Wednesday, 29 Sep, 2021

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Engr S M Muhaiminul Islam, Guest Writer |
Update: 2020-10-12 12:10:25

If you're a kid who built whole cities in the bedroom, look out for civil engineering. Civil engineers build real cities, from roads and bridges to tunnels, public buildings, highly challenging structure and sewer systems. 

The projects have three phases: pre-construction planning, implementation and infrastructure post maintenance. The preconstruction phase involves surveying the land, reviewing projects, evaluating funding and requirements, and then making decisions about scheduling, materials and personnel. Most of the work is done indoors at this stage. Implementation is where construction begins, and many civil engineers spend a lot of time reviewing the progress of the site and coordinating all the construction. Engineers may tell they go there two or three days at a time. Issues should be solved on the spot and only civil engineers with the knowledge and responsibility to do so. Infrastructure management, which includes stress tests, assessments and ongoing support, occurs after construction is completed. Civil engineers return to their offices to make all the paperwork and make all final arrangements for the project. Then it is time to start the process again to achieve the goals. 

Civil engineers work hard in multi-dimensional ways. Hours can be long, cuts in government funding can destroy a project, deadlines are tight, and weather conditions can delay projects. If the schedule increases, an engineer must overcome planning hurdles with ingenuity. Almost all of our surveys list creativity as the first or second most important trait a civil engineer can have. About half of all civil engineers are employed by governments, which means they must be prepared for bureaucratic delays, political failures, and piles of paperwork. While civil engineers don't know where or when their next project will take place, it doesn't seem to bother them. "Projects can last up to ten years, so it's not exactly like you move every week," said an engineer we spoke with. The satisfaction is strong; most would not trade their profession for any other.

Civil engineers should have an engineering degree and three to four years of work experience from an accredited school for engineering and technology by an accredited board. They should also pass a state-sponsored professional engineer exam. Many civil engineers are helpful in joining a professional organization such as Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB). In the time of the pyramids built by current and future civil engineers in Egypt, the Pharaohs; In classical Greece and Rome, civil engineers build temples, aquifers, and great public building structures; The Forbidden City was built by civil engineers in China. Cities could not be built without civil engineers; Civil engineers designed every major infrastructure system in Bangladesh. Civil engineering work will be rebuilt in the coming decade as opposed to rebuilding nation’s crumbling infrastructure. This will happen mostly in urban areas where budgets are tight and only projects that are in emergencies. Civil engineers will also build water treatment plants and hazardous waste processing sites. Demand for civil engineers is expected to be strong, but applicants must be prepared to move into the required areas to take advantage of these opportunities.

Two years into the quality of life and career, civil engineers are still cutting teeth, gaining work experience that allows them to take a state-sponsored engineering exam. Many do construction or administrative assistant work on a regular basis. There are many "junior" engineers who are guided by highly experienced, licensed professionals. The hours are long, but the satisfaction is high.

Those who have lived for five years have attained the grade 1 assistant or civil engineer status. Many have done their hardest work in three to eight years and have tried to stand out from other applicants. 15-hour days are not uncommon for on-site employees. Valuable experience is gained by this walk of civil engineering field. Many have to move to find positions of responsibility and some leave. Satisfaction is high; hours increase. 

Civil engineers who have lived for ten years are engaged in supervisory or management roles. Many are heavily involved in the pre-construction phase of development, but spend less time at the construction site during the construction phase than in previous years. Some become research engineers who use their practical experience to explore new materials, methods and methods of building infrastructure. Satisfaction is high; hours decrease; pay raise. 

Writer: Engr S M Muhaiminul Islam, Reserach Consultant at Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI), Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Bangladesh.

BDST: 1210 HRS, OCT 12, 2020

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