork, along with IPD and new contractual landscapes, for modern prefabrication and modularization, heralds an almost revolutionary change in commercial building.

For more information about BIM construction visit ODonnell & Naccarato BIM:
Dennis Mordan ([emailprotected])
Jon Brazier ([emailprotected])

Self Climbing Formwork System In Construction

Self Climbing formwork is a specialized formwork for vertical structures of concrete which rises with the building. This kind of form work is relatively costlier than other formworks but is highly versatile. It is found to be an effectual solution for rapid construction of towers or skyscrapers having identical floor plan.

Climbing formwork systems consists of the formwork and a working platform for the purpose of cleaning and fixing of the formwork, steel fixing and casting. This formwork can only be supported on the concrete earlier hence it does not have any dependability on support system or access from any parts of the permanent work or building. Crane-independent forming, striking and climbing, the work process is optimized on the construction site and makes them independent of each other are some of the major advantages, using automatic or full Self climbing system. Using automatic climbing formwork the operational sequences are maintained and even can be accelerated, irrespective of the weather conditions.
Climbing formwork systems with varying degrees of sophistication and comply with most stringent safety standards.

Full self climbing formwork systems are typically used on high rise structures having more than 12 floor levels however Simple climbing formwork is generally used on low rise towers having five storey or more. A combination of crane-handled and self climbing system platforms is feasible on lower structures.

Shaft Platform consists of steel sections with built in automatic gravity pawls. Besides, all parts are reusable. The formwork is placed onto the non-trip shaft platform, which itself is made of decking plus beams tightened to the steel sections with flange clamps.

When climbing is required on the inner shaft formwork, it is spindled together and hoisted up one section with the shaft platform in a single crane cycle. The gravity pawl automatically positions itself into the box outs in the wall, which are designed for this purpose.

Especially for shafts, simple striking solution within the Tri-Tec wall system. When combined with Tri-Tec Striking Corners, the complete shaft formwork can be moved as a single unit. To comply with accident prevention regulations, the Striking Corners, together with the wall panels, are loosened from the concrete by means of manually-operated cranking spindles. Striking can also happen automatically when lifted by crane at the corner eye hooks because all four corners come off simultaneously.

Each side of the corner retracts by 30 mm, either through manual spindling or automatically by crane. This reduction allows enough clearance to move the shaft formwork aside and on to the next cycle.

By using the striking corner panels in place of regular ones, shuttering time and hence cost are reduced dramatically, much more so when combined with the shaft platform itself.

Inspection And Testing To Ensure The Quality Of Finish Product In Construction Works

Top quality assurance in construction activities is obtained via the execution of Inspection and test plans (ITPs). ITPs are designed for each and every construction activity depending on the technical specs necessary for such activity.

The actual Objective of Inspection and Testing Plan

An Inspection and Test Strategy (ITP) is an essential component within a QA system within a construction project. It is a document that defines and records all inspection and testing needs of any certain construction activity or procedure. As an example, in a construction project it may be either a construction activity or perhaps a specific component of work or possibly a trade or possibly a production work.

Particularly, ITP defines:

The construction activities and related work practices, work items and materials to become inspected or tested,
Who is accountable for inspection and testing and at what stage and the frequency of inspection and testing must be carried out;
Hold and Witness Points (a point or stage beyond which work activity ought to not proceed with out the approval in the client or the clients representatives)
Applicable requirements, acceptance benchmarks and the records to be maintained;

The reason why an ITP is needed in Construction?

Typically the Inspection and Testing Plan (ITP) may be the principal document that essentially controls the top quality of all activities and operations in any construction project. ITPs must not just be accepted by all parties involved within the project but additionally must be introduced at the inception from the construction project.

The actual ITP should address the following:

Exactly what are the quality targets to become achieved in terms of technical and contract specifications (or conditions) of the construction project;
Who will likely be accountable for inspection and testing and their responsibilities in terms of the contract
Exactly what are techniques, procedures and any other instructions to become employed in the course of inspection and testing
Methods and frequency of inspections, testing and criteria of conformance
How can you amend or revise (or procedures) the ITP to suit the altering situations during the progress of the project?
How to conform to inspection check lists ready for every construction activity?

Who’s Responsible for ITP?

Typically the primary Contractor is accountable for preparation and implementation of ITP for any construction project. Preferably, the Contractor must ensure that his sub-contractors prepare the required inspection and testing strategy for the work activities and processes performed by them. Nevertheless, one ought to note that the general responsibility for ITP lies with all the principal contractor.

Actions Involved with verifying ITPs for a Construction Project/Contract

1.Study the contract documents and the technical specifications.
2.Prepare a list of queries related with missing data, any ambiguities or discrepancies associated with applicable requirements of supplies and workmanship.
3.Consult your customer or the clients representatives and make an effort to resolve the issues identified in item 2.
4.Identify the construction activities that require ITPs and checklists.
5.Identify the Hold and Witness Points as specified inside the contract document and by the client.
6.Evaluate the contract clauses that have considerable influence on top quality and workmanship specifications. Here, you’ll need to assess the consequence on the progress from the project owing to non-compliance or non-conformity of top quality on an activity. At this stage, it is crucial to include relevant data pertaining to tests, high quality standards when submitting ITP for Clients approval.
7.Finalize the checklists after reviewing it with all of the parties involved inside the relevant activities. The suggestions and also the inputs given by the knowledgeable staff (and lessons learned on previous/similar construction functions) are essential for identifying the problems that could cause costly rectification and delays.
8.Finalize the ITP in line using the conditions stipulated in contract documents. Similarly the ITP must basically complement the Top quality Management Program or Quality Management System (ISO9001) if already in location.
9.Timely submission of ITP for each and every earmarked activity to Client. If any clients observations and feedback have to be considered and amended the ITP accordingly
10.Ensure that proper awareness of the ITP among the personnel directly involved on each ITP. This means, proper training and awareness and involvement of workers from the beginning of preparation of ITP are a must.
11.Confirm the procedures required for reporting of Witness and Hold Points towards the relevant responsible individual.

Contents of ITP:

Preparation of ITP s should consider the following:

The actual nature and complexity from the work or the construction activity ;
Whether there’s access for inspection and testing;
What will be the resulting consequences in case of failure:- expense of remedial or rectification work involved, impact on the progress, accessibility and how easily rectification could possibly be carried out, any disruption to adjacent buildings or structures, progressive damage to other components of the construction, safety of workers or public and availability of sufficient resources.
The frequency of inspection and testing will have to become decided in accordance with all the circumstances of contract as well as the kind of inspection and testing necessary for the activity. In essence, certain inspection and testing will likely be carried out making use of appropriate frequency and sampling or statistical strategies. This entails selection of suitable representative sampling for huge operates. Sampling size and frequency might be increases or decreased according to the evidence on conformity throughout the progress of construction activities.
Record keeping or documentary evidence is essential to conform that the quality of completed activity or the product meets the specifications from the contract. Hence, the records could be in the type of checklists, test reports, certificates of compliance or conformity, approvals and survey and statistical information.
Reference to applicable specifications, codes of practices and standards. For example, reference ought to be created to: Contract document, construction drawings, design calculations, technical specifications or procedures, authorized samples, regulatory requirements, and Australian & International standards, manufacturers specifications, and acceptance criteria.
The necessary inspection and test procedures for the activity. In order to have consistent and reliable test results, the procedures for inspection and testing and recording have to be clearly defined inside the ITP. For example:- identification of test areas, the batch number, frequency of sampling, the method on which the samples to be taken, method of testing, the qualification of personnel involved in testing, correct calibration of equipment and measuring equipment, the documentation and recording have to become covered under ITP procedures.
Whether the top management from the contractor has appointed key quality and testing representatives to carry out the inspection and testing as required by the contract.
Whether adequate resources such as manpower, laboratories, field measuring and testing equipment are provided.
Whether the ITPs are updated regularly in order to accommodate changes on clients or project requirements. In essence, the validity from the ITPs in relation towards the current needs.
Whether the contractor has the procedures (or plan) in location to monitoring, measurement, and analysis necessary to conform that the work is carried according to required specification, workmanship and high quality.

The details provided above reveal that inspection and testing is a important factor on any construction contract that assures quality finish item.

excepted delay in construction assignments

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A minimum of 60 % of the task delays are due to the fact with the procedure of managing another 40 percentage. The delays commence using a modify purchase request, and extra delays arises as a result of the strategy of controlling the original delays. 60 percent of task delays might be averted by having an efficient project administration program.

Throughout my employment inside the building projects for the past a few years, I observed that in excess of 80 percent of my company projects are detained. The primary reason of the delays is diverse from the project to an alternative task, however, there exists a shared element in all the project that isthe technique of handling the initial delays.

I am going to make clear beneath the key reasons with the structure projects delays , their own impact on the project as well as the chance to stop the delays brought on by each cause. I split the causes on the delays in to a couple of main aspects

1- DELAYS As a result of EXTERNAL Aspects:

External factors are occasions of delays which can be not linked towards the builder and never under his management, they happened from the customer or the expert, and affect the progress with the operate or break the regular series on the routines. The external factors are mostly modify requests and successor activity, for me, they stand for 40 % from the construction project delays causes.

A. Change requests:

Modification requests or variation orders is easily the most well-known aspect impacting the project development, which generally released to the contractor by the client or even the project consultant. Change orders occurred due to design inadequacies or as a result of buyer demand.

B. Successor activities:

Just in case the contractor works related to others tasks finish to start, this could be an excellent reason behind structure delays. An example of finish to start out connection, one contractor is answerable to the project structure (foundation and cement), and another contractor is responsible for the finishes works. This factor can’t be managed, but ought to be evidently recognized within the contractor supervision programme to tell your client that in case X action delayed by contractor 1, Y activity will be delayed by company 2.

2- DELAYS As a result of Inner FACTORS:

Internal elements are fully under the builder manage and liability, any delays occurs on the task Because of those aspects, the contractor will carry all of the implications. Unluckily 62 pct in the task delays are caused by inside aspects such as weak management and insufficient man power and equipment.

A. Poor management:

Lack of a highly effective project management approach and weak Design Project Preparing is really a popular cause for that project delays . It is easy for your contractors to get ready a moment plan, However, to develop an entire project management plan and follow it, this can be a real problem. Below can be a listing of the missing components from the typical project management plan to get a building project.

B.Insufficient man power and equipment:

Man power and tools include the resources to perform any task, any lack of these resources will straight create a delays. The efficiency is also involved with the numbers, low efficiency will defiantly lead to project delays. The following reasons will explain the reason why you might have insufficient work force and equipment in a construction project.

Underestimate with the activity side-effect.

Low productivity prices.

No available sources inside the regional marketplace.

Task managing research is essential currently. In order to handle any task you should be conscious of the planning strategies and guidelines. You may check the Planning Engineer website for no cost training and more project management products.