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The failure of many civil engineers

posted Jun 16, 2018, 8:16 AM by jeffery jim


Civil engineers are those who supposedly be very informed when it comes to geotechnical and geological engineering since that is the fundamental to all sort of engineering and yet i find many civil engineers who are very weak in this field.

The gist to such failure is due to the convenience instilled in their mind when mentored by many seniors or principals who set conditions based on rigid conventional assumption. This is the first failure in training the younger civil engineers to be creative and to think outside the box.

Apart from that, such assumptions is almost a preemptive command and direction in order to dominate slaves for profiteering. It is pure capitalism and it is shameless. In other words, young engineers should maximize the process, minimize time and halt reasoning processes. It is actually an epidemic for cognitive growth. There is no need to understand or to question when you are a software operator and the boss will take all the responsibilities and continue to be indemnified by professional insurance.

Geotechnical and geological engineering often left for limited few who dare to explore. Not many professional engineers are able to interpret site investigation results and laboratory test results. Main reasons; it involves a lot of imagination, the comprehension as an avid reader to all disciplines and a meticulous investigator. Many professionals will cut short the process by relying on the geologist recommendations. That is the starting point where civil engineering is doomed to meet dark ages. In real, only 30% or less than 50% of the geologist summarized recommendation is accurate. Worst, their report comes with a disclaimer to nullify any chance to sue them for their recommendation.

Apart from that, before an engineer start to go deeper into value engineering for structural works, the best way to see how value engineering works is by observing alternative methods which can be deployed based on site locality when it comes to cost saving for geotechnical works. The biggest bulk in structure erection cost is due to its foundation and one of the biggest saving in value engineering nationwide is the change of foundation which slashed the foundation cost by 40%. Same goes with civil engineering works such as road construction, soil retaining structure and even hydraulic structures. A meter lower or higher for your proposed platform level can save millions of ringgit. An appropriate fill material and compaction/consolidation method can save millions of ringgit when it comes to road construction material.

Value engineering in structural works is minimal since the code of practice has adopted optimal design. Not much room for percentage of steel within the concrete to be changed. Similarly, the installation of pre-stressed tendons, reduction of rebars and reducing the thickness of concrete has minimal change in cost. In one of my projects, value engineering only reduced cost by 9-13%, however did managed to reduce construction or contract period by 30%. The IBS system can reduce time but economically, it is not cheap.

The intangible economic cost is hidden since interest paid (credit facilities) for deposit and manufacturing of components prior to payment made by paymaster rarely reviewed or understood by most civil engineers and quantity surveyors. Imagine if the claim is based on milestone payment. There is almost no saving available and for that matter, not many sees the difference since everyone is excited with the construction cost which they joyfully proclaimed as cost saving. Some project managers probably see this when they start to deal with NPV and IRR; in many cases, the developers.

When greenhorns are not allowed to tweak and discover starting from geotechnical and geological application, it is hard to nurture a great engineer for the industry. Not to say, the system we have usually ends up with groomed obstinate civil engineers who often talk craps. No scientist but really crappy shitheads who govern themselves with conventional estimations and/or assumptions.

Look on the mirror, is that reflection telling you something? An engineer or a mere operators who is good for nothing? Don't feel sad, weary and sorry. It is about time for you to rediscover yourself. Envisage a career destiny starting from today by seeking for a right mentor, not simply a boss nor a company.

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