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Q3/94

1.

Responsible experience is necessary for engineers to become Chartered. Outline the basic expertise required by a newly Chartered civil
engineer

Introduction

Upon graduation, a civil engineering graduate will normally undertake a training scheme
registered with the Institution of Civil Engineers, where he starts his career in the civil engineering field.
He will finish his training after, at the least, successfully satisfying all the training objectives required. The
purpose of those objectives is to equip young civil engineer with the basic expertise that all Chartered civil
engineer should possess.
Through the ICE publications, he will become familiar with the structure and organisation of the
ICE, where he will learn the by-laws, regulations and rules. He will also gain technical and management
experience through his assignments during the training period. When he completed the training, he will
work in a responsible position where he has to work independently in handling projects. He will make use
of his technical and management experience gained from his training period to make decision and
judgement, to manage his subordinates and to communicate with other parties. Therefore, to become
Chartered, a young civil engineer should possess basic expertise and acquire sufficient experience.
2.

Necessary Expertise Required by a Newly Chartered Civil Engineer

The Chartered status means that a civil engineer has possessed necessary professional knowledge
and competence that the public can rely on. Although there is no frame rule outlining the basic expertise
that should be possessed by a newly chartered civil engineer, as a professional man, he should at least
acquire the following areas of expertise.
2.1

Technical Knowledge
A newly chartered civil engineer must be equipped with sound technical knowledge and
experience. This is important in both design and construction works. He shall know the importance and
relevance of his theoretical knowledge to the design, manufacture, construction, operation and
maintenance of the particular products or services with which his employing organisation is concerned. At
the planning and design stage, he must be aware of any potential problems and difficulties which will be
encountered during construction, and shall make use of his knowledge to prepare solutions to the
problems. Hence, he has to ensure the completeness and practicability of his design, otherwise claims will
arise during the construction stage due to the overlooking of such problems. In addition, he shall consider
the construction sequence of the works and evaluate the likely problems and respective solutions. For
instance, in a road improvement project, he shall prepare a traffic diversion scheme in order to avoid
traffic congestion problem during the construction stage.
Besides, a civil engineer shall acquire a clear understanding of the need to make appropriate
provisions in the projects to ensure safety and reliability. He shall also be aware of the detrimental effects
of environmental pollution and the importance of this on the safety and health of the general public. In
formulating his design and the implementation programme, he should make appropriate provisions to
achieve the above considerations.
At the construction stage, a civil engineer shall make use of his technical knowledge and
management skill to ensure smooth running of the contract. He shall give advice to the contractor on
safety and environmental matters. He shall comment on contractor's submission of temporary work
design and the practicability of the proposed construction programme. In addition, he shall suggest
solutions and technical advice to the problems arising during the course of the construction work.
2.2

Management Skill
Management skill is important to civil engineers. As a project team leader, he shall suitably
delegate powers and responsibilities to his subordinates so as to ensure efficient management. He should
distribute the tasks to his subordinates and allocate sufficiently resources to carry out the task such that
the progress of the project/works is smoothly run and that no one is idling. He should also give guidance
and show his concerns on his subordinates. In site works supervision, he shall always keep in touch with
the contractor to monitor the progress of work and the expenditure. He shall chair meetings with the

FILE: 3B-94

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Q3/94

Responsible experience is necessary for engineers to become Chartered. Outline the basic expertise required by a newly Chartered civil
engineer

contractor and/or other parties to discuss the progress of work, the problems encountered and solutions
to the problems.
Working as a site agent, a newly Chartered civil engineer is required to observe the progress of
work so as to prevent any delay of work. According to the construction programme, he should effectively
allocate resources to each works activity, such as materials, plant and labour. He should foresee the
problems or difficulties to be encountered and make appropriate measures to resolve the them. For
instances, he will apply noise permit in advance from the authority so as to arrange the workers for some
construction activities requiring night works.
Besides, cost control is important in implementing a project. In different stages, the engineer
should fully aware the financial consequence of making a decision. In the planning and design stages, the
choice of a scheme, the adoption of construction materials and the stipulation of certain construction
method will affect the project cost. During tendering, the tender pricing and assessment and the selection
of first tender will have direct bearings on the project cost. In construction stage, the planning and
arrangement of construction sequence and the allocation of resources in different works activities will
definitely influence the construction costs.
2.3

Communication Skill
Communication and presentation skill are also important to civil engineers. As a newly Chartered
civil engineer, he shall be equipped himself with the skills to understand the point of view of others and to
promote good personal relationship at all levels within an organisation. He shall be aware of the
importance of communication, and shall be able to discuss interrelated problems with members in other
branches of engineering or even the general public and to familiarize himself with the scope of their
activities and their concerns.
In his daily works, there will be ample opportunities for him to communicate with others. At the
planning stage of a project, he has to liaise with other parties on the matters like land resumption,
landscaping and utility diversion. He has to hold meetings frequently to tackle the interfacing problems
between these parties during the construction stage. Besides, public consultation has to be sought before
the project can be proceeded. Through this process, the civil engineer has to present the project to the
public through District Board meetings and to answer any questions/queries bring up by the District
Board members. Therefore, it is important for him to equip himself with presentation and communication
skills even when he is newly Chartered.
3.

Rules for Professional Conduct

A Chartered civil engineer shall also observe the rules for professional conduct which are given in
the ICE publication. He shall understand the importance of adhering to these rules of conduct and their
meaning in relation to his everyday work. He shall also at all times so order his conduct as to uphold the
dignity and reputation of the Institution and act with fairness and integrity towards all persons with whom
his work is connected and towards other members.
A civil engineer should have acquired a clear understanding of his responsibilities to his employer,
his colleagues, other engineers and the community at large. He shall also be equipped with the need to
exercise sound judgement and to accept responsibility and to develop his abilities to the best advantages
of the profession.
4.

Conclusion

The basic expertise described above are all important to a newly Chartered civil engineer for his
career development in civil engineering field. To achieve these basic expertise, a graduate engineer must
be posted in a responsible position for him to become Chartered.

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