The role and responsibilities of a civil engineer on site

CV Raman Global University is a leading engineering institution of the country and is preferred by engineering students all over the country. Apart from being a leading university of Odisha, it is also ranked amongst the best engineering institution of the country and is seen as a leader among institutions imparting technical education. It offers engineering degrees in many different sub disciplines of engineering and trains thousands of students every year. From mechanical to civil engineering, the students study in different streams and become successful professionals.

As a profession, civil engineering is a lucrative and demanding job for engineers and entails different roles and responsibilities.

A civil engineer is involved at many levels with the process of construction and structural engineering. As the planner and designer of the structure and the construction work flow, a civil engineer has many roles to play on the job. Here are the many different responsibilities a civil engineer takes up on the job while handling a construction project-

  1. Interpretation of Drawing-

Before the construction project starts taking a concrete shape, there are plans and designs involved. Before the construction activity starts, civil engineers and architects visualise the structure and plan of the project, right from the small details of the building to the final look of the building. This involves the principles of engineering drawing, geometry and physics. The visualisation of the building is done according to the requirements of the client and in accordance to the laws of engineering and physics. This is necessary because we are aiming to create the most stable structure for the building so that the structure is permanent and the building withstands the test of time. These drawings are the start of the planning and designing done by civil engineers before creating the structure. For the construction work to begin, civil engineers have to interpret these drawings and convey the plan to the people working on the project with them. One of the first responsibilities of a civil engineer on board a construction project is therefore, the interpretation of construction drawings. Construction drawings are very different from other types of drawings and require the expertise of a civil engineer. The proper interpretation of these drawings fuels the right execution of the construction plan. This helps the civil engineer in clearly communicating with his subordinates and contemporaries.  

  • The preparation of the Bar Bending Schedule-

The bar bending schedule is sheet prepared by the civil engineer on site to calculate and estimate the total number of steel bars and rods needed in the construction process. It also records the differing diameters of the rods that are to be used during construction. The construction is done on a strong foundation and robust structure. Steel rods are the most basic construction material that are used and the bar bending schedule includes the number of steel rods and bars to be used, the diameter of these bars and the cost of them too. This simplifies and organises the raw material to be used in construction. The bar bending schedule is later referred during the time of billing. It is one of the crucial responsibilities of the on-site engineer to create an estimation of the total amount of steel to be used in construction and chalk out the bar bending schedule.

  • Supervising the unskilled labourers

Every construction project requires the services of unskilled labour for timely completion. Unskilled labourers are the ones who carry the raw material, put together the structure according to the instruction given to them. However, unskilled labourers tend to slack off work if they are not properly monitored and instructed. It is therefore, the responsibility of a civil engineer to keep an eye on every unskilled labourer on site and monitor his work pace and quality. If the workers’ work quality falls then it can be disastrous for the structure they are building. If the workers are not maintaining an optimum speed then the project will not be completed on time. The civil engineer has to ensure that the workers and labourers are delivering quality work in the predetermined timeframe so that the project is completed successfully and by the deadline. A building or a structure should be ideally a permanent one and the permanence of the structure depends on the vigilance shown by the civil engineer. The monitoring of the workers and deadlines can be a challenging task, but the end result makes the efforts worth it for a civil engineer. The civil engineer will be leading the project. Therefore, he will be the one who allots daily work to the workers and keeps a tally of the work allotted and finished by the workers. By doing so, the civil engineer will gain an estimation of the pace at which the construction process is being completed and can speed up the process if needed.

  • Preparing a list of materials used and available-

Raw materials are the basic requirements of the construction process and it is the duty of the civil engineer to monitor the usage and inflow of construction material to the construction site. The civil engineer makes an estimation of the raw materials to be used on site and also communicates with the suppliers to procure the requires raw materials. He also keeps track of the raw materials that have been used till date and the raw materials that are available to complete the construction process. This also gives him an idea of how much construction material needs to be procured further for the uninterrupted flow of construction work. This gives an organised flow to the construction process and helps the civil engineer in avoiding material and logistic issues.

  • Checking the line level of the construction-

Every construction project starts with a line level that has to be maintained throughout the construction process. As a civil engineer, a construction professional is expected to monitor the work being done so that the line level is maintained. If the line level is not maintained throughout the construction schedule, then the concrete has to be repaired. Repairing the concrete once it is laid down is not an easy process. The civil engineer is therefore always vigilant about the line level of the construction site and its maintenance. This is also one of the responsibilities of a civil engineer.

  • Drafting a work chart schedule-

A work chart schedule is one that has to be prepared by the civil engineer so that a track of the work done and to be done can be maintained. A work chart helps in organising the work and monitoring the work too. The work chart takes a comprehensive view of the goals of the work flow and lists down the progress made in comparison to the timeline outlined in the chart. This helps the civil engineer in finishing the project on time by streamlining the flow of the work.

  • Checking the steel framework of the structure before laying down the concrete-

The steel framework of the structure is the initial model of the building and is the skeleton of the building. Like a human body, the skeleton of a structure also needs to be strong and durable. The steel framework decides how permanent the structure will be because the framework is the support of the building. It is therefore important that the strength of the steel skeleton is checked thoroughly before advancing to the next step of construction. The civil engineer on site is responsible for checking the strength of the skeleton before concrete is laid down on them to create beams and slabs and columns. The concrete needs something strong to hold on to and a strong steel framework and foundation is necessary to avoid any mishaps after construction. A thorough checking and rectifying the faults of the steel structure can help the civil engineer in delivering a permanent building.

  • Checking and fixing the equipment to be used in concreting-

Once the steel structure is laid out and has been checked by the engineer, the equipment involved in concreting is also checked. Concreting is the next step to creating the steel skeleton of the structure. Laying down the concrete involves many different machineries that are used in tandem for quick and perfect concreting. It is the responsibility of a civil engineer to check the machinery and ensure that they are working properly so that the process of concreting is done properly and without any major hitches. Smooth and proper concreting is needed for the permanence and look of the building. Civil engineers are well acquainted with the machinery used for concreting so that they can examine and find faults in the machinery before work starts. They then take the help of repairmen to repair the machinery and make it functional.

  • Monitoring the curing process-

Concreting is not the final step of the process as the concrete needs to be cured properly for a strong structure and smooth exterior finish to the building. This has to be supervised by the civil engineer on duty so that there are no faults or problems in the structure.