Monday, 26 September 2016

Information Technology Applications for Structural Engineering Design and Execution

Ancient Engineering Drawings

This article explains the importance of information technology applications used for civil engineering structural constructions. Traditional engineering drawings describe structural elements of construction. Today, we use more advanced technologies that help make drawing technical designs easier. Early engineering drawings served two purposes; they were used as a reference for engineers, and they were used to build or construct what was portrayed. Earlier drawings were more symbolic than what we are familiar with today; the engineers understood the intent of symbolic diagrams and were not taken account actual dimensions because every aspect of construction or structural element that engineers worked on was their own development. Computer-based graphic systems began to be used to improve the productivity of engineers, and large engineering companies slowly began recognizing designers. The design procedures and standard codes are critical in designing the structural engineering elements for engineers taking the SE exam. 

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The Modern Technologies that are used for Construction

Graphical manipulation services are the functions that can handle user interactions in a graphical system and display requested design on the output screen. In the 1970s, new graphical manipulation software was developed to aid in the creation of engineering drawings. This software is known as Computer Aided Design (CAD). In the mid-1970s, as computer-aided design systems provided more capability than to reproduce manual designing with electronic designing, the cost benefit for the organization to switch to CAD became apparent. The earliest CAD systems handled two-dimensional data, emulating traditional drafting practices. Then CAD changed its technology from two-dimensional to three dimensional, which was completed using wireframe geometry. At present, a large number of software applications are available in all of the sub disciplines of the construction process. These software applications help structural engineers to construct buildings, dams and highways in an easy manner. Information technology is the backbone of the construction industry. Software is used to increase the productivity of the designer and to create a better design quality. Technology helps to improve the communication process with the help of documentation and helps to create a database for manufacturing various structural elements. Nowadays, structural engineering calculations have become easier on the Structural Engineering exam due to programed engineering calculators. Technology plays an important role in a structural engineer’s working life.

The Advantage of using Software Applications in Construction

At present, the construction industry has high expectations. Clients need their building infrastructures to look appealing, and they should be safe and provide a comfortable environment.  Construction software can aid engineers in completing many of these tasks within a short time frame. Construction software has some tools that ensures the project stays on budget by tracking the costs and expenses. Engineering economics and quantity takeoffs in the SE exam review course recaps engineering analysis in construction project management. Construction software can greatly improve the overall quality of construction. It can facilitate more accurate designs and models through apps that allow design changes to be made directly on the systems. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Qualifications that Make A Civil Engineer

professional engineering exam

Think of these giant structures of the world
The Empire State Building
The Library of Congress
The Brooklyn Bridge or  The Seattle Central Library
All of these marvels have redefined the limits of engineering possibilities, and they have raised the standards of engineering on a global level

Have you ever wondered how these building structures could have been

  • visualized  
  • designed  
  • planned  

Each of these structures showcases the skills of an engineer in their blueprint.

Here are some skills that individuals must cultivate along with their preparation for the professional engineering exam.

  1. Critical thinking ability and logical reasoning 
  2. Leadership skills that allow for the management of teams with diverse qualities and skill sets 
  3. Project management skills that make monitoring progress and achieving milestones a seamless process 
  4. Sound negotiation skills with customers, clients, resources, etc. 

Professional engineering is a technical profession that also requires managerial skills. The art of making sound decisions while managing situations must be developed in order to be a successful engineer.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Risk Management Assessment and its Importance in Project Management

Overview of the Risk Management Process  

Public and private organizations cannot avoid every risk, but they need to follow a process to do their best to manage potential risks. Risk factors can have an impact on many areas and can include both financial risks and risks of disasters. Disasters can be classified in two ways: natural or man-made disasters. Natural disasters include floods, fires, earthquakes, droughts and wind storms. Man-made disasters include radiological and nuclear attacks. The purpose of risk management is to identify potential problems before a risk occurs. This allows for risk-handling activities to be planned accordingly to mitigate adverse impacts on achieving objectives. The important elements to be considered during the risk management process are diagnosing the risk factor, investigation of risk assessment, emergency planning, identification of remedial measures, systematic measurement, resource availability, analyzing the cost, loss assessment and prevention measures, recovery, relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation activities. The risk management process is an important review topic in a FE exam review course

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Guidelines for the Risk Management Process to Minimize Effects on a Project

Risk management is a continuous and progressive process that acts as a part of business and project management and the scheduling process. Risk management should specify the issues that could hinder the success of critical objectives. The continuous risk management approach has been applied to predict and reduce the risk factors that have a critical impact on a project. The process of risk management requires both time and money. The process is more likely to be employed and maintained if it is applied gradually over time. The key factor to risk management is to have a basic understanding of the process and to move towards its implementation. The key steps of risk management are identify the potential risk, measure the frequency of risks that occur, evaluate the priority of the risk, examine the alternative solution of the risk, finalize the solution and  implement and monitor the result. A better understanding of the risk management process provides ideas to help in planning suitable approaches to minimize the impact on risks. Planning and scheduling is a key concept for preparing for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam. The risk management process influences the planning and scheduling process of the activities during project management.

The Five Steps of the Risk Management Process

The process of risk management has several steps to achieve the goal. The first step of the risk management process is identifying the risk. In this step, identify, uncover, recognize and describe risks that affect the outcome of the project. The second step is to analyze the risk factor; once the risk has been identified, determine the consequence of each risk. Develop an understanding of the nature of the risk and its potential to affect project goals and objectives. This information is stored in the database. The third step is to evaluate and rank the risk level. The fourth step is planning to face the risk. This step involves taking the highest ranked risks, creating a plan for these risks to achieve acceptable risk levels and creating preventive measures for these risks. The final step is to monitor and review the risk. These five steps are done continuously to deliver a simple and effective risk management process. Project construction activity duration and activity network diagrams are critical in the FE exam for calculating the project’s completion time. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Existing Ground Conditions and Potential Effects due to the Geology of Soil during Pavement Construction

Geotechnical Investigation Need for Construction Engineering 

Geotechnical investigations of project sites help to analyze the ground conditions as well as the possible range of effects associated with construction due to the type of soils, geological features and the location of the groundwater table. It is necessary to study in detail the topography of the project construction area, the geology of the region, the subsurface conditions and existing aquifers. Geotechnical investigations, soil phase diagrams and the Atterberg limits are important topics for the PE exam, thus they are emphasized in the PE exam review course. The potential effects on existing ground conditions are differential settlements of underlying soil layers generally due to the weight of newly constructed embankments, inducing mechanical vibrations by driving sheet or concrete piles for foundations, pavement cracking due to heavy traffic loads and storm water erosion. 

pe civil exam prep

Groundwater Pollution During Construction Operations

The quality of groundwater gradually decreases due to regular construction operations at the project site. Construction equipment, machinery spills or motor oil discharges penetrate through the soil layers along with storm water runoff. Stormwater from construction sites carries the sediment to nearby water bodies thereby diminishing the groundwater quality. Topography of the construction site and the depth of groundwater table may impact pavement construction operations. If the location of the groundwater table is near to the existing ground surface, temporary dewatering methods are used to reduce groundwater  for smooth construction operations. Dewatering methods, such as pumping, wellpoint system installation, and trenching methods, will incur an additional cost to the construction project. Groundwater flow characteristics, dewatering methods, unconfined and confined aquifers are key subtopics in the Principles of Engineering (PE Civil) exam

Geotechnical Observations and Suggested Engineering Analysis 

Professional engineers will have a better understanding of the importance of geology, type of soil, and groundwater table depth prior to pavement construction. Anticipating the potential effects and evaluation and testing procedures of geology, soils and groundwater characteristics are essential for pavement construction. Engineering analysis of topographic conditions of project site and geographical features in the region plays a vital role during construction operations of highway projects. Understanding that project construction activities affect soil and groundwater will minimize potential indirect effects of construction operations. Professional construction engineers should identify mitigation measures to avoid or minimize the effects on the environment due to project construction activities.

Best Management Practices for Safe Construction Operations

The project engineering team should perform a geologic project site survey along the construction zone to note existing features, such as ground exposures, slope instability characteristics and natural vegetation. Based on engineers reviewing comments on plans, the field engineering team should plan for proposed pavement construction work through either excavation or embankment. It is always good to implement best project management practices and practice the recommendations of a professional engineer with the PE exam certification as a credential.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

An Engineer's Guide to Passing the PE Exam

Dust off those books, and brush up on your long forgotten lessons

Even though you're working and experienced in your respective field, it is wise to brush up on those lost memories.

The Broad Approach

This strategy requires you to familiarize yourself with all of the fundamental concepts. Some of these concepts may have already been covered in your undergraduate studies.

The Ideal Solution

The ideal solution would be to pick a study solution with an exam-type approach. This helps you in planning your time allocation for each topic during the PE exam prep course. Focus on topics according to NCEES PE exam specifications.

PE exam

Friday, 2 September 2016

The Role of People Centered Management Practices in Construction Industry


Completion and delivery of any civil engineering project within the scheduled time frame is a great challenge. Despite availability of technological advances and committed budgets, people oriented skill applications remains an important domain in the construction industry. This will at large explain the significance of trained civil engineers and building management team in construction industry. Several reports and different studies demonstrated that the shared technical know-how in civil engineering applications, designing and management practices play an important role in timely delivery of projects more successfully than traditional means. Project planning and scheduling in PE exam review course recaps delivery methods of projects. With emerging new economies worldwide, the demand for space for commercial, residential and recreational projects are increasing astronomically year after year. Subsequently the increase in construction activities is challenging the planet natural resources and the environment.  Further construction related activities adding several tons of material waste and polluting air with fine chemicals particulate matter. It is very important to innovate and adopt planet friendly commercial civil engineering project construction methods that have minimal impact on the environment and maximum expected life cycle of projects.

pe civil exam course

Construction Management and Productivity

Over the past twenty years, civil engineering business has seen decrease in productivity with more than 50% of projects either over budgeted or running behind schedule. Further the construction industry becoming battle ground for legal settlements. Some of these issues are becoming major hurdles for facilitating timely delivery of projects within the estimated budgets. Primarily, project delivery consists of two major components; one is problem definition and the other, the exploring solutions & strategies to the identified and unanticipated problem. While defining the problem, always give emphasis to project requirements, constraints, their functional outcomes, availability of legitimate land and cost & availability of budget. Project management and Engineering Economics are important topics for PE exam; while addressing solutions, work out strategies that meet all of the project requirements. Currently, construction management practices are not investing enough time to understand and define the problems on project delivery structure and sometimes this may cause serious concern where the efforts of the entire technical project team go unrealized. Therefore, management team should wisely adhere to the practices that address the technical and social elements involved with construction projects. Utilizing people centered approach and project scheduling diagrams such as Activity On Node or Activity On Arrow Diagrams to maximize the effort for project completion within the estimated budget and expected time schedule. Activity durations and critical path methods are discussed in Principles of Engineering exam review course. The strategy of people centered innovation involves participation of all people in project decision making process that includes partnership at all levels that influence the project planning, implementation, execution and delivery process.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

An Electrical Engineer’s Perspective on Planning, Development and Management


For many decades, power creation and transmission and information have been underlying themes of electrical engineering, which are relevant even today. Undergraduate courses in the electrical engineering discipline focus mainly on electrical engineering functional aspects and means and methods of various applications. Electrical engineers focus on the transmitting and receiving of information. Information is divided in to analog and digital forms. Analog information is a continuous value, such as audio and video; whereas digital information is discrete with the best example being text. The FE exam review course recaps fundamentals of electrical engineering technology concepts.

fe exam review course
Electrical Engineering Concepts

In the present contest, conversion of information-bearing signals from one energy form to another is known as energy conversion. Most of the conversion methods are inefficient since some input energy is lost as heat. Conceptually, any form of energy can be used to represent information, but electric signals are appropriate for information representation, transmission and manipulation. Electrical engineering concepts such as electrical signals, encoding information, voltages, current and electromagnetic waves manipulation skills play a predominant role in day-to-day activities of engineering practices. The Fundamentals of Engineering exam review course provides information to achieve a passing score on the FE exam by reviewing all of the above topics.

Planning, Development and Management Skills Necessary for Engineers

Planning is a functional concept that provides information about origins, components and ways of developing activities so that the development process is easy for electrical engineers. Planning is a symbolic representation of activities for achieving a goal. Theorists of planning developed four general steps in the planning processes. The steps are: define the goal state, define the problem state, note the differences between problem and goal states and determine the constraints to close the difference and redefine the goal. After these steps, the next actions are to plan construction and plan execution.

Development is a concept to apply to rather than find in individuals or performances across time. By analyzing productivity and implementation skills, engineers need to clearly explain the criteria that is basic to planning activities. Processing manpower resources, equipment and time alerts economy of actions. Planning an activity may be more or less economical for engineers. The effort to read the plan during its execution minimizes the expenditure and eliminates the need for rework. 

The Need for Management Skills

Electrical engineering is a professional service that requires effective management principles for the planning, development and execution of a project from design phase to completion phase. Cost and quality management principles reduce the cost, ineffective methods and reworking time. Implementation of OSHA and state/local regulations for all electrical engineering construction activities is mandatory for best management practices. The Fundamentals of Engineering exam review course recaps project planning, scheduling, OSHA principles and safety precautions.