This document reviews three career episodes that take place in three universities, which are located in different cities of the UAE: Dubai, Ajman, and Sharjah. In these career episodes, I performed the role of a civil engineer and was responsible for developing and implementing a number of construction projects. Thanks to this experience, I was able to develop my skills in the engineering, leadership, project management, and communication.
- In the first career episode that took place in the Union Contracting Company LLC, I was responsible for designing new environmental elements for a community clinic, fire station, and service block. Due to the successful project completion, I have developed an ability to deal with the issues related to the negative impact on the environment that is caused by the construction process. Also, I have closely studied features of the bioretention systems, which can be effectively used in the stormwater treatment.
- The second career episode took place at the University of Sharjah and was related to the development of a sustainable sewage system, which was based on the gravity. I have studied the features of the gravity sewage system and become able to deal with the key issues of the gravity-flow sewer systems: the inflow and infiltration. Finally, I have also studied how to utilize the Low Impact Development and Water Sensitive Urban Design approaches in practice.
- The third career episode also took place at the University of Sharjah and regarded designing a Residential and Commercial building with Multi-storey. In this project, I employed the bioretention systems methodology, the use of which was justified by its low cost and high efficiency in the stormwater treatment. Additionally, I developed a drainage system that as integrated with the environment by the utilization of water sensitive design elements and proposed a road design that could be integrated with this drainage system.
Consequently, participating in these three projects has become an important element of my professional experience. I have not only put into practice my theoretical knowledge but also developed my communication and leadership skills. Thereby, I become able to deal with the practical issues related to the civil engineering and provide efficient solutions in complicated and challenging situations.
Career Episode 1
(c) Personal Engineering Activity
CE 1.1 While working as a Civil Project Engineer at the Zabeel Community Clinic, I was responsible for designing a staircase for the building. Instead of the wooden staircase, which was located in the clinic hall, I offered a design of a staircase with wooden sheets and aluminum channel. Thus, while designing a staircase, I considered the following general guidelines. First of all, I understood that it was necessary to provide large widths of the stair since I was working on a staircase for a public building. Secondly, I realized that the tread and riser dimensions should be similar for the consistent building floors. Thirdly, I considered the minimum vertical headroom above any step to be 2 m. Finally, I limited the number of risers in a flight to twelve.
CE 1.2 In the context of the design sustainability, I faced several geometric design issues. These issues were related to the necessity to maximize the level of safety, comfort, and economy efficiency while ensuring the minimum negative impact on the environment. Thus, the first problem I faced was a low slope of the existent long-run staircase. The key element of this issue is the depth of each step in the direction of travel. In order to provide the best possible stair design, I decided to increase the rise and add more steps to a platform. Additionally, since the total rise was more than 12 feet, I chose to create an intermediate stair platform.
CE 1.3 Further, during the project implementation, I faced an issue that was associated with the existent construction of the building. Since the neighbor plots had been already constructed, it was impossible to cast the slab concrete with the pump. Thereby, I addressed the concrete supplier for a piece of advice; thus, he recommended using a setup of a mechanical concrete distributor. In our project, we utilized the Mechanical Distributor RV 10, which was useful for distributing concrete to places, in which the stationary concrete booms faced some significant technical or economic limitations.
CE 1.4 Additionally, in order to ensure the most appropriate environmental-friendly design for buildings, which combined the landscape design with architecture, I asked for the landscaping advice, as well. After various consultations, I decided to offer mounting rooftop solar panels on the top of the building. Since Dubai is located in a sunny climate, constructing solar panels would help save money paid for electricity in the long run. Despite high costs of this green solution, it was forecasted that this environment design could even allow the company to earn additional money from selling the excess energy to the local community.
CE 1.5 Furthermore, in my project, I offered to use the bioretention systems, which would help in providing the efficient stormwater management. These systems are based on planting vegetation on the soil bed, which ensures the stormwater filters before being used in other building systems. It is crucial because the use of the bioretention can help remove various water pollutants. Moreover, in the context of a landscape, they are flexible in the size, appearance, and shape, which make them a perfect solution for the buildings, which are already constructed. Thus, I recommended integrating these bioretention systems in the outside space of the clinic and fire station land. Such step would not only help in creating an attractive spot near the community building but also allow using the collected stormwater for non-potable purposes. For instance, in combination with the stormwater harvesting system, the collected water could be used for flushing toilets and the landscape irrigation. Finally, I offered to choose specific plant species with the low and medium vegetation height, which were especially useful for urban areas.
CE 1.6 Just like in most cases, my project also faced several constraints that related to the economic, environmental, and social features of the working environment. In other words, these constraints can be defined as those constructing forces that limited the performance of my project. The first type of such issues, which I had realized at the very beginning of the project planning, included economic constraints. They were related to the budget limit, which restricted some effective but costly solutions. It is evident that the best possible design solution requires significant inputs. However, due to the budget limit, it was impossible to implement all elements of the project. Thereby, some appropriate options were rejected due to the lack of available financial funds. Furthermore, during the project implementation, the project team noticed that money was not effectively allocated; in such a manner, some unnecessary or too costly materials were bought. Thereby, this constraint had a considerable negative effect on the project performance, as well.
CE 1.7 Environmental constraints of the project related to the noise control and developing relationships with the city administration. First of all, due to the fact that some apartment houses were located around the clinic, noisy reconstruction works caused certain dissatisfaction among their tenants. Moreover, in order to ensure the justification of the project, it was necessary to get approval from the local Environmental Department. As a result, acquiring this approval and debating with the Environmental Department managers took much time and suspended the project implementation.
CE 1.8 Since many people were involved in the project implementation, social constraints also appeared. In the case of the chosen facilities, some members of the staff that were engaged in the working relationships in these buildings started to complain. Their complaints were based on the evidence that such significant changes in the design of these buildings were not necessary. Moreover, these employees stated that the design initiative was not beneficial for appropriate working conditions, as we supposed, and it took money from more important expenditures. These constraints affected the adoption of green technologies (including solar panels) rather negatively; as a result, these elements of the project were eliminated due to their high costs.
CE 1.9 During this project, I was engaged in various calculating procedures. One of them was based on calculating materials for the production of required amount of concrete. Thus, in order to calculate the absolute volume of fully compacted fresh concrete (VC), I used the following formula:
Where W is the mass of the water: C is the mass of cement: Fa is the mass of fine aggregates, and Ca is the mass of coarse aggregates, while Sc, Sfa, and Sca are specific gravities of cement, fine aggregates, and coarse aggregates respectively.
CE 1.10 Strategy, which I offered to implement at the Zabeel Community Clinic, Fire station, and Service Block, could be easily integrated into the Dubai urban strategy. Due to the fact that one of the key elements of the urban strategy was based on developing a sustainable urban design, my project, which also offered rationale solutions for civil buildings, could become an integral element of the city design. Indeed, my strategy provided a significant contribution to the development of environmentally-friendly urban areas, which also ensured a necessary response to the rapid urbanization and increased environmental consequences of the same.
CE 1.11 During the project development and implementation, I paid close attention to safety concerns and the risk management. I realized that the design that I was to offer should be based on the appropriate risk assessment and hazard identification. Ensuring these elements will allow minimizing injury risks not only at the construction stage but also after its completion. Thereby, I implemented the safety design of all project components, including facilities, energy controls, configuration, equipment, materials, hardware, systems, products, and layout. In order to prevent any diseases and injuries, I considered various hazards at early stages of the design process. Thus, I focused on the safety of those people, who were working on the following project sectors: the construction, operation, cleaning, and demolishing, for example. This strategy helped me to reduce the risks that arose during the life cycle of the building at the beginning of designing the project. Finally, it also allowed improving the usability of building structures and project productivity, as well as and reducing the costs.
CE 1.12 After attending the Risk Management and Safety in Design workshops, I became able to distinguish common risk areas, which might occur during the project development. Thus, the first risky areas that I distinguished included the facilities and equipment. In my project, I had to consider the risk of inadequate planning for long lead items and vendor support. Further, at the design stage, I tried to avoid using any exotic materials; it was necessary for achieving appropriate objectives of the project performance. Moreover, it was necessary to make the project design cost effective, since the budget limits were crucial. Further, at the early stage of the project development, I used various tests and simulations in order to address every major performance specification. All necessary performance specifications were used in the development of the test procedure, which allowed for the early detection of any potential problem. One of the key project risks was a non-realistic and non-attainable schedule, which I had developed before professional consultations. In order to avoid this problem, I consulted more experienced engineers and developed a clear schedule that reflected the realistic planning. Finally, management systems also caused various risks to the project implementation. It can be explained by the fact that, at the beginning of the project implementation, it was necessary to develop and adequately manage various essential elements of the strategic development, such as the project mission, and technologies that were to be used, as well as testing and evaluation of results, which I had firstly missed.
CE 1.13 Different specialists reviewed my project, especially at the stages of its planning and development. Following their suggestions, I developed the final concept of the project. Thus, it focused on developing a sustainable design for three facilities: a community clinic, fire station, and service block. The offered design solutions were based on several principles. The first principle was the human safety. According to it, I critically evaluated each step of the project in order to ensure that at all stages of the project implementation and after its ending, people would be in safety. The second principal was the economic efficiency. According to this principle, I realized that, since the project budget was limited, I had to ensure the maximum possible project efficiency and lowest costs. Thereby, I tried to maximize the utility of materials and sources used in the project, while ensuring the minimum possible price. The third principle was the provision of environmentally-friendly solutions. Since the city of Dubai had focused sustainable technologies in developing its urban areas, I paid much attention to the implementation of green solutions in the project framework.
Career Episode 2
(c) Personal Engineering Activity
CE 2.1 My project, which I developed for the University of Sharjah, was divided into two parts. The first part of the project was based on designing the local and main streets for the AL Salam City. As a result of implementing this part, the traffic movement in the city was supposed to become more smooth and easy. The second part of the project focused on designing a brand-new and highly efficient drainage system for the city. In order to make the drainage system more economically efficient and environmental-friendly, I used the effects of gravity in my design. Finally, in order to maintain the high quality of the project, all pipelines, manholes, and road base were also constructed.
CE 2.2 For the purpose of the project, I made several hydraulic calculations. They helped me clearly analyze existent features of designing a new sewage system, which was to be based on the effects of gravity. I made these calculations in order to ensure that the added hydraulic load would be adequately processed. The results of these calculations also allowed making a new sewage system economically efficient and ensure that its costs would be as low as possible. Thereby, the agreed minimum nominal diameter of sewers was DN 200 (8″) for the sanitary sewers, DN 250 (10″) for the rainwater sewage, and DN 300 (12″) for the combined sewage pipes. The minimum self-cleaning velocity was 0.7 m/s; it was calculated by the following formula:
Where γ is a specific weight of water, the value of which is 9810 N/m3; Rh is a hydraulic radius, and i is a conduit slope.
CE 2.3 The next equation was used by me for calculating the minimum slope of sewers, which allowed protecting the appropriate velocity (self-cleansing):
Where d is a diameter, and i is a minimum slope of sewers. I also paid particular attention to the fact that the minimum slope for pipes depended on their diameter, while the maximum one depended on their material. Thereby, according to the provided calculations, the minimum slope for the sanitary sewers was to be 1%; for the rainwater, sewage was 0.8%, and for combined sewage pipes, it was 0.6%. On the other hand, the maximum slope for pipes made of cast iron was 40%; for pipes made of plastics, it was 25%, and for pipes made of vitrified clay and concrete, it was 15%.
CE 2.4 While developing a model for preliminary calculations of gravity sewers, I utilized the following methodology. First of all, I calculated the gravity sewers velocity (V) with the help of the Manning’s Equation of gravity:
Where n is the Manning’s coefficient (0.013); Rh is the hydraulic radius, and S is a slope of the energy grade line.
However, during the project development, I have faced several problems related to the uneven area, which was chosen for the construction of a new sewage system. It caused specific issues in calculating the velocity, flow, and depth.
CE 2.5 Further, in order to calculate the correct flow, first of all, I found the total drainage area (F):
Where fi is a fragmentary drainage area, which belongs to the chosen segment.
The calculated value of the total drainage area allowed me to find the size of an individual sewage outfall (qj) by the following formula: Where Qhmax is the maximum hourly sewage flow.
After finding the size of an individual sewage outfall, I calculated the flow size of the given segment of a sewer system (Qodc) with the help of the following equation:
Finally, the necessary project calculation was to find the pipe size, Qobl. For this purpose, I doubled the computational sewage amount: Where Q0 is a computational sewage amount.
CE 2.6 One of the key issues regarding calculations was to find an answer to the question of how to ensure the smooth flow by maintaining the slope of a pipeline in the uneven territory. For this purpose, I have the brainstorming technique. On the base of its results, I decided to create nodal points in line with heavy-duty lift pumps equipped with smart sensors. As a result, the velocity was significantly increased.
CE 2.7 Since the sustainable sewage system design was based on supporting the natural eco-system, its development in the area of the Al Salam City should have several positive effects on the general environment of the city. First of all, it would help save the energy that was used for the sewage system activity. Secondly, this system was less expensive as compared with the conventional one. The advantage of a sustainable sewage system over the traditional one lied in the fact that it utilized plastic pipes with a significantly smaller diameter. Consequently, it allowed reducing costs of collecting and transporting the wastewater to its final destination. On the other hand, constructing a sewage system based on gravity required significant changes in the landscape, since it was to be implemented for the already developed areas. It is also assumed, that during the construction period, some negative impacts on the water, air, and acoustic environment would exist. However, these impacts would be temporal and local, and they would be utilized immediately after the end of the construction .
CE 2.8 Additionally, one of the most significant issues that are associated with the gravity-flow sewer systems are the inflow and infiltration. In order to reduce costs and the inflow/infiltration component into such systems, I offered the following measures. First of all, it was necessary to reduce the number of manholes. Secondly, continuous welded PE pipes and wider spacing between manholes had to be used. Thirdly, I recommended reducing the peak flows; it helped increase the efficiency of pumping stations and decrease the level of the power consumption.
CE 2.9 In my project, I focused on the Low Impact Development (LID) and Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) approaches. These approaches are usually used in the urban design and focus on using sustainable management of the water cycle, especially the stormwater in developing city amenities. I decided to use these approaches in my project in order to ensure the high protection of the water quality and associated aquatic habitat. Additionally, I developed several technical solutions, which helped me to provide an effective response to the sustainable water management issues.
CE 2.10 One of the attracting methods of implementing the LID and WSUD approaches, which I offered, was the rainwater harvesting. This method is based on developing underground and aboveground water cisterns that are to be used for the water supply. In the case of the Al Salam City, I recommended incorporating these water storage systems into the city landscape and develop city fountains and pools.
CE 2.11 Indeed, in order to deliver the best option of the water sensitive drainage elements for the landscape, I included some bioretention systems in the design. They are used for removing pollutants (for example, suspended solids, nutrients, metals, hydrocarbons, and bacteria) from the stormwater. As multifunction facilities, they can be used both for the water treatment (for example, filtering pollutants out of the stormwater), and for the development of beautiful urban landscapes. For instance, due to their versatility, bioretention systems can be designed as planter boxes for collecting the water from aboveground areas.
CE 2.12 Finally, I asked for consultations with the landscape specialists in order to ensure that my project would rely on the appropriate urban design. According to their responses, I added swales and buffer strips to the landscape in addition to the bioretention system. The implementation of swales into the city landscape was recommended as a necessary step towards ensuring an effective water filtering and sediments collection. On the other hand, buffer strips were recommended for the use in the pre-treatment process in combination with the bioretention. Due to their use, it would become possible to slow down the water and ensure a sustainable water distribution.
Career Episode 3
(c) Personal Engineering Activity
CE 3.1 One of my key tasks in the project developed at the University of Sharjah in 2012 was providing the maximum treatment based on the land footprint area that was available for chosen facilities. For this purpose, I utilized the methodology that was based on using bioretention systems. I think that these systems are among the best stormwater management practices, which can be used for the efficient water treatment. As compared to the traditional sand filters, this treatment option has a number of advantages. For instance, bioretention systems provide efficient water treatment mechanisms, including absorption, filtration, and biological uptake that is provided by plants. Thereby, due to their multiple treatment mechanisms, bioretention systems are able to provide a better water treatment. Additionally, as compared to the sand filters, bioretention systems have a better appearance and create a beautiful landscape. Moreover, they are more efficient and cost-effective and can be easily embedded in the existent landscape. Finally, there is no need for any special maintenance of such bioretention systems. Thereby, for the purpose of my project, the bioretention systems could be easily implemented in the existent landscape of the Residential and Commercial building with Multi-storey. For instance, in order to remove pollutants from the collected stormwater, I proposed to plant trees, grasses, shrubs, etc. around the building.
CE 3.2 Further, the project also included the development of permanent aeration basins. These basins were places for the secondary treatment process, in which the waste water underwent the biological treatment. In these basins, some air was added to the wastewater; it allowed ensuring the biodegradation of components that polluted the water. Thus, during this process, microorganisms were used for treating the water. For instance, the activated sludge process that took place in these basins was responsible for the biological removal of Phosphorus and bacteria. Thereby, using aeration basins in the water treatment process was a necessary element of the stormwater management, which also provided an economically efficient and rapid water treatment.
CE 3.3 For the purpose of the project, I developed a drainage system that was integrated with the environment through the use of some water sensitive design elements. As compared to other existent types of drainage systems, this one was simple in terms of construct and easy in maintenance. Moreover, it had a significantly lower price due to chip components that were used in it. Thus, I offered to implement a Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) approach, which developed integrative strategies for the economic, ecological, cultural, and social sustainability. The WSUD implementation would allow minimizing the use of traditional drainage systems, encouraging infiltration and stormwater reuse. This approach used the following types of the water treatment: wetlands cross pollutant traps, infiltration trenches, porous paving, rain gardens, rainwater tanks, sediment basins, and swales. In the case of the Residential and Commercial building designing, I chose the following water sensitive treatment types. First of all, I proposed to develop a water sensitive car park. In its design, pavers or reinforced grass were used as substitutes for the traditional impervious surfaces. Further, in order to collect and transfer the stormwater grass swales as linear, depressed channels were to be used. Moreover, they would also provide the infiltration of the runoff and physical screening of sedimentation (coarse and fine). The features of swales’ work were based on conveying the stormwater and screening and removing gross pollutants. Secondly, sediment basins were to be used as secondary treatment instruments. They treated the water in the following way. After entering the sediment basin, the water fell down under the gravity effect; it pulled the coarse and medium sediment to the bottom. After that cleaner, the water flew through the outlet structure.
CE 3.4 For the purpose of the project, I also developed a road design model based on the integration with a proposed gravity drainage system. I assumed that in order to stay effective throughout its design life, the road drainage system must comply with the two key criteria. First of all, it must allow for a minimum of disturbance of the natural drainage pattern. Secondly, it must drain the water away from the roadway. Further, the water should be dissipated, ensuring that excessive collection of it in unstable areas is prevented. The proposed road drainage system includes the following elements: road structures, outlet and side ditches, culverts, and inner/outer slopes.
CE 3.5 On the inception meeting with the design team, I presented my project. In order to familiarize my project team with the key points effectively, I developed a PowerPoint presentation, in which I covered the following elements: the purpose of the project, its stages, design issues, and constraints related to the project implementation, budget, and schedule. After my presentations, team members were able to ask any questions concerning the project. As a result, we have improved several project elements, for example, the budget and schedule.
CE 3.6 Road design issues and constraints are closely related to ensuring the appropriate level of safety for all road users while constructing the road and using it. Design issues are a result of mistakes in the design project, the wrong interaction between the road design elements, diverging from standards for the road design, and any other accident-related elements. Thereby, it was necessary to implement a Road Safety Audit Methodology. The purpose of this methodology is to ensure that the road design was developed as safely as possible. Additionally, an audit should focus on minimizing possible accidents and improving the awareness of the road safety design. This audit was provided from the road user’s point of view and was carried by the independent engineering experts team that consisted of three people, at least.
CE 3.7 After completing the Road Safety Audit report, the following road safety issues were distinguished. According to the report, the most hazardous issue was related to the existent drainage system. The road audit showed that there were various ditches and side slopes, pipe ends, which were incorrectly maintained drop inlets, culvert ends and headwalls, which are potentially hazardous to the safety of all road users. A poor drainage system causes problems with the traffic safety, which are based on the aquaplaning and ice. For example, the water may accumulate on the road in ponds; as a result, during the rain, cars may aquaplane on them, which creates emergency situations on the road for both pedestrians, and light and heavy vehicles, cyclists, motorcycle riders, and other road users. Thereby, a new efficient road drainage system should be designed in order to drain the road and ensure it is free from standing water.