×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.
3

Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

(OP)
Many times I see site staff redirect the issues related to construction/finishes to structure engineer like he has some magical book containing solution to all issues.
Mostly structure engineers have very limited experience and exposure when it comes to literal construction. For example
I recently came to know about (overheard) an issue where two adjacent buildings with an expansion joint in between had to be plastered at the joint location. Even a young site engineer may have seen such issues and came up with a solution in the past because many buildings have expansion joint, but structure engineer usually doesn't have such exposure.
Another problem I personally faced was contractor raised objection on one of the box shaped RCC storm water drain I designed saying that formwork can not be removed if box's internal dimension are less than 3'x3'.
I know we have to learn with experience and every project have unique issues. In order to keep oneself aware with common issues and keep our design more practical there has to be some literature on it. If you guys are aware of any such literature please do share.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Not sure of any literature, but more about the process of design and how you review that design for "constructability".

That's where the old grey haired guys come and sh*t on your carefully designed masterpiece with words like "can't be built" or "that will be expensive".

you can't learn most of what you said from a book as you can't describe every possible option or combination.

There is very little that can't be built, only some ways cost a lot more or take longer than others for minimal effect.

Be careful not to take everything a construction contractor tells you as the gospel truth either. It just means that for him and his equipment, it is not preferable. Someone else might say no problem. Hence why any book is only really the experience of the author. More than one experience is available.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

That book does not exist (because there are an infinite number of possible problems). When you have questions, my advice is to pick the brain of someone who has been in the profession for 25 years or more. The advice I always give our young engineers is for them to imagine that they are trying to build what they are designing and detailing. Imagine trying to install the bolts, make the welds, design the connections (when delegating connection design), build and remove the formwork, etc. Think about constructability and connection designability when modeling. You can model ten beams framing to a column, but can you detail the connections? (No.) We can model anything, but can what we modeled be built? I tell them to imagine that they are not engineers when reading the drawings. (Most of those reading our drawings are not engineers.)

Pay attention to the news and subscribe to magazines (such as ENR that always have great articles about major structural failures). Structural failures happen all too often. Follow those stories (as well as follow-up stories) to learn more about the causes of those failures and to learn from the mistakes of others.

If you can, look at the drawings from other engineering firms. I always learn a lot from doing this. I learn things to do and to not do.

I bought a book years ago called, "The Contractor's Guide to Change Orders". It was like finding the other team's play book! Among other things, the book gave tips on how to essentially "mine" a set of drawings for change orders.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

LittleInch sums it up pretty well, especially the last point.

In general, when designing any part of a structure, you should strive for the solution which meets code and is the simplest to construct. Rather than having a floor framing plan with 10 different beams all optimized per code, it's often better to use one or two sizes as this makes the construction simpler and more cost effective, even if the material cost might be a little higher. Repetition is the key to efficiency and simplicity. Complicated designs almost always get messed up.

You should always try to be mindful of how something would be constructed. There are plenty of resources available online and elsewhere if you have no clue. A lot of construction is common sense when you take the time to think about it. Of course, some stuff isn't obvious and won't occur to you during design, which is ok. Some knowledge is only gained by experience.

And to LittleInch's excellent last point, while you should always consider feedback from the contractor, you need to weigh their concerns with the overall goals. The simple solution that they prefer, which makes their life easier, might not be code-compliant or otherwise beneficial. Contractors also tend to speak in absolutes. While one may tell you something can't be done, the next will tell you that's how they've always done it. Early in my career, while working on a residential project, I had a builder tell me that they couldn't build the foundation wall I designed because it was 9 ft tall and they only had 8 ft forms. It didn't initially occur to me that it was only that builder who had that limitation. I felt like I made a huge mistake overlooking something that I should have known.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Unfortunately, these are things you will most-readily learn solely from experience.

Quote (Eng16080)

I had a builder tell me that they couldn't build the foundation wall I designed because it was 9 ft tall and they only had 8 ft forms.

I had this exact argument a few weeks back. Super fun stuff when he called me a ****** and said all I want to do is waste money. I didn't rise to the bait and told the builder he can do whatever he wants, but the stamped plans will show the design as it needs to be built.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Tacking on to everyone's great posts, it's experience that gets you there. Although there are some good forensic structural engineering books out that can be handy with discrete issues.

Couple points:
1. The site guys you mention are just handing off problems/liability to the nearest structural engineer, the way Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees across North America. They know that there will be fruit to be harvested in the form of a change order at some point.
2. The thing about the joint between buildings is a lot of times dictated by local code. Some jurisdictions are fine with a hard joint, some require a seismic gap with flashing.
3. Don't ever get sucked into guiding a contractor with his means and methods, unless you're getting paid to do it and you have the experience and insurance.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Cliff,

Is "The Contractor's Guide to Change Orders" a good book? Wondering if I should pull the trigger on that, sounds like a gem.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Yeah, I don't think there is a comprehensive book on that.

Mostly the answer is to have engineers with gray hair on the team.

For specific subjects, there's help. For example the AISC Design Guide 1, Base Plates, has a section on field issues and fixes.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Quote:

Many times I see site staff redirect the issues related to construction/finishes to structure engineer like he has some magical book containing solution to all issues.

I tend to push back hard on this sort of thing. Do let them make it your problem.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

(OP)
Thank you everyone for your valuable responses.
An experienced engineer who is willing to guide younger one's without ego/arrogance/bad behavior is truly a very big gift a professional can get from God.
This forum has been really very helpful. Keep doing the great work everyone.

RE: Please suggest some books containing common construction issues/challenges and their solutions.

Quote (Tstruct

..
Another problem I personally faced was contractor raised objection on one of the box shaped RCC storm water drain I designed saying that formwork can not be removed if box's internal dimension are less than 3'x3'.)


In this specific case , if the box culvert long enough , could be precast and you may develop steel formwork . Just saying there is no unique solution .

I will suggest you to ask your specific problem to this forum , to an experienced engineer or other forums ( e.g. ww.sefindia.org STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS FORUM OF INDIA [SEFI]) rather than looking for literature and magic books.

Always keep in your mind , a structural engineering solution should be economical, constructable with local material and workmanship and comply with applicable codes and standards .


Use it up, wear it out;
Make it do, or do without.

NEW ENGLAND MAXIM


Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login



News


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close