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What are the challenges of Civil Engineer at Construction Site?

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Construction Sites are real challenges for everyone. A civil engineer is a key person that leads paper drawing into real physical things. There are many predictable as well as unwelcome and unpredictable problems in the site.  The Civil Engineer solves problems on a construction site as they arise. They don’t have problems everyday but whenever they occur they solve them.

Generally, the civil engineer will not be discussing the site issues with anyone other than the management. If the engineer is civil in their manner, they will be considered favorably. If the engineer is a hothead, no matter whether the engineer is right or wrong, then communication has failed and will take a lot of work to set right.

Usually, change orders or variation orders are the problem. Otherwise, things usually go smooth. Outside of that, there are a million problems from start to finish.

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Major Problems a Civil Engineer need to face at the Construction site

The major problems at construction sites are categories below;

Health and Safety Problems

There are just so many potential hazards on construction sites, which is why the industry has one of the highest percentages of deaths and lost time injuries! Incidents can cause sites to be immediately shut down and investigated. Rules are different for different jurisdictions, health and safety is the largest risk when managing a construction site. As a result, there will be a health and safety plan which must be adhered to at all times.  Due to excessive emission of fugitive dust, some serious health concern may arise for the workforce and people around a construction site. It definitely impacts the workforce’s productivity, thus, the cost of construction.

Environmental Problems

Environmental hazards can also get sites closed down until remedial action is taken. This includes contamination, sediment runoff, natural disasters. These result from the underlying site conditions, weather, natural disasters, and damage to site controls. Fugitive dust emission certainly adds up to air pollution, and chemical used for its elimination isn’t also usually environment-friendly. So with every construction, civil engineers have the challenge to prevent it from becoming hazardous to the environment.

Contractual Disputes

These can arise for a number of reasons, including variations to the work, damage to property onsite, payment claims, defects in workmanship, etc. It is therefore extremely important for everyone involved to understand everything in the contract before signing and undertaking any work. As a civil engineer you likely have the responsibility of drafting the contract, and making sure work is undertaken accordingly. You will need to approve any variations to the contract and resolve any issues that arise.

Government Regulatory Compliance

In addition to above-mentioned challenges, there are government regulations for site approval, material, transportation, etc. These regulations also have clauses for workforce health & environment.

All the above issues can have significant cost and time implications.

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The common problems of site engineer at Indian construction sites are;

If you are in India and going to start your career as a civil site engineer, kindly read this. We have discussed with the civil site engineers and also gone through some of the discussion and answers on Quora and come up with the various problems listed below. The list is endless but we make sure most of the important problems are covered. you should be mentally prepared at first.

  • You should be mentally prepared at first to take the job as a civil site engineer.
  • To face all the climate & weather without complaining.
  • Long working hours 12–14 hours almost every day.
  • Need to work late hours till 11 pm most of the time.
  • To deal with all type of people (includes labor to project manager & clients too)
  • Should be aware & have some patience to listen to some abusive comments.
  • You will face irregular and disruptive salary.
  • A 7-days working job, (No holidays, No weekends)
  • No female co-workers, you will never find a female co-worker on construction sites. This is a male-dominated business.
  • No air conditioning, outside temperatures can go 50 degrees but you have to keep performing and for freshers or junior level engineers, you hardly get a chance to sit and relax a bit in the site office.
  • Most of the site offices are poorly made and doesn’t have air conditioning.
  • You will have to deal with all semi-skilled foremen in shuttering, masonry, rebar, operators etc.
  • Keep getting transfers if you are placed in sites.
  • it’s scary to work in Indian construction sites, where they don’t respect timings, don’t respect safety instructions, the client doesn’t bother to inspect contractor’s work,
  • Many things happen between design and construction.
  • Standing and supervise for a long time.
  • During slab, construction time could be more for working hrs.
  • To deal with the various types of unskilled labors
  • Salaries are too poor. They give promotions and make you a chief engineer or Senior manager but your monthly salary doesn’t cross 5 digits, in abroad min salary is 2 lakhs per month, you can go up to 7 lakhs per month by just working 10-12 hrs a day as per contract.

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Technical Problems at the Construction site

Many things happen between design and construction. Listed below are a few technical issues a civil engineer need to tackle.

  • Indian available standards are quite superficial compared to American and British standards.
  • In Indian construction sites, SAFETY & QUALITY not properly implemented.
  • conditions in the field have changed and drawings didn’t keep up
  • Surprises underground such as unknown utility old foundations etc.
  • Materials specified no longer available
  • Project owners run out of money Or ownership changes
  • Codes change
  • The major supplier doesn’t come through for some reason
  • Changes in the design standards. It might be due to variation in actual site conditions.
  • Delay in construction materials. This might leads to delay in project time.
  • Climatic problems.
  • Political influence.
  • Site Engineer is responsible for everything (technically) happening on the site. It includes, layout, lining, supervision, execution, planning and depends on your company in which you are working
  • Quantity surveying is also a small part of a Site Engineer.
  • Arranging everything for your site every person including operator labor contractor
  • If a site in-charge then you are responsible for everything and everyone’s deed.
  • But the thing is that most common job for the fresher is site engineer, which is not meant for girls
  • In India we use more manpower, In abroad we use more equipment’s.

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The problems of Civil Engineer at Construction Site in the  US 

In the US a civil engineer is responsible to work with the architect (who leads the project), they take the architect’s site plan and prepare the technical documents for the site. This includes grading, drainage, dimensional control, many of the site details (but not all), all of the municipal utilities (water, storm drainage, and sanitary sewer, electrical, telephone, and gas are usually by the MEP engineer as these are private utilities). They design the public improvement streets, curb cuts, median openings, drainage structures. Typically they do not design walls or bridges (structural engineer does that).

So, what problems usually not too many, assuming that their drawings are good, and fully coordinated with the architect’s and MEP engineer’s work. When they re not here are some of the things that can / have gone wrong:

  • Poorly graded sites, paving too flat to drain properly, or too steep for accessibility, or emergency services.
  • Gravity flow utilities crossing one another in the same space… that doesn’t work – big problem.
  • Failure to coordinate details, again usually related to grading.
  • Honestly, most civil mistakes are berried. The big ones have to be addressed, the contractors fix most of them w/o raising a flag.

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Conclusion

The only thing which going to help you out there at the construction site, is your passion, dedication, hard work, self-motivation and also, keep aside your ego but hold on the self-respect every time (applicable for all type of jobs). You should know how to work under pressure & how to deal with pressure.

If you are capable of site engineer and work for a nice corporate then you will get a handsome salary as well as you have experience nicely with a memorable thing.

If you are scary to work as a site engineer then avoid it and better get into the similar kind of jobs like;

  • Design Engineer
  • Billing Engineer
  • QC/QA Engineer
  • Engineering faculty
  • and Many other similar jobs.

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