Discussion Thread

  • 1.  As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 09-20-2021 08:58 PM
    Civil Engineers have to wear so many different hats in a project: planners, designers, managers, field engineers, and many more. So many tools are used throughout the lifecycle of project by a Civil Engineer that I often wonder which one, if any, is the best to have or the one that is used the most.

    In my case, I feel that effective communication is the tool that I use every single day. By effective communication I mean having the ability to clearly and concisely convey your ideas to others, as well as adapting your communication style depending on the project stakeholder you are interacting with.

    So tell me, for you, which is the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Looking forward to everyone's answers!

    Salvador

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    Salvador Bentolila P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE
    AECOM
    New York NY
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  • 2.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 09-21-2021 08:12 AM
    I would agree that communication is my most frequently used tool in my role, followed by planning. With the right understanding about a project goal and the right schedule in terms of staff availability, I find that the "heavy lifting" of performing most calculations can actually occur fairly quickly.

    In terms of communication, Slack and Teams have been critical in being able to communicate with coworkers that span multiple companies, especially during periods of remote work.

    In terms of planning, task tracking apps such as Asana are extremely helpful in making sure everyone knows what they need to do, and when they need to do it by.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 3.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 09-24-2021 07:30 AM
    It depends on the project, but a BIM can help you immensely. We typically use 2D CAD to generate drawings, plans, sections, and elevations of buildings and sewer systems or HVAC systems in civil engineering. In this sense, CAD does provide a quick way of generating helpful documentation. But the method of computer simulation technique for solving engineering and other technical problems is more potent than just 2D CAD.

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    Rostyslav Sipakov Ph.D., Aff.M.ASCE
    CEO
    Miami FL
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  • 4.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 10-14-2021 02:07 PM
    Good communication is essential. On top of this, the number one tool I use is mindset that asks 1) where are we now, 2) where do we want to go and 3) how do we get there. This approach has never let me down for helping bring a group or discussion from chaos to clarity. From my personal experience, just asking "should we clarify what problem we're problem we're trying to solve" has huge impact. There are formal processes for implementing this approach, but the mindset and helping a group think about the problem at hand in these three components will alone deliver significant value.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 5.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 10-15-2021 12:24 PM
    Hi all!

    What a great question Salvador! I think one of the most important civil engineering tools I use every day is systems thinking. In the context of design, understanding how a change will impact future design elements has been crucial. Can we make this change in an earlier construction stage and how will it impact the design and construction in subsequent phases? This systems thinking approach has helped me greatly with tracking a change throughout an entire plan set, too. Sometime a tedious task, it's allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the interdependence of  different civil engineering disciplines (i.e. drainage, structural, and roadway design). Also, by thinking through a change in the context of the entire system/process/design, the schedule and budget implications will be understood earlier.

    Since I'm an EIT and still very early in my career, most of the time, I'm just listening to these budget and schedule conversations. I think gaining an understanding of budget and schedule implications early in my career will help me as grow into a more senior/PM role (or at least that's my hope!).

    Thanks for posing this question Salvador! It's been great to see that soft skills, especially communication, play such a vital role in civil engineering!

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    Madison Anderson A.M.ASCE
    Kenosha WI
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  • 6.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 10-22-2021 02:47 PM
    As a student, it's good thing that I might practice adaptability in different level of complexity, and learning things on my own will have a great impact to be out there. However, I used to be very resourceful in any problems I encountered, and having a confidence to deal with anything is what I owned.

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    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    Student
    City of General Trias Cavite
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  • 7.  RE: As a civil engineer, what's the one civil engineering tool that you use every day?

    Posted 10-26-2021 07:53 AM
    Very nice question.

    I am in my final undergraduate year and working in the engineering field at the same time. The uses of BIM is extremely helpful. An engineer must follow up with the trends of the BIM as it makes life very easy.

    Be professional in what you are doing, everything you do and say is a responsibility that you must carry. Therefore, problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and technical skills are the tools that I use everyday at work.

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    Avo Solakian S.M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer Assistant
    Kuwait
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