Missed opportunities in the Built Environment

Missed opportunities in the Built Environment

Civil Engineering, Sustainable
A few months ago, I joined a non-profit committee, which reviews new building construction in a San Francisco district. The main purpose of the review is to make sure the new building will fit aesthetically in the neighborhood, advocate for affordable housing, and reduce resident displacement. However, I am always surprised how developers and their architects often do not even try to design any sustainability features into the building. And I understand well enough how expensive it is to build in the City. Still, my concern is that if people in a city as progressive as SF do not care about sustainability, what can we expect from other parts of the country and the world at large? Recently, I was part of a review team for a new building, which…
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MoSCoW is not just the capital of Russia

MoSCoW is not just the capital of Russia

Civil Engineering
Recently I was re-watching the old 1974 classic “Earthquake.” And even though the acting or the script s high art, at least in my opinion, the special effects for the time were quite impressive. Also, as a licensed California civil engineer, I can appreciate the movie from a professional standpoint. At one point in the movie, for example, Charlton Heston argues with a client about improving the specifications on his building project. The client reminds him that he meets State and City codes, but Heston tells him it is not enough in a seismic zone such as Los Angeles, which is where the movie takes place. In project management, as well as in software development and business analysis, to name a few, there is always a need to prioritize the…
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Five things to look for when hiring a civil engineer

Five things to look for when hiring a civil engineer

Civil Engineering
As the economy starts roaring back in the Bay Area, as well as throughout much of California, we are seeing more and more construction work in the residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure sectors. Therefore, the need to hire civil engineers (CEs) has risen at a considerable pace, since CEs provide the necessary expertise required to design and build out the area where the project work will take place. This work includes grading and drainage design, as well as upfront work, such as erosion and sedimentation control. Additionally, CEs provide the utility design required for water, sanitary and storm sewers, irrigation and others. Five things to look for when hiring a civil engineer So, how do we find the best CE for your project? The best way is to verify the…
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What is Sustainable Civil Engineering?

What is Sustainable Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering, Sustainable
For the longest time, civil engineers seemed like the antithesis of sustainability. We were seen as “land reapers,’ or wanting to “pave” the world, and so on. And, for the most part, it was partly true in earlier decades. We, as civil engineers, were expected to design safe roads, effective infrastructure, and even contour the land to provide space for new houses. Very little attention was placed on sustainability. In fact, the civil engineering curriculum worldwide lacked any courses or even references to sustainability. Fortunately, this has all changed, and we civil engineers now have a golden opportunity to engage the environment in a more eco-friendly manner and reverse some of the negative impacts of previous construction projects. For example, as a fan and proponent of open spaces and slow…
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Civil Engineering and Sustainability

Civil Engineering and Sustainability

Civil Engineering, Sustainable
All too often, it is assumed that as civil engineers, we just want to pave the world. And although our work does involve roadway design, streetscape, and other public works projects, civil engineers have the ability and responsibility to include sustainability in their work. For example, even a street improvement project can include recycled materials for the pavement section, permeable materials to reduce runoff, green areas of all sizes, reclaimed water for irrigation, and rainwater harvesting, among other possibilities. Civil Engineering and Sustainability LEED certification requires, for example, the inclusion of site civil elements, such as locating an appropriate site, maximizing energy savings, efficient use of water, minimizing the heat island effect, and the increased use of recycled materials, among many other possibilities. Therefore, it is helpful if civil engineers…
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