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Most civil engineering construction projects are completed to time and budget but few get publicity for it. More often building projects are reported as exceeding time or budget because a building has to cater for the diverse needs of the many users of the building which can be difficult to forecast or may change as construction proceeds. In civil engineering the principal hazards come from the need to deal with below ground conditions, make structures out of re-assembled soils or rocks, and to cater for the forces of impounded or flowing water.
The construction of roads, railways, tunnels, bridges, pipelines, dams, harbours, canals and river training measures, flood and sea defences, must all be tailored to the conditions found on site as construction proceeds because it is not possible to foresee such conditions in every detail beforehand. As a result the successful management of a civil engineering project depends upon use of an appropriate contract for construction; the judgements of the civil engineer in charge and his team of engineering advisers; the need to arrange for supervision of the work of construction as it proceeds, and on the competence of the contractor engaged to build the works and his engineers and tradesmen.




The first four chapters of this book show the advantages and disadvantages of various ways in which a civil project can be commissioned, dependent upon the nature of the project and the needs of the project promoter. The recent legislative changes applying to construction contracts are noted, and the various different approaches now being adopted, such as partnering, ‘PFI’ and ‘PPP’ are explained and commented on.
The book then sets out in practical detail all the measures and precautions the engineer in charge and his staff of engineers should take to ensure successful management and completion of a project. The authors draw upon their experience in managing many projects both in the UK and overseas. Thus the book is intended to be a practical guide for project engineers, and a source of information for student civil engineers joining the profession. The author Alan Twort is a former consultant to Binnie & Partners responsible for many projects including the repair or reconstruction of several dams. Gordon Rees is a former Contracts Department Manager for Binnie & Partners and later Black & Veatch. He is now an independent consultant and an accredited adjudicator for ICE and FIDIC civil engineering contracts.
The nature of civil engineering work




Virtually all civil engineering structures are unique. They have to be designed for some specific purpose at some specific location before they can be constructed and put to use. There are inherent risks arising in this process because the design, and therefore the estimated cost of the works, is based on assumptions that may later have to be altered. The cost can be affected by the weather during construction and the nature of the ground or groundwater conditions encountered. Also the promoter may need to alter the works design to include the latest technical developments, or meet the latest changes in his requirements, so that he does not get works that are already out-of-date when completed.
All these risks and unforeseen requirements that may have to be met can involve additional expenditure; so the problem that arises is – who is to shoulder such additional costs? Clearly if the promoter of the project undertakes the design and construction of the works himself (or uses his own staff) he has to meet any extra cost arising and all the risks involved. But if, as in most cases, the promoter engages a civil engineering contractor to construct the works, the contract must set out which party to the contract is to bear the cost of which type of extra work required. The risks involved must also be identified and allocated to one or the other party

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