CivilStructural.com.my 25 Aug 2013
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Data estimate at site for civil and structural engineer!(Intermediate)

It is quite normal that civil engineer visits to a site. Whenever engineer make site study; most of the time, engineer need some data at site for engineering judgments. Some may need testing, direct measurement. If time allow, engineer can arrange tester to site to take testing or measurement. In certain case, engineer may need immediate data for direct judgment. The info is important. Below are some of tips that can be applied.

Cut or fill ground estimation. When engineer at site, engineer can make initial judgment for ground condition. For instance; a flat platform just next to a hill, such location will normally will be cut ground as shown in diagram below.

Another method of ground judgment is observing the excavation of ground by excavator. After the excavator excavated earth out from ground, engineer can look into the pits sign that left behind. If side of pits is very straight and it left the sign of teeth of excavator, then current ground is hard or vice versa. When side of pits is loose, then ground is soft.

Engineer can observes the ground sign that left behind by vehicle. If ground is hard, then after vehicle move over, it will not show any ground settlement. During vehicle move over, ground below it has sign of pressure out from side of tires, and then ground has sign of soft.

When engineer needs to check flow velocity of water, engineer needs apparatus to measure. Somehow, with absent of apparatus, what shall engineer to do? Certain case, the site will quire far from engineer’s office. The travel time may take a couple of hours or even days. Unless engineer has enough time for doing such work, else it will not practical for engineer to go back to office to bring apparatus back to site. Engineer can use some basic concept to calculate the velocity. Such as V=L/t. By using this formula, engineer has to locate a distance such as 5m (L=5), with a watch and a leave or a piece of small paper. Engineer can start with drop of the leave or paper on to drain or river with start time counting. When leave or paper reaches the 5m, engineer takes another reading of time. Then the difference of start time with end time will be t. The corresponding velocity of flow can be obtained by formula of L/t.

When present at site without measurement tape, engineer can use any thing such as tree trunk to measure and bring it back to office for further measurement. Sometime, engineer can use body measurement such as foot size, arm, and human height as a guide to make measurement. Certain site object such as ceiling can be a guide of measurement. Common ceiling size for office is 2”x4” and residential is 4”x4”. As for example to know about width of shop office, engineer can count number of ceiling install and multiple with 2” or 4” of ceiling size.

Numerical value is easily judge by engineer. But the figure will not understand by public or laymen. Therefore, when engineer needs to provide some information to public, engineer has to use laymen term to inform public. For instance; engineer needs to tell public about height of building of 12m. Engineer can better tell public that it is equivalent to 4 stories building where 3m height is equivalent to a floor height of building. By such indication, public can easily imagine the value of 12m.

For these few examples given, engineer has to alert that engineer has to always work smart and not work hard. Engineer has to take some time to think and get some predication results for engineering judgment.

Written by scchee
Disclaimer: the above article is based on writer personal opinion on civil and structural field. It will not represent any ultimate solution of any mention subjects. Writer will not responsible for any causes arise.

Reading level: Intermediater.
(Updated 17/8/08)
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