Project managment

Some early tasks for the resident engineer

At the end of the first week the resident engineer will no doubt find that he already has a number of tasks to do. If bulk excavation is about to start it will be essential to take levels of the natural ground over the site where the excavation is to take place, if these levels are not already available in sufficient detail. This is urgent work, for there will be no chance later of finding what the natural ground levels were and the calculations for quantities of excavation would then be largely ‘intelligent guesswork’ or agreement will have to be sought on bill quantities, which may differ from the true quantity excavated. If the contractor has taken his own levels over the site and the resident engineer has let pass the opportunity of checking them, he will be in no position to argue against the contractor’s figure for the excavation.
It may not be sufficient to rely on ground levels shown on the contract drawings because these may be based on interpolation of published contoured maps of the area. Where such contours originate from aerial photography they can be a metre in error because they may reflect the top of vegetation rather than the soil level.
Another early task is to carry out and agree with the contractor the state of existing buildings which might be affected by construction of the contract works, and the state of approach roads to the site. This is essential so that any claims for compensation for damage can be decided properly. In this survey sets of photographs of existing cracks or damage, as well as general views, form an important part.
The resident engineer must see that all productive top-soil is stripped and stacked separately for later re-use. All amounts of soil should be so stacked, even that taken off areas for the site offices, since there is often a lack of soil at the end of the job. The question of disposal of excavated material will have to be considered. In many countries there is now increasing control over what materials may be disposed of to landfill and these need to be borne in mind when agreeing with the contractor what to do with unwanted excavated materials.
The next task the resident engineer may need to do, if he has not done it already, is to check the delivery times for any equipment or materials to be supplied under other contracts or by the employer, such as the supply of pipes and valves. On overseas jobs there may be many separate contracts for the supply of materials. All these separate supply contracts have to be checked in detail to ensure that nothing has been missed.

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