8 Things to Avoid in Workplace as a Civil Engineer

You have a vast knowledge about civil engineering. You can solve any difficult engineering problem in no time. But if you don't follow some etiquette in work place, you will be stuck in some points.

In this post, I'll discuss 8 things to avoid in workplace. These rules are not only applicable for civil engineers but also for any general professionals.

Below are the list of 8 things which can hamper your professional career -

  1. Improper attitude
  2. Being late
  3. Being lazy
  4. Weak handshake
  5. Improper introduction
  6. Not answering call/email
  7. Not being professional in meeting
  8. Not maintaining courtesy in work place

1. Improper attitude: Improper attitude will make bad impression about you. Make good impression in workplace. How? When you talk with people in office, stand straight, make an eye contact, listen carefully and reply positively.

2. Being late: I'm a sufferer of this. Once I've been fired from a company for this. I've learnt the lesson from that. So, don't be late at office. It'll harm your career.

3. Being lazy: Don't be lazy in workplace. Whatever you have to do, do that better and go beyond that. Do actively. One of the worst thing of being lazy is, you will feel sleepy. That'll destroy your workability.

4. Weak handshake: When I shake someone's hand, if he doesn't hold my hand firmly, I feel I'm shaking a dead man's hand. Seriously. You also must do. On the other hand, if you hold someone's hand firmly, he'll feel honoured, and it let him feels-you are an active man. It also shows your communication skills. So, when you hold someone's hand hold that firmly with active hand. Never shake hand with both hands. It shows your lack of confidence.

5. Improper introduction: I don't know it's written in somewhere as a rule of introduction. But there is a rule to introduce someone to someone. The rule is, introduce junior first and then senior. For example; "hey mr. B, this is mr. A, junior executive recently joined in sales department. And this is mr. B (turning to mr. A), experienced manager of our sales department."

6. Not answering call/email: Not answering your colleague's or client's call will hamper your career. If you can't answer phone call or email at that moment, try to reply within 24 hours.

7. Not being professional in meeting: When you attend in a meeting, try to be professional by following some rules. Such as -

Turn your phone on vibrate mood

Don't answer any phone call, send a pre-written message that you are at meeting

Give full attention to speaker

Try to add some values by contributing related topics, etc.

8. Not maintaining courtesy in work place: If you don't maintain generall courtesy in your workplace, your career will be sucked at some points. Such as -

If you need to enter someone's desk first knock or ask permission. No matter whoever, junior or senior.

Don't just start your topic when someone in the middle of conversation. Wait untill he finishes.

Those are the common things. There are also some other things to be avoided in a particular situation. Just apply your common sense, no doubt, your career will be bright.

5 Popular Civil Engineering Software

Computer software made our life easy. As a civil engineer it is more fun and enjoyment to use software in profession. It increases our productivity and now we can design and analyse large projects in no time. In this article I'll share such most popular civil engineering software which we most frequently use in our professional life.

civil software, engineering software, popular civil software

5 Popular Civil Engineering Software

Below are the 5 most popular civil engineering software -
  1. Autocad
  2. SAP2000
  3. Primavera
  4. Etabs
  5. Mathcad

1. Autocad: The most popular software in civil engineering world designed by autodesk. 2D and 3D design, drafting, modeling, architectural drawing etc. can be created by this software.

AutoCad Features:
Explore and visualize 3D concepts with a powerful set of intuitive design tools.

Speed project workflow with features that accelerate your design documentations

Exchange ideas with colleagues using cloud-based connected design technologies.
 - Source

2. SAP 2000: It's a most popular structural analysis and design software in the civil engineering world. Ideal for design and analysis any type of structure.

Integrated modeling templates,

code-based loading assignments,

advanced analysis options,

design-optimization procedures, and

customizable output reports all.

Know more about SAP2000 here.

3. Primavera: Oracle's Primavera products are the leading enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) solutions for the engineering and construction industry.

Whatever the size of a project, Primavera enterprise project portfolio management solutions enable organizations to do the following:

Effectively manage time, costs, resources, contracts, and changes in a single solution

Improve operational efficiency

Provide enterprise project and portfolio management visibility

Reduce performance risk
- Source

4. Etabs: ETABS is the ultimate integrated software package for the structural analysis and design of buildings. Incorporating 40 years of continuous research and development, ETABS offers unmatched 3D object based modeling and visualization tools, blazingly fast linear and nonlinear analytical power, sophisticated and comprehensive design capabilities for a wide-range of materials, and insightful graphic displays, reports, and schematic drawings that allow users to quickly and easily decipher and understand analysis and design results.

From the start of design conception through the production of schematic drawings, ETABS integrates every aspect of the engineering design process. Creation of models has never been easier - intuitive drawing commands allow for the rapid generation of floor and elevation framing. CAD drawings can be converted directly into ETABS models or used as templates onto which ETABS objects may be overlaid. Design of steel and concrete frames (with automated optimization), composite beams, composite columns, steel joists, and concrete and masonry shear walls is included, as is the capacity check for steel connections and base plates. Models may be realistically rendered, and all results can be shown directly on the structure. Comprehensive and customizable reports are available for all analysis and design output, and schematic construction drawings of framing plans, schedules, details, and cross-sections may be generated for concrete and steel structures.
- Source

5. Mathcad: PTC Mathcad is the Industry Standard Software for Engineering Calculations.

PTC Mathcad combines the ease and familiarity of an engineering notebook with the powerful features of dedicated engineering calculations application. Its document-centric, WYSIWYG interface gives you the ability to solve, share, re-use and analyze your calculations without having to learn a new programming language.
- Source

Click here for Free Mathcad Tutorial.

Your Turn:
Which software do you use more? Please share....

List of Concrete Finishing Tools

Not all concrete works need surface finishing. Such as footing top surface, column top and RCC wall top etc.

Most of concrete works need surface finishing. Such as slab, patio, drive way and side-walk, etc.

We use various types of tool to finish the concrete surface. Below is a list of concrete finishing tools.

Concrete finishing tool, list of concrete tools,

List of Concrete Finishing Tools

Tools required to finish concrete surface -

  • Float
  • Trowel
  • Striking tool
  • Darby
  • Stiff broom
  • Vibrator, etc.

Float: Different types of float are used to finish concrete surface. Such as bull float and wooden float. To apply initial finish in large surface area bull float is used. Wooden float is used to make the concrete surface smooth.

Trowel: Different types of trowel are used for different purpose in concrete finishing. Such as - finishing trowel, Jointing or grooving trowel and edging trowel.

Finishing trowel: It is used to give a final touch on fresh concrete surface.

Jointing or grooving trowel: Jointing trowel is used to make control joint in concrete.

Edging trowel: This type of trowel is used to give perfect finish to edges of concrete structure.

Striking tool: For striking fresh concrete we use different types of tools. Such as strike-off board, Jitterbug, etc.

Strick-off board: It is also called straight-edge board. The name expresses its functions. It is used to initially level the freshly poured concrete by striking.

Jitterbug: Jitterbug is also called temper. We normally use temper to consolidate stiffed concrete mix. When fresh concrete is striked with this, it  settles coarse aggregate and brings fine aggregate to concrete surface.

Darby: It does same thing what bull float does. One difference is, bull float does it in large area and Darby does in small area.

Stiff broom: Not all concrete finishing need stiff broom. If you need to make concrete surface scratched for any reason then it will help you to do that.

Vibrator: I wouldn't like to call it concrete finishing tool. But it helps to finish concrete easily.

The list of concrete finishing tools discussed in this post I commonly use in my various construction projects. If you use different types of tools please share in the comment.

Grill Work Checklist

Grill is considered as finishing material in civil construction world. It is normally used in window, door, balcony, etc of a building. Grill is mainly used for safety purpose. It also increases the aesthetic view of the portion.

Before and during fixing grill we should check grill and grill works properly to make that defect less.

Here is a checklist for grill work -

Checking before fixing grill -

When we receive grill from supplier or make that on site, we should check the following things carefully -

Grill alignment: Grill is normally made with mild steel. Based on architectural design, it can be square solid bar, square hollow bar, round solid bar, round hollow bar or flat bar of different sizes. Those bars are welded together in workshop to give designed size and shape of grill.

Check the alignment of those welded bar. The vertical bars should be truly vertical and the horizontal bars should be truly horizontal.

Smoothness of joints: Check the smoothness of welded bar joints. Check grinding is done properly so that welded portions are smooth and clear.

Welding quality: Check the quality of welding and the welding is done all around the joint.
Primer in grill: Check grills are painted with red oxide/alkarim primer.

Check during fixing grill-

Check the following things carefully when grill is being fixed.

Grill alignment with wall: Keep the grill aligned with periphery wall.

You may want to read: Quality Checklist for brickwork

Grill alignment of different floors: Check all the grill of same positions in different floors are aligned with one another.

If I missed anything about grill checking in this post, please share in comments...

7 Key Responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager

It is said that engineers can never be good managers. Now situation has been changed. Many awesome and eye-catching projects all around the world prove that engineers can not only be engineer, but they can also be good manager.

Construction project manager(CPM) is a key person of any construction project. The success of any construction project mostly depend on the success of CPM. He/she starts his work before the project starts.

Depending on employer, CPM may be a degree engineer with some years of experience.

responsibility, project manager, Construction, Construction manager

7 Key Responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager

Although the responsibilities of a CPM are huge, I shorted out following 7 key responsibilities -

  1. Planning
  2. Managing project team
  3. Managing project budget
  4. Risk management
  5. Cost management
  6. Quality management
  7. Time management

Planning: Planning starts even before the starting of project. This phase is very important. Successfully completion of a project and success of a project manager mostly depend on this phase. In this phase a CPM selects the source of materials, source of necessary equipments, justify the sub-contractors, choose the project team, prepare project's budget, calculate project's risk, etc.

Managing project team: CPM choose project team in planning phase. But his responsibilities doesn't end with that. Construction project manager should constantly develop his team by providing related training, motivation and guideline in order to get most output from them.

Managing project budget: One of the most important responsibility of a CPM is to meet the project budget. Successful project completion means, finishing the project within budget. For this purpose, a CPM should constantly review the cost of project weekly, monthly or quarterly basis or when needed.

Risk management: Risk management is the most difficult part of project management. A CPM calculates the project risks before starting the project though, there are many critical risks can arise during project's life cycle. To mitigate these risks without hampering the project's progress is another key responsibility of a construction project manager.

Cost management: Don't mix cost management with budget management. Although budget management depends on cost management, both are different things. Suppose building materials price now is lower in the market than the time of preparing budget. That doesn't mean you can waste materials as you wish. So, cost management is the procedure of choosing best quality materials with lowest possible price and using them with minimum possible wastage. But cost management is not only limited to this. I'll write more about this later here in ACE.

Quality management: Construction project manager is completely responsible for quality of the project. To ensure quality works, a CPM sometimes supervise project, train up his team members and worker at regular basis.

Time management: Success of a CPM mostly depend on the successfully handed-over a project in time. Increased life-cycle of a project will increase the cost of project and will arise many disputes over time.

As I described above, responsibilities of a construction project manager aren't limited to these. But the success of a construction project manager mostly depend on these 7 key responsibilities.

Complete Guide for Concrete Construction Process

Concrete construction process consists of several stages of work. The stages are -


Site Preparation





Finishing, and


concrete construction process

Concrete Construction Process

Estimation: We usually order large volume of concrete from ready-mix supplier. They just need to know the required concrete volume, minimum compressive strength of concrete and maximum aggregate size. We just need to estimate the total volume of concrete which we can do from drawing.

Types of estimation in building construction.

For small volume of concrete, we normally depend upon mixture machine. For this, we need to measure concrete ingredients separately.

See: How to calculate materials for different ratio concrete
How to mix concrete with mixture machine

Site preparation:
Many things involve in this stage. Different structure needs different things. Such as, for footing concreting of a building, we should carefully make layout of building. Then, we have to excavate or fill earth at desired level. Then we have to compact the soil. And then we can proceed to pour concrete.

But, for a floor slab, we don't need to excavate or compact soil. We just need to make the slab layout carefully.

So, pouring concrete in different structure needs different site preparation.

You can read:
7 preliminary works to do before starting construction.
Earthwork excavation for under ground water tank.
6 Step preparation before pouring concrete.

Formwork is used to give fresh concrete a desired shape and size. It should be strong enough to withstand against imposed loads till concrete gets its strength.

See more:
Concrete Formwork Basic
4 Terms to Mark Concrete Formwork as Good.

Reinforcement: Not all concrete structures need reinforcement. Such as Plain Cement Concrete (PCC) which doesn't need reinforcement.

A structural member, built with both concrete and reinforcement, is called Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC). This type of members are able to withstand against both compressive and tensile forces. Several rules should be followed for placing reinforcement in RCC members.

See more:
17 technical terms about Reinforcement a Construction Supervisor Should Know.

Mixing concrete: It is also called concrete batching. It is the controlling of proportions of various concrete ingredients as per mix design. I published several articles about concrete mixing in this blog before. Click links below to read more:

4 Basic Rules of Concrete Mix Design.
Concrete Ingredients.
How to Control Concrete Quality When Mixing with Mixture Machine

Pouring/Placing concrete: Concrete should be placed as soon as mixing is finished. Some rules should be followed strictly during placing concrete. Such as -

Don't throw concrete more than 5' high.
Don't over vibrate. It can cause for concrete segregation.
Take extra protective action during hot and cold weather.

Read the following articles:
Impact of Hot Weather on Concreting and Protective Actions
Common Problems of Concreting and How to Avoid Them.

Finishing: Not all concrete structure require finishing. Such as top of column, top of footing and top of wall, etc. Those are left unfinished after vibrating. But many other concrete structure need finishing. The purpose of finishing is to make the top surface level and smooth.

Curing: After 24 hours of pouring concrete, curing should be started. Read more about curing:

Method of Curing Concrete

Dear readers, I spent almost 12 hours to complete this guide of concrete construction process. So if you like this post or if this post helps you a little, please share with your friends through social networks.

Types of RCC Beam

Beam is a structural member which is normally placed horizontally. It provides resistance to bending when loads are applied on it.

Various types of materials such as wood, steel, aluminum, etc are used for making RCC beam. Most commonly used material is RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete).

RCC beam can be various types depending on different criteria. Such as depending on shape, beam can be rectangular, T-beam, etc. Depending on reinforcement placement, beam can be double reinforced beam, single reinforced beam, etc.

I'll discuss in this post about the types of RCC beam depending on supporting systems. Knowing about these types of beam are very important. because, most of the technical factors of reinforcement placement involve in these beam supporting systems.

Types of RCC Beam

RCC beams are 4 types depending on their supporting systems.

1. Simply supported beam or simple beam
2. Semi-continuous beam
3. Continuous beam, and
4. Cantilever beam.

The explanation of each type of beam is given below -

Simple beam: This type of beam has a single span. It is supported by two supports at both ends.

Semi-continuous beam: This beam doesn't have more than two spans. And supports are not more than three. Technically this beam is a continuous beam.

Continuous beam: This type of beam has more than two spans and has more than three supports along its length. The supports are in one straight line thus the spans are also in a straight line.

Cantilever beam: It has only one support in one end, another end is open.

There is another type of beam we can see in the civil engineering world which is called over-hanging beam. This beam extends beyond its supports. Actually this beam is a combination of simply supported and cantilever beam.

As I said above, placing beam reinforcement differs in the different types of RCC beams. So I'll write about that later here. So please subscribe via RSS or Email to get update when it happens.

4 Basic Rules of Concrete Mix Design

When a ready-mix concrete supplier supplies concrete to the job site, they should know the required compressive strength, maximum aggregate size and any other special requirements such as adding admixture, etc. Then they select a mix design based on the requirements.

But most often we mix concrete on site by mixture machine.  If you do so, you should understand the basic rules of concrete mix design yourself. So, in this post I'll discuss about that.

See: How to mix concrete with mixture machine?

The three main ingredients of concrete are cement, aggregate and water. Among them cement and aggregate provide volume stability, strength and durability. Mixing less or much quantity of any one of these ingredients can reduce the quality of concrete. So, mix design is done to balance the quantity of these ingredients without decreasing concrete quality.

See: Concrete ingredients.

The two most important factors of mix design are, proportion of dry ingredients and water-cement ratio. These two factors follow the following rules. Which are the basic rules of mix design.

4 Basic Rules of Concrete Mix Design

Rule-1: High cement and Low aggregate proportion
Concrete mixes with high cement content and low aggregate proportions produce sticky concrete.
Increasing cement content increases the cost of concrete.
Much cement in the mix also causes for shrinkage cracks in hardened concrete.
Cement and aggregate proportion should be balanced in mix-design.

Rule-2: Low cement & High aggregate
Concrete mixes with low cement content and high aggregate proportions produce poor workable and harsh concrete.
Cement quantity should not be lower in mix-design.

Rule-3: High Water-Cement  ratio
High Water-Cement  ratio causes for segregation thus reduces the strength of concrete. But it increases workability of concrete.

High water content increases porosity and permeability of cured concrete.
Water content shouldn't be much in mix-design.

See: How to calculate materials for different ratio concrete?

Rule-4: Low Water-Cement  ratio
Low water-cement ratio increases the strength and durability of concrete. But reduces the workability.

Workability is required for good quality concrete. So, water content and workability should be balanced.
Water content shouldn't be less in mix-design.

The purpose of mix-design is to produce most economical concrete product with desired strength. And that is done by tweaking the above rules. If required, chemical admixture can be mixed with concrete for not avoiding the rules.

Checklist for RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete) Work

Concrete is strong in compression but relatively weak in tension. To make a concrete structure strong in both compression and tension, steel is used inside it. That is called reinforced cement concrete (RCC).

To make a RCC member perfect as designed, we should conduct several checking during constructing.

Checklist for reinforeced cement concrete work

Checklist for Reinforced Cement Works

Making RCC members involve several stages of work. Checking is also done in several stages.
RCC checking stages are -

  • Formwork checking
  • Reinforcement checking
  • Pre-Concreting checking
  • Checking during concreting
  • Post-concreting checking.

Formwork Checking:
The following checking should be done for formwork of RCC -

* Check the Formwork is properly aligned.

* Check it is cleaned.

* Check it is oiled (if steel formwork)

* Check inner face of formwork is smooth (if wooden formwork).

* Check if the formwork is water-tight.

* Check supports are properly placed and fixed.

* Check width and depth/height of formwork.

* Check thin metal sheets are provided along joints of wooden formwork.

* Check foam is provided along the joint of steel formwork.

Reinforcement checking:
* Check steel are placed as per drawing.

* Check rebars are straight.

* Check the dia of rebar.

* Check spacing of rebar.

* Check hooks and bends are placed as specified by structural designer.

* Check the lap length is accurate.

* Check the clear cover.

* Check cover blocks are enough.

* Check the rebars are rust free.

* Check the rebars are crack free.

* Check minimum 1 inch clear distance is maintained between two bars.

* Check the rods are tied properly with binding wire.

Pre-Concreting checking:
* Check all required materials and tools are available at site.

* If you plan to pour concrete at night, check required lighting arrangement is available.

* Check all service line (electrical, sanitary and plumbing, etc.) which go through the RCC member are properly done.

* Check formwork supports again that those are intact and not displaced.

Checking during concreting:
* Check slump for every 20 cubic meter of concrete.

* Check concrete cubes/cylinder are made for testing.

* Check concrete is collected from 3 or 4 random mixes for making concrete cube/cylinder.

* Check two carpenters are available at shuttering area to take immediate action if anything happens during pouring.

* Check concrete isn't being dropped from more than 5' height.

* Check vibrating is being done properly.

* Check the level of concrete surface.

* Check the finishing of concrete surface.

Post-concreting checking:
* Check curing is being done properly.

* Check formwork removal duration is followed properly.

* Test the cubes/cylinders. If test result is not satisfied, the structure should be broken.

This is the common checklist for RCC work. Particular RCC structure requires specific checking. Such as, for column formwork checking, you have to check diagonal measurement.

I think, everything is covered in this checklist. If I have missed anything, please share in the comment.


Copyright @ 2016 A Civil Engineer .