Is a practical problem-solving attitude taught in the classroom? Do any civil engineering classes teach supply chain management and site logistics issues? Why do big companies regularly prefer not to recruit fresh civil engineers actively?
The answer to this is the low performance of freshly graduated civil engineers in being site-ready. Let me give you a current scenario of freshly graduating civil engineers.
During four years of undergraduate study tenure, everything students learns is based on theoretical approaches. These are standard "textbook" learning procedures. Students have not spent enough time on site to understand the holistic approach. But when your calculation in the book doesn't match, there is no loss, whereas, at the site, the whole building could topple down given the perfect conditions to slip.
That's why civil engineers must be site-ready. For this, we conducted a survey in which experts suggested the skills required for freshly graduated civil engineers to be site-ready.
The end goal is to identify what aspects of practical skills are absolutely essential for fresh civil engineers to become productive when they join a construction site.
An online survey was conducted, and experts are classified into two categories; those with less than three years of experience and those with more than three years of experience.
Each individual had to select top five skills they think would help engineer to be site ready.
Over 250 experts participated in the survey and gave their valuable insights on skills required for civil engineers to be site-ready. Experts from reputed companies such as Adani infrastructure, Larsen& Toubro, Afcons Infrastructure, IRB Infrastructure, and TATA Projects and educational institutions such as CEPT University, Adani Institute of Technology, BVM engineering college, and more.
The top 5 skills required by the engineers are as follows:
5. Safety Matters ( 41%)
Approximately 60% of experts rated safety matters are a priority for engineers to be site ready.
Safety is not only crucial for laborers but also for professionals along with the management team. Workers tend to ignore safety rules and try to work more comfortably without safety shoes, helmets, jackets, and harnesses. This ignorance should not be allowed at all on a construction site under the supervision of a site engineer. Site engineers should enforce strict safety protocols and should be able to set an excellent example for worker safety.
4. Quantity Estimation (49%)
Site engineers do the quantity estimation of various items such as concrete, reinforcement steel, and brick masonry to order the material required for the execution and maintain inventory.
Errors in quantity estimation lead to wastage of resources as well as the valuable productive time of the workforce. This wastage can significantly overload the budget and question the reliability of the site engineer.
3. Lineout, Surveying & Leveling (58.7%)
This activity requires the most precision requiring. The boundaries of building and foundation rely on the execution of lineout and survey. However, a surveying agency is hired to execute this activity. If there are any errors, the engineer is held reliable as it is his responsibility to verify everything.
2. Quality Checks (72.1%)
Quality checks are basic foundation detailing that defines the safety and integrity of a building. If the concrete has failed in its testing and the engineer doesn't know the standards, he will not stop and bother to correct the bad quality.
For quality checks, first, the engineer should be aware of relevant standard codes. For example, in reinforced concrete construction, the engineer should have a thorough knowledge of IS 456 (2000): Plain and Reinforced Concrete -Code of Practice, and for steel construction, knowledge of IS 800 (2007): General Construction In Steel - Code of Practice.
Another thing that engineer requires is practical knowledge of how these tests should be conducted and what measures of results and standard deviation are accepted.
1. Drawing Interpretation (90%)
How do you know how much reinforcement goes into the slab or beam? How do you understand where the window opening should be? You get all basic details from construction drawings, whether architectural, structural, or layout drawings.
Construction drawings convey a lot of information from a lot of different agencies as well as convey the idea of design. Construction drawings are vital for the proper execution of activities on site. Even more crucial is for the engineer to understand them.
The only reason it is the top-rated skill is that it is the most basic and most important skill an engineer should have. If he doesn't know how to interpret things, how will he see the work executed is right or wrong? How will he be able to resolve a problem a contractor is facing? The only thing that will get the construction site up and running is the availability of drawings and an engineer who knows how to interpret the details of the drawing.
This survey was beneficial and gave insights into the required skills for freshly graduated civil engineers. It also reflects what should be added to the academic curriculum to hone site engineers' skills. This primary survey reflects why reputed companies hire engineers with at least two years of experience and find it hard to invest their productive time in fresh engineers.