This career episode deals with my involvement in the construction of Building XXX located at XXX (Address of Company) in NSW while working as Structural Design Engineer (Designation) for XXX (Company Name). Our office was commissioned by the head office to complete several complicated elements of the structure. My role in this project was to complete the majority of the detailed design of the complex suspended ground floor slab. I undertook this project in July 2009 and the construction is due to be completed in April 2012 (Duration of Project).
CE1.2 (Introduction about the Company/ Organization)
“Company” was established in 19** by Architect, Mr. XXX. The company has completed various architectural projects, designs and supervising construction work all over the country especially in the capital city. “Company” was both the owner and contractor of the XXX project. This project consisted of an apartment building with 30 floors and 4 basement floors and the top apartment was planned to be a duplex. The construction area was 12,000 m2 (Introduction about Project).
CE1.3 (Job Description)
The principal role and responsibilities that I carried on this project were:
supervise all structural works and submission of related reports to the project manager
arrange supply of required amount of concrete, steel, formwork and other materials
monitoring changes to designs, assessing effects on cost, and measuring, valuing and negotiating variations to designs
analysing structural systems for both static and dynamic loads
designing structures to ensure they do not collapse, bend, twist or vibrate in undesirable ways
assessing present and future travel flow patterns taking into account population increase and needs change- work in accordance with standards
interpret and use specifications, drawings, plans, construction methods, procedures
responsible for construction of the structures in accordance with contractual and design requirements on site and work according to the standards
CE1.4 (Organogram/ Organizational Hierarchy)
The organizational structure for the engineering project at the time
(c) Personal Engineering Activity
After being briefed on the project by the chief project engineer, my first task was to break down the entire floor system into an ordered set of discrete designable elements such as slabs, bands and transfer beams. Next I used the RAPT computer program (Softwares Used) to carry out the detailed design of each of the forty or so elements. This involved measuring the span, dimensions and loading on each element and entering this data to model it in the program. My aim was to make the models as accurate as practicable, while still allowing for the opportunity to incorporate future changes.
After re-assessing the specified design criteria, I realised that the reinforcement cover I had used did not satisfy fire resistance and durability requirements (Issue faced). However because each design element was already set up as a computer model, it was simple enough to change the covers and make the necessary design modifications. To ensure the clarity of the design to others, I documented (Documentation) and ordered the calculations and computer output in a lever arch file, including summary pages and assumptions used.
CE1.7 (Designing Jobs/ Tasks)
Throughout the design process (Designing Component), it was my responsibility to produce, order and maintain all the design documentation including computations and reinforcement drawings. I arranged the calculations, numbering approximately 1000 pages, based on the site grid system. The RAPT output for each element designed was sorted in this system, with summary pages of input and conclusions provided for each. I clearly outlined content pages and the design concepts and philosophies at the front of the documentation, while also including sections for superseded computations and verification documentation.
CE1.8 (Designing Parts, Issue n Solution)
I considered various design possibilities. In one particular possibility, due to the height difference in the external ground level to the internal slab finished level, it was required to provide retaining walls. Providing retaining walls was a cost effective solution compared to importing fill to raise the external ground level. I introduced concrete ramps and steps to the entrance. I undertook the concrete design to satisfy Australian standards AS 3600 (important to mention standards used). Whilst I was checking the drawings, I noticed that some area in the added mezzanine floor was created as part of the structural system and redundant (Issue faced during the project and solution). I was convinced that this area was necessary for the structural framing and that in future, it had a potential to be used as extra storage space. I performed design checks for the related structural elements for a storage imposed load. This exercise avoided any anticipated potential risk.
CE1.9 (Job Tasks, Independent working, issue faced and solution)
It was also my task to draw up and update the reinforcement drawings. I produced a sample markup which was checked by the chief project engineer and the clients to ensure an acceptable format for the rest of the drawings. After we issued this sample markup, the chief project engineer went on several weeks holiday, which left me with the task of managing the timing and production of the rest of these drawings, with minimal supervision from the department manager. Using the original design computations as my basis, I drew up all the detailed reinforcement plans. This approach allowed me to check and verify the computations as I went, and update the drawings accordingly.
CE1.10 (Issue while performing tasks and solutions provided)
Altered drawings were revised and reissued as a next revision, in many cases with copies of relevant calculations to show reasoning. During this time the rest of my workload was light so, apart from one or two difficult areas, I took the chance to push the drawings ahead and have the first revisions largely ready before time. Whilst in the middle of this process, the client advised us that the pile capping drawings needed to be issued earlier than anticipated, so I diverted more of my time and resources to this task in order to get the drawings and documentation ready by the deadline (Issue and solution). Key documentation met this deadline, with supporting section drawings being delivered a few days later.
CE1.11 (Issue and Solution)
The client was concerned about the deflection under load of the suspended ground floor slab. I discussed my computer model results with the client and demonstrated that the design case deflections were acceptable. I also showed that changing the design to provide less deflection would significantly increase construction costs.
CE1.12 (Issues faced and solutions provided)
Another engineer completed an independent verification of the ground floor structure. I then went through and addressed all the issues raised, making changes where necessary. The head office also reviewed and directed many queries to our chief project engineer. I was then given the task of reviewing and addressing many of these issues and providing responses. The reviewed design was provided to the client who advised that the design brief had been met.
CE1.13 (Involvement in OHS, Planning, Approvals, Communication, etc.)
Apart from my design activities, my participation in this project involved health and safety considerations, planning, obtaining approvals and communicating effectively with stakeholders. By coincidence, a couple of months later I was on holiday in this capital city and I used this opportunity to contact the head office and organize a site visit with one of their engineers. At the time they were constructing the basement and foundations, so not much of my design had been built yet. However the experience was still very valuable to see the site and discuss my designs with the site engineer to unearth any problems and methods he believed things could have been done better.
CE1.14 (outcomes/ professional benefits achieved: practical knowledge, project management, management, analysis, design, communication skills, engineering, building construction, appreciation and recognition)
This job was my first hands-on experience as a qualified Civil/ Structural Engineer and I learnt so much about the practical application of the job. I learned many things including how to read a project, leading workers, price analysis, purchasing, communicating with people, designing, etc. I gained knowledge in the field of civil engineering as well as knowledge in other related fields, e.g. project management, etc. I gained great knowledge and skills in building and construction during my time with “company” and I felt fortunate to be given the opportunity to lead this kind of project. It was also a great honor for me to have the appreciation and recognition of my manager on completion of the project.
Note: This example career episode is intended to give an overview of the type and style of Career Episode and it should not be used as a mechanism of comparison or moderation against other career episodes. (Reff: Engineers Australia)
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