Basic Knowledge for Site Engineers

site engineers

As a site engineer, it is important to have a basic understanding of various aspects related to construction and project management. Here are some key areas of knowledge for site engineers:

1. Construction Methods and Techniques: Familiarize yourself with different construction methods, techniques, and materials used in building projects. Understand the basics of structural systems, foundation types, and construction sequencing.

2. Building Codes and Regulations: Learn about local building codes and regulations that govern construction practices in your area. This includes understanding safety standards, zoning requirements, and environmental regulations.

3. Construction Drawings and Documentation: Develop the ability to read and interpret construction drawings, including architectural, structural, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) drawings. Understand construction specifications and other project documentation.

4. Quality Control and Assurance: Learn about quality control procedures and techniques to ensure that construction work meets the required standards and specifications. This includes conducting inspections, testing materials, and resolving quality issues.

5. Construction Health and Safety: Understand the importance of safety on construction sites and be familiar with relevant health and safety regulations. Learn about hazard identification, risk assessment, and implementation of safety measures.

6. Project Management: Gain a basic understanding of project management principles, including project planning, scheduling, and budgeting. Learn about project delivery methods, contract administration, and communication with stakeholders.

7. Quantity Surveying and Estimation: Develop knowledge of quantity surveying techniques, including measurement, cost estimation, and bill of quantities preparation. Understand pricing methods and factors that impact construction costs.

8. Construction Equipment and Machinery: Familiarize yourself with the various types of construction equipment and machinery used on site. Understand their capabilities, limitations, and safety requirements.

9. Building Services and Utilities: Learn about building services, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and fire protection systems. Understand their design principles and coordination with other trades.

10. Environmental Considerations: Be aware of environmental considerations in construction, such as sustainable building practices, waste management, and energy efficiency.

Remember, this is just a basic overview, and as a site engineer, you will continuously learn and develop your knowledge and skills through hands-on experience and ongoing professional development.

In Addition, here are some useful typical information Site Engineers must remember.
  • Water to be used for construction should not have pH value less than 6.
  • Underground utilities should be accessed prior to excavation works by means of trial pits/trenches or underground scanning.
  • Over excavation should be back filled with mass concreting.
  • Concrete should be allowed to set thoroughly for at least 48 hours before any subsequent placement of structural concrete.
  • Concrete should be placed in its final position within 90 minutes when the cement was first came in proximity with water or wet aggregates.
  • If for unseen reason it becomes necessary to stop concreting before completion of the pour, then construction joints should be formed and further concreting should be suspended for at least 24 hours.
  • Free fall of concrete should not be more than 1.5m.
  • Back filling shall be compacted 95% of dry density at the optimum moisture content and in layers less than 200mm for filling.
  • Always avoid cutting and chasing of hardened concrete surface.
  • Concrete should be compacted using internal vibrators only.
  • Electrical conduits should not run through column.
  • Minimum curing period is 7 days. However it is always suggested to cure the structure for 21 days.
  • All concrete surfaces in contact with soil should be covered with bitumen paint and polythene or by the method specified in specifications.
  • Steel to be used should be free from rust, oil and paint. Rebar should always be stacked minimum 200mm above ground by using wooden battens and should be covered by polythene when not in use.
  • Maintain minimum nominal cover to reinforcement while fixing steel rebar;
    • Foundations – 50mm earth faces, 50mm to other faces
    • Raft – 75mm
    • Pedestals/Grade beam – 50mm (Internal), 40mm (External)
    • Beams, Lintels – 30mm (Internal), 40mm (External)
    • Columns – 40mm
    • Parapets – 40mm
    • RCC walls – 40mm, 50mm (External)
    • Slabs – 30mm (Internal), 40mm (External)
  • Weight of rebar is calculatad by the formula Ld2/162.28. L – Length of bar, d – Diameter of bar.
Rebar diameter in mmWeight in kg/m
  • Lap Lengths in steel rebar of dia less than 36mm.
    • Tension zone – 60xD(dia. of bar)
    • Compression zone – 40xD(dia. of bar)
Size of bar (mm)Lap Length (mm): TensionLap Length (mm): Compression
  • Binding wire should be 1.6mm black annealed steel wire.
  • Hooks, bends and anchorage should be as follows;
    • 90° bend plus an extension of 12d but not less than 300mm.
    • Semi-circular turn plus an extension of at least 4d but not less than 65mm.
    • Ties and stirrups or link anchorage only either a 90° or 135° turn plus an extension of at least 6d but not less than 65mm.
  • Dowels rod minimum of 12 mm dia should be used.
  • Chairs minimum of 12 mm dia bars should be used at maximum spacing of 1no per meter or per square meter.
  • Lap slices shouldn’t be used for bar larger than 36 mm. Rebar can be joined with rebar coupler.
  • Masonry walls of height more than 5m should have band/intermediate beam at every 3m.
  • Length of parapet wall should not be more than 20m.
  • Length of boundary wall should not be more than 6m.
  • Wall ties should be provided for every 3rd course of brick or blockwork.
  • Interconnection of concrete and masonry should be reinforced with expanded metal or fabric mesh prior to plastering.
  • Minimum thickness of plastering should be as follows unless specified;
    • Internal walls – 12mm
    • External walls – 15mm
    • Soffit of slab  – 6mm
  • Formed surface should have following finish types;
    • Faces – Superior quality
    • Side face or raft – Plain smooth
    • All other formed surface – Fine smooth
  • Exposed edged of concrete should be chamfered.
  • Window sill should be sloped outward and parapet walls to be inward.
  • Minimum bearing of lintels should be;
Clear Span Size (m)Wall WidthLintel WidthLintel Depth
>2.5 but <4.0200200400
>2.5 but <4.0300300400
>4.0 but <6.0200200400
>4.0 but <6.0300300400
  • Minimum stripping off/deshuttering time for RCC members should be as follows;
    • Walls, columns and vertical faces of structural members – 1day
    • Removal of props beneath slab and beam soffit spanning up to 4.5 m – 7days 
    • Removal of props under beams and arches spanning up to 6 m – 14days 

The information provided here may not be valid for all projects. Engineers are always advised to study the IFC (Issued for construction) drawings for structural and finishing details prior to commence any construction activity at site in order to avoid the errors.


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