Core Concepts for the Civil PE Exam:

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PROJECT PLANNING

Soil Classification





Soil Properties


The strength of soil is often determined by the standard penetration test. This measures the resistance to penetration using a standard split spoon sampler which is hit by a 140 lb hammer dropped from 30” high. The number of blows required to drive the sampler 12” after an initial penetration of 6” is referred to as the N-Value.

Permeability of a soil is a measure of continuous voids. The flow rate of water through soil depending on its permeability can be measured by Darcy’s Law:




Concrete Properties


Concrete consists of cement, coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, and water. Additionally concrete may contain admixtures to enhance a certain desirable aspect of the target product. Some properties of concrete include:

Concrete Strength, f’c,: The design compressive strength of the concrete. In general this will range from 3000 to 6000 psi. However strengths can be much higher such as 20,000 psi with proper mixing and additives.

sqrt = square root

Modulus of Elasticity (Normal weight concrete), Ec = 57,000 sqrt(f'c)

Modulus of Rupture or the tensile strength, fr = 7.5sqrt(f'c) While the tensile strength of concrete is ignored in flexure, this is often used in cracking analysis.

Water to Cement ratio, w/c, is the amount of water to the amount of cement in a given mix. In general the w/c ratio is inversely proportional to the strength since the higher amount of cement, the stronger the mix.

Cement Types:

Type I – General use cement. When special properties are not desired Type I can be used.

Type II – Used in areas where sulfate attack is a concern. This is often in areas exposed to groundwater such as drainage structures. Type II will cure at a slower rate and therefore produce less heat than other types and gain strength at a slower rate.

Type III – High early strength concrete. As opposed to type II or IV, a large amount of heat is released quickly and therefore is not suitable for mass-type pours. Type III is used in concrete where rapid strength gain is desirable such as precast concrete.

Type IV – Low heat of hydration. Gains strength slowly and generates a low amount of heat. Often used for mass-pours such as mat foundations or large retaining walls.




Structural Steel


Yield Strength, Fy: Stress at which the steel will yield and begin to cause permanent deformations.

Ultimate Strength, Fu: Stress at which the steel will fracture or fail in brittle behavior.

Modulus of Elasticity, Es = The tendency of a material to deform when subjected to forces. Also is the ratio of stress over strain. Often in structural steel it is assumed to be taken as 29,000 ksi

Ductility: Measure of a materials ability to deform before failure. Ductility is the ratio of ultimate failure strain to yielding strain.

Toughness: The ability to withstand high stresses without fracturing.

Hardness: The ability of a material to resist surface deformation.




Material Test Methods and Spec Conformance


Concrete:

Strength tests: Most often strength is determined by loading cylinders often 6” in diameter to failure and recording the results.

Slump Test: Measure of the consistency and workability of a batch of concrete. A cone about 6” in diameter on the wide end and 12” tall is filled with concrete. The filled cone is placed on the ground and then removed to allow the concrete to naturally disperse. The remaining height and diameter of the concrete mix is measured and recorded.

Steel:

Tensile Test: Axially loading a steel member to recorded the strain in the member as the load increases. From this test the yield strength, ultimate strength, and stress strain curve can be determined. When the applied stress exceeds the yield strength, the member will undergo plastic deformation and the cross sectional area will reduce until the member fractures. This is known as necking.

Fatigue Testing: Fatigue is damage caused by repeated cycles of loading. Even though the stress in fatigue is less than the yield strength of the member, the repetition over a long period of time can cause failure. A fatigue test measures the ability of a member to resist repeated cycles of stress at a given magnitude.

Scratch Hardness Test: Also known as Mohs Test. Compares the hardness of a material to that of minerals. Minerals of known and increasing hardness are used to scratch the sample and results are observed.

Charpy V-Notch Test: Measure of a member’s toughness. A member is given a 45 degree notch and a pendulum is used to hit the opposite side of the member. This is performed at different heights and magnitudes until the member fails.




Compaction


Compaction is the reduction of voids in a mass of soil. The more compacted a mass of soil is, the more stable and stronger it is to support a structure. Compaction is done by placing soil in layers called lifts and using equipment to mechanically apply weight and potentially vibration to the lifts. Some types of compaction equipment are Grid Rollers for rocky soil, sheep foot rollers for cohesive soils, or roller compactors with vibration capabilities for cohesion less soils.

When soil is compacted, the volume decreases. This is referred to as shrinkage. To calculate the compacted volume of a soil mass from its volume in its natural state use the following equation:





Means and Methods

Excavation


The most common method for determining the volume of excavation for cut and fill is the average end area method:

V = L(A1+A2)/2

L = Distance Between Area 1 and 2 (ft)

A1 and A2 = Respective Cross-Sectional Areas (ft2)




Construction Site Layout


Construction sites are surveyed and markers are placed to indicate measurements and control points. These points are designated in the field by the use of stakes. These stakes can be called construction stakes, alignment stakes, offset stakes, grade stakes, or slope stakes depending on what they are meant to indicate. The accuracy of dimensions depends on the intent. Some accuracy requirements are shown below:




Soil Erosion and Sediment Control


During construction activities involving excavation, there can be a significant amount of soil erosion leading to a dispersion of sediment. This needs to be controlled to prevent a negative impact to the surrounding areas. There are a number of options for sediment control:

Silt Fences: Fences consisting of a geotextile fabric and posts which allow the passing of runoff water but will catch the suspended sediment. They will be placed at the bottom of slopes and/or at the perimeter of the job sites at low points.

Hay Bales: Placed at the toe of slopes to help control runoff. Bales should be embedded in the ground and anchored securely with wooden posts.

Erosion Control Fabric: Geotextile fabric used for the control of erosion on steep slopes. Often these are used on piles of excavated material.

Temporary Seeding and Mulch: This involves seeding and mulching slopes to create growth that can control erosion due to the roots holding together soil. This is often used as a permanent measure for cut slopes.

Slope drain: A drain constructed to direct water to a specified area. The drain can be constructed with numerous materials such as plastic or metal pipes and concrete or asphalt. Drains must be properly anchored to resist forces from the flow of water. The outlet often is required to slow the flow of water by using energy dissipaters such as riprap.

Sediment Structure: An energy dissipating structure often made of rocks used to slow the flow of water and catch sediment.

Temporary Berm: A hill constructed of compacted soil to prevent runoff flowing in a specific direction. Berms are placed either at the top or bottom of slopes.

Impact of Construction on Adjacent Facilities

Construction can have a negative effect on surrounding properties and areas. These issues need to be anticipated and mitigated as possible. Some of the concerns include:

Construction Noise: OHSA sets maximum decibel limits on daily sound exposure. In the United States, this is typically 90 dBA for the eight hour noise level

Runoff and Sediment: Construction sites, especially those involving excavation, can change the dynamics of runoff and drainage. See the section on Soil Erosion and Sediment Control for more details.

View: Construction projects often change the landscape of the affected area. This may have an impact on the look and feel of an area. The needs of adjacent properties may need to be considered for these changes.

Rights of Way: Often, land which is not owned by the owner of the project is necessary for the final or temporary conditions. In these cases land needs to be acquired temporarily or permanently to complete the work. The owner of the project and of the land must come to an agreement to allow use of the property

Economic or social impact: Construction during and after may impact the access or desirability of a business or residential area. Consideration should be taken to limit the impacts to businesses or residents. For example, a bridge detour may cut off access to a restaurant which collects patrons mostly from tourists passing the effected route. The owner would then be compensated for the loss of business.




Safety


Safety is extremely important for construction sites. The OSHA CFR 29 Part 1910 and Part 1926: Occupational Safety and Health provides requirements for all types of construction situations and is recommended to use for the exam. Some of the highlights which you should further familiarize yourself with include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements.
  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines.
  • Roadside Safety: Construction sites adjacent to traffic must be sufficiently protected from impact. At higher speeds concrete barriers may be needed also known as temporary precast concrete barrier curbs (TPCBC). At lower speeds it may be acceptable to provide barrels or cones to delineate the work area.
  • Power line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV.
  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. The main aspects are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes.





Soil Mechanics

Dead and Live Load


Dead Loads: Loads which are permanent in the final condition of the structure. Examples include self weight and additional permanent loads (such as pavement). Dead load factors are often lower than other types of loads. This is due to the higher level of reliability being able to predict the magnitude and character of these loads.

Live Loads: Loads which will or may change over time. In general live loads represent pedestrian or vehicle loads. The load factor for live loads is often much higher due to the unpredictability.

In LRFD different types of loads are factored to represent a safety factor based on the reliability of our ability to accurately predict certain loading conditions. If only Dead and Live loads are present, the likely load combination is:

1.2D + 1.6L




Trusses


Trusses are structural members used to span long distances. Trusses are built up by members which are only in axial tension or axial compression. They can be analyzed by the method of joints as illustrated below. Consider the example truss with nodes labeled. To design, the axial force in each member must be determined. If we wanted to find the force in member BD, first like a typical beam, the reactions at A and B can be found by summing forces. Then take a free body diagram of only the joint at A. This is shown below. In summing vertical reactions and since the reaction at A was found, the force in AC can be determined. Then there are only 2 horizontal forces and the force in AB can be found: Then take a free body diagram of Joint B as shown below. Since there are only two horizontal forces, the axial force in member BD can then be determined:

The remainder of the truss can be analyzed similarly.

Zero force members:

When determining how many 0-Force members a truss has, analyze each joint individually as a free body diagram and follow these guidelines:

  1. In a joint with 2 members and no external forces or supports, both members are 0-force
  2. In a joint with 2 members and external forces, If the force is parallel to one member and perpendicular to the other, then the member perpendicular to the force is a 0-force member.
  3. In a joint with 3 members and no external forces, if 2 members are parallel then the other is a 0-force member

All other members are non-zero.




Bending Stress


Bending Stress

Mc/I

M = Applied Moment

c = Distance from the Centroid of the Cross Section to the Desired Location of Stress

I = Moment of Inertia of the Cross Section




Shear Stress


Shear stress at any point along a beam is the shear at that point over the area.

t = V/A

V = Shear at the point of interest

A = Cross sectional area

There is also horizontal shear stress due to bending

Horizontal shear stress t = VQ/Ib

V = Applied Shear Force (kips)

Q = First Moment of the Desired Area = ay.

a = Cross Sectional Area from Point of Desired Shear Stress to Extreme Fiber (in2)

y = Distance from Centroid of Beam to Centroid of Area “a” (in)

I = Moment of Inertia of Beam (in3)

b = Width of Member (in)




Axial Stress


Axial Stress:

P/A

P = Applied Force

A = Cross Sectional Area




Deflection


Deflection is the degree to which an element is displaced under load. Common equations for the maximum deflection of beams can be found in the Beam Chart




Beams


The chart below shows reactions, moments, and max deflections for common beam types:

Shear and Moment Diagrams

Shear and moment diagrams are a graphical representation of the forces applied along the length of a beam. The following rules are used to develop shear diagrams:

-A concentrated force causes a jump In the shear diagram of equal magnitude

-A distributed load causes a line in the diagram with slope equal to the distributed load

-Forces up are positive and down is negative

This is depicted graphically below:

The following are rules for construction of a moment diagram:

-The moment at any point on the graph is equal to the area under the shear diagram up to this point

-An isolated moment causes a jump in the diagram of equal magnitude

-The shear at any point in the beam is equal to the slope of the same point on the moment diagram

-A distributed load will cause a parabolic moment diagram curve




Columns





Slabs


One way slabs:

Slabs are structural elements whose length and widths are large compared to the thickness. Slabs are often used as floors or as foundation elements.

Flexure:

Slabs must be analyzed by simplified methods due to the indeterminacy of a full analysis. The most common of which is to analyze as a 1- foot wide strip and treat the span length as a beam. Transverse reinforcement is necessary to control temperature and shrinkage.

Shear:

Shear in slabs is also determined by taking one foot wide sections to analyze as a beam. However often shear will not control.




Footings





Retaining Walls


Retaining walls are built to facilitate an immediate change in elevation. Some uses are to support roadways or a need for a wide, level area to be formed from a sloping existing grade. Retaining walls are designed to resist lateral loads from active earth pressure (see geotechnical section for computation of these loads) and surcharge loads which is any additional load imposed on the soil above, which when close enough will cause an additional pressure on the load due to the distribution of this load through soil. The stem of retaining walls can be analyzed as a cantilever beam extending vertically from the footing. The footing is composed of the toe which is the portion on the side of the lower elevation of soil and the heel which is portion on the side of the higher elevation of soil. Retaining walls are analyzed on a per foot width:

Moment at base of stem= Mstem=Rahya

Rah = Horizontal Active Earth Pressure per ft Width

ya = Eccentricity of Horizontal Active Earth Pressure

For shear, the critical section is a distance, d, from the base of the stem where d is the distance from the main flexural reinforcement (Heel side) to the extreme compression face (Toe side):

Vstem=Rah





Structural

Dead and Live Load


Dead Loads: Loads which are permanent in the final condition of the structure. Examples include self weight and additional permanent loads (such as pavement). Dead load factors are often lower than other types of loads. This is due to the higher level of reliability being able to predict the magnitude and character of these loads.

Live Loads: Loads which will or may change over time. In general live loads represent pedestrian or vehicle loads. The load factor for live loads is often much higher due to the unpredictability.

In LRFD different types of loads are factored to represent a safety factor based on the reliability of our ability to accurately predict certain loading conditions. If only Dead and Live loads are present, the likely load combination is:

1.2D + 1.6L




Trusses


Trusses are structural members used to span long distances. Trusses are built up by members which are only in axial tension or axial compression. They can be analyzed by the method of joints as illustrated below. Consider the example truss with nodes labeled. To design, the axial force in each member must be determined. If we wanted to find the force in member BD, first like a typical beam, the reactions at A and B can be found by summing forces. Then take a free body diagram of only the joint at A. This is shown below. In summing vertical reactions and since the reaction at A was found, the force in AC can be determined. Then there are only 2 horizontal forces and the force in AB can be found: Then take a free body diagram of Joint B as shown below. Since there are only two horizontal forces, the axial force in member BD can then be determined:

The remainder of the truss can be analyzed similarly.

Zero force members:

When determining how many 0-Force members a truss has, analyze each joint individually as a free body diagram and follow these guidelines:

  1. In a joint with 2 members and no external forces or supports, both members are 0-force
  2. In a joint with 2 members and external forces, If the force is parallel to one member and perpendicular to the other, then the member perpendicular to the force is a 0-force member.
  3. In a joint with 3 members and no external forces, if 2 members are parallel then the other is a 0-force member

All other members are non-zero.




Bending Stress


Bending Stress

Mc/I

M = Applied Moment

c = Distance from the Centroid of the Cross Section to the Desired Location of Stress

I = Moment of Inertia of the Cross Section




Shear Stress


Shear stress at any point along a beam is the shear at that point over the area.

t = V/A

V = Shear at the point of interest

A = Cross sectional area

There is also horizontal shear stress due to bending

Horizontal shear stress t = VQ/Ib

V = Applied Shear Force (kips)

Q = First Moment of the Desired Area = ay.

a = Cross Sectional Area from Point of Desired Shear Stress to Extreme Fiber (in2)

y = Distance from Centroid of Beam to Centroid of Area “a” (in)

I = Moment of Inertia of Beam (in3)

b = Width of Member (in)




Axial Stress


Axial Stress:

P/A

P = Applied Force

A = Cross Sectional Area




Deflection


Deflection is the degree to which an element is displaced under load. Common equations for the maximum deflection of beams can be found in the Beam Chart




Beams


The chart below shows reactions, moments, and max deflections for common beam types:

Shear and Moment Diagrams

Shear and moment diagrams are a graphical representation of the forces applied along the length of a beam. The following rules are used to develop shear diagrams:

-A concentrated force causes a jump In the shear diagram of equal magnitude

-A distributed load causes a line in the diagram with slope equal to the distributed load

-Forces up are positive and down is negative

This is depicted graphically below:

The following are rules for construction of a moment diagram:

-The moment at any point on the graph is equal to the area under the shear diagram up to this point

-An isolated moment causes a jump in the diagram of equal magnitude

-The shear at any point in the beam is equal to the slope of the same point on the moment diagram

-A distributed load will cause a parabolic moment diagram curve




Columns





Slabs


One way slabs:

Slabs are structural elements whose length and widths are large compared to the thickness. Slabs are often used as floors or as foundation elements.

Flexure:

Slabs must be analyzed by simplified methods due to the indeterminacy of a full analysis. The most common of which is to analyze as a 1- foot wide strip and treat the span length as a beam. Transverse reinforcement is necessary to control temperature and shrinkage.

Shear:

Shear in slabs is also determined by taking one foot wide sections to analyze as a beam. However often shear will not control.




Footings





Retaining Walls


Retaining walls are built to facilitate an immediate change in elevation. Some uses are to support roadways or a need for a wide, level area to be formed from a sloping existing grade. Retaining walls are designed to resist lateral loads from active earth pressure (see geotechnical section for computation of these loads) and surcharge loads which is any additional load imposed on the soil above, which when close enough will cause an additional pressure on the load due to the distribution of this load through soil. The stem of retaining walls can be analyzed as a cantilever beam extending vertically from the footing. The footing is composed of the toe which is the portion on the side of the lower elevation of soil and the heel which is portion on the side of the higher elevation of soil. Retaining walls are analyzed on a per foot width:

Moment at base of stem= Mstem=Rahya

Rah = Horizontal Active Earth Pressure per ft Width

ya = Eccentricity of Horizontal Active Earth Pressure

For shear, the critical section is a distance, d, from the base of the stem where d is the distance from the main flexural reinforcement (Heel side) to the extreme compression face (Toe side):

Vstem=Rah





Hydraulics and Environmental

Soil Classification





Soil Properties


The strength of soil is often determined by the standard penetration test. This measures the resistance to penetration using a standard split spoon sampler which is hit by a 140 lb hammer dropped from 30” high. The number of blows required to drive the sampler 12” after an initial penetration of 6” is referred to as the N-Value.

Permeability of a soil is a measure of continuous voids. The flow rate of water through soil depending on its permeability can be measured by Darcy’s Law:




Concrete Properties


Concrete consists of cement, coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, and water. Additionally concrete may contain admixtures to enhance a certain desirable aspect of the target product. Some properties of concrete include:

Concrete Strength, f’c,: The design compressive strength of the concrete. In general this will range from 3000 to 6000 psi. However strengths can be much higher such as 20,000 psi with proper mixing and additives.

sqrt = square root

Modulus of Elasticity (Normal weight concrete), Ec = 57,000 sqrt(f'c)

Modulus of Rupture or the tensile strength, fr = 7.5sqrt(f'c) While the tensile strength of concrete is ignored in flexure, this is often used in cracking analysis.

Water to Cement ratio, w/c, is the amount of water to the amount of cement in a given mix. In general the w/c ratio is inversely proportional to the strength since the higher amount of cement, the stronger the mix.

Cement Types:

Type I – General use cement. When special properties are not desired Type I can be used.

Type II – Used in areas where sulfate attack is a concern. This is often in areas exposed to groundwater such as drainage structures. Type II will cure at a slower rate and therefore produce less heat than other types and gain strength at a slower rate.

Type III – High early strength concrete. As opposed to type II or IV, a large amount of heat is released quickly and therefore is not suitable for mass-type pours. Type III is used in concrete where rapid strength gain is desirable such as precast concrete.

Type IV – Low heat of hydration. Gains strength slowly and generates a low amount of heat. Often used for mass-pours such as mat foundations or large retaining walls.




Structural Steel


Yield Strength, Fy: Stress at which the steel will yield and begin to cause permanent deformations.

Ultimate Strength, Fu: Stress at which the steel will fracture or fail in brittle behavior.

Modulus of Elasticity, Es = The tendency of a material to deform when subjected to forces. Also is the ratio of stress over strain. Often in structural steel it is assumed to be taken as 29,000 ksi

Ductility: Measure of a materials ability to deform before failure. Ductility is the ratio of ultimate failure strain to yielding strain.

Toughness: The ability to withstand high stresses without fracturing.

Hardness: The ability of a material to resist surface deformation.




Material Test Methods and Spec Conformance


Concrete:

Strength tests: Most often strength is determined by loading cylinders often 6” in diameter to failure and recording the results.

Slump Test: Measure of the consistency and workability of a batch of concrete. A cone about 6” in diameter on the wide end and 12” tall is filled with concrete. The filled cone is placed on the ground and then removed to allow the concrete to naturally disperse. The remaining height and diameter of the concrete mix is measured and recorded.

Steel:

Tensile Test: Axially loading a steel member to recorded the strain in the member as the load increases. From this test the yield strength, ultimate strength, and stress strain curve can be determined. When the applied stress exceeds the yield strength, the member will undergo plastic deformation and the cross sectional area will reduce until the member fractures. This is known as necking.

Fatigue Testing: Fatigue is damage caused by repeated cycles of loading. Even though the stress in fatigue is less than the yield strength of the member, the repetition over a long period of time can cause failure. A fatigue test measures the ability of a member to resist repeated cycles of stress at a given magnitude.

Scratch Hardness Test: Also known as Mohs Test. Compares the hardness of a material to that of minerals. Minerals of known and increasing hardness are used to scratch the sample and results are observed.

Charpy V-Notch Test: Measure of a member’s toughness. A member is given a 45 degree notch and a pendulum is used to hit the opposite side of the member. This is performed at different heights and magnitudes until the member fails.




Compaction


Compaction is the reduction of voids in a mass of soil. The more compacted a mass of soil is, the more stable and stronger it is to support a structure. Compaction is done by placing soil in layers called lifts and using equipment to mechanically apply weight and potentially vibration to the lifts. Some types of compaction equipment are Grid Rollers for rocky soil, sheep foot rollers for cohesive soils, or roller compactors with vibration capabilities for cohesion less soils.

When soil is compacted, the volume decreases. This is referred to as shrinkage. To calculate the compacted volume of a soil mass from its volume in its natural state use the following equation:





Transportation

Excavation


The most common method for determining the volume of excavation for cut and fill is the average end area method:

V = L(A1+A2)/2

L = Distance Between Area 1 and 2 (ft)

A1 and A2 = Respective Cross-Sectional Areas (ft2)




Construction Site Layout


Construction sites are surveyed and markers are placed to indicate measurements and control points. These points are designated in the field by the use of stakes. These stakes can be called construction stakes, alignment stakes, offset stakes, grade stakes, or slope stakes depending on what they are meant to indicate. The accuracy of dimensions depends on the intent. Some accuracy requirements are shown below:




Soil Erosion and Sediment Control


During construction activities involving excavation, there can be a significant amount of soil erosion leading to a dispersion of sediment. This needs to be controlled to prevent a negative impact to the surrounding areas. There are a number of options for sediment control:

Silt Fences: Fences consisting of a geotextile fabric and posts which allow the passing of runoff water but will catch the suspended sediment. They will be placed at the bottom of slopes and/or at the perimeter of the job sites at low points.

Hay Bales: Placed at the toe of slopes to help control runoff. Bales should be embedded in the ground and anchored securely with wooden posts.

Erosion Control Fabric: Geotextile fabric used for the control of erosion on steep slopes. Often these are used on piles of excavated material.

Temporary Seeding and Mulch: This involves seeding and mulching slopes to create growth that can control erosion due to the roots holding together soil. This is often used as a permanent measure for cut slopes.

Slope drain: A drain constructed to direct water to a specified area. The drain can be constructed with numerous materials such as plastic or metal pipes and concrete or asphalt. Drains must be properly anchored to resist forces from the flow of water. The outlet often is required to slow the flow of water by using energy dissipaters such as riprap.

Sediment Structure: An energy dissipating structure often made of rocks used to slow the flow of water and catch sediment.

Temporary Berm: A hill constructed of compacted soil to prevent runoff flowing in a specific direction. Berms are placed either at the top or bottom of slopes.

Impact of Construction on Adjacent Facilities

Construction can have a negative effect on surrounding properties and areas. These issues need to be anticipated and mitigated as possible. Some of the concerns include:

Construction Noise: OHSA sets maximum decibel limits on daily sound exposure. In the United States, this is typically 90 dBA for the eight hour noise level

Runoff and Sediment: Construction sites, especially those involving excavation, can change the dynamics of runoff and drainage. See the section on Soil Erosion and Sediment Control for more details.

View: Construction projects often change the landscape of the affected area. This may have an impact on the look and feel of an area. The needs of adjacent properties may need to be considered for these changes.

Rights of Way: Often, land which is not owned by the owner of the project is necessary for the final or temporary conditions. In these cases land needs to be acquired temporarily or permanently to complete the work. The owner of the project and of the land must come to an agreement to allow use of the property

Economic or social impact: Construction during and after may impact the access or desirability of a business or residential area. Consideration should be taken to limit the impacts to businesses or residents. For example, a bridge detour may cut off access to a restaurant which collects patrons mostly from tourists passing the effected route. The owner would then be compensated for the loss of business.




Safety


Safety is extremely important for construction sites. The OSHA CFR 29 Part 1910 and Part 1926: Occupational Safety and Health provides requirements for all types of construction situations and is recommended to use for the exam. Some of the highlights which you should further familiarize yourself with include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements.
  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines.
  • Roadside Safety: Construction sites adjacent to traffic must be sufficiently protected from impact. At higher speeds concrete barriers may be needed also known as temporary precast concrete barrier curbs (TPCBC). At lower speeds it may be acceptable to provide barrels or cones to delineate the work area.
  • Power line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV.
  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. The main aspects are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes.





Materials

Soil Classification





Soil Properties


The strength of soil is often determined by the standard penetration test. This measures the resistance to penetration using a standard split spoon sampler which is hit by a 140 lb hammer dropped from 30” high. The number of blows required to drive the sampler 12” after an initial penetration of 6” is referred to as the N-Value.

Permeability of a soil is a measure of continuous voids. The flow rate of water through soil depending on its permeability can be measured by Darcy’s Law:




Concrete Properties


Concrete consists of cement, coarse aggregate, fine aggregate, and water. Additionally concrete may contain admixtures to enhance a certain desirable aspect of the target product. Some properties of concrete include:

Concrete Strength, f’c,: The design compressive strength of the concrete. In general this will range from 3000 to 6000 psi. However strengths can be much higher such as 20,000 psi with proper mixing and additives.

sqrt = square root

Modulus of Elasticity (Normal weight concrete), Ec = 57,000 sqrt(f'c)

Modulus of Rupture or the tensile strength, fr = 7.5sqrt(f'c) While the tensile strength of concrete is ignored in flexure, this is often used in cracking analysis.

Water to Cement ratio, w/c, is the amount of water to the amount of cement in a given mix. In general the w/c ratio is inversely proportional to the strength since the higher amount of cement, the stronger the mix.

Cement Types:

Type I – General use cement. When special properties are not desired Type I can be used.

Type II – Used in areas where sulfate attack is a concern. This is often in areas exposed to groundwater such as drainage structures. Type II will cure at a slower rate and therefore produce less heat than other types and gain strength at a slower rate.

Type III – High early strength concrete. As opposed to type II or IV, a large amount of heat is released quickly and therefore is not suitable for mass-type pours. Type III is used in concrete where rapid strength gain is desirable such as precast concrete.

Type IV – Low heat of hydration. Gains strength slowly and generates a low amount of heat. Often used for mass-pours such as mat foundations or large retaining walls.




Structural Steel


Yield Strength, Fy: Stress at which the steel will yield and begin to cause permanent deformations.

Ultimate Strength, Fu: Stress at which the steel will fracture or fail in brittle behavior.

Modulus of Elasticity, Es = The tendency of a material to deform when subjected to forces. Also is the ratio of stress over strain. Often in structural steel it is assumed to be taken as 29,000 ksi

Ductility: Measure of a materials ability to deform before failure. Ductility is the ratio of ultimate failure strain to yielding strain.

Toughness: The ability to withstand high stresses without fracturing.

Hardness: The ability of a material to resist surface deformation.




Material Test Methods and Spec Conformance


Concrete:

Strength tests: Most often strength is determined by loading cylinders often 6” in diameter to failure and recording the results.

Slump Test: Measure of the consistency and workability of a batch of concrete. A cone about 6” in diameter on the wide end and 12” tall is filled with concrete. The filled cone is placed on the ground and then removed to allow the concrete to naturally disperse. The remaining height and diameter of the concrete mix is measured and recorded.

Steel:

Tensile Test: Axially loading a steel member to recorded the strain in the member as the load increases. From this test the yield strength, ultimate strength, and stress strain curve can be determined. When the applied stress exceeds the yield strength, the member will undergo plastic deformation and the cross sectional area will reduce until the member fractures. This is known as necking.

Fatigue Testing: Fatigue is damage caused by repeated cycles of loading. Even though the stress in fatigue is less than the yield strength of the member, the repetition over a long period of time can cause failure. A fatigue test measures the ability of a member to resist repeated cycles of stress at a given magnitude.

Scratch Hardness Test: Also known as Mohs Test. Compares the hardness of a material to that of minerals. Minerals of known and increasing hardness are used to scratch the sample and results are observed.

Charpy V-Notch Test: Measure of a member’s toughness. A member is given a 45 degree notch and a pendulum is used to hit the opposite side of the member. This is performed at different heights and magnitudes until the member fails.




Compaction


Compaction is the reduction of voids in a mass of soil. The more compacted a mass of soil is, the more stable and stronger it is to support a structure. Compaction is done by placing soil in layers called lifts and using equipment to mechanically apply weight and potentially vibration to the lifts. Some types of compaction equipment are Grid Rollers for rocky soil, sheep foot rollers for cohesive soils, or roller compactors with vibration capabilities for cohesion less soils.

When soil is compacted, the volume decreases. This is referred to as shrinkage. To calculate the compacted volume of a soil mass from its volume in its natural state use the following equation:





Site Development

Excavation


The most common method for determining the volume of excavation for cut and fill is the average end area method:

V = L(A1+A2)/2

L = Distance Between Area 1 and 2 (ft)

A1 and A2 = Respective Cross-Sectional Areas (ft2)




Construction Site Layout


Construction sites are surveyed and markers are placed to indicate measurements and control points. These points are designated in the field by the use of stakes. These stakes can be called construction stakes, alignment stakes, offset stakes, grade stakes, or slope stakes depending on what they are meant to indicate. The accuracy of dimensions depends on the intent. Some accuracy requirements are shown below:




Soil Erosion and Sediment Control


During construction activities involving excavation, there can be a significant amount of soil erosion leading to a dispersion of sediment. This needs to be controlled to prevent a negative impact to the surrounding areas. There are a number of options for sediment control:

Silt Fences: Fences consisting of a geotextile fabric and posts which allow the passing of runoff water but will catch the suspended sediment. They will be placed at the bottom of slopes and/or at the perimeter of the job sites at low points.

Hay Bales: Placed at the toe of slopes to help control runoff. Bales should be embedded in the ground and anchored securely with wooden posts.

Erosion Control Fabric: Geotextile fabric used for the control of erosion on steep slopes. Often these are used on piles of excavated material.

Temporary Seeding and Mulch: This involves seeding and mulching slopes to create growth that can control erosion due to the roots holding together soil. This is often used as a permanent measure for cut slopes.

Slope drain: A drain constructed to direct water to a specified area. The drain can be constructed with numerous materials such as plastic or metal pipes and concrete or asphalt. Drains must be properly anchored to resist forces from the flow of water. The outlet often is required to slow the flow of water by using energy dissipaters such as riprap.

Sediment Structure: An energy dissipating structure often made of rocks used to slow the flow of water and catch sediment.

Temporary Berm: A hill constructed of compacted soil to prevent runoff flowing in a specific direction. Berms are placed either at the top or bottom of slopes.

Impact of Construction on Adjacent Facilities

Construction can have a negative effect on surrounding properties and areas. These issues need to be anticipated and mitigated as possible. Some of the concerns include:

Construction Noise: OHSA sets maximum decibel limits on daily sound exposure. In the United States, this is typically 90 dBA for the eight hour noise level

Runoff and Sediment: Construction sites, especially those involving excavation, can change the dynamics of runoff and drainage. See the section on Soil Erosion and Sediment Control for more details.

View: Construction projects often change the landscape of the affected area. This may have an impact on the look and feel of an area. The needs of adjacent properties may need to be considered for these changes.

Rights of Way: Often, land which is not owned by the owner of the project is necessary for the final or temporary conditions. In these cases land needs to be acquired temporarily or permanently to complete the work. The owner of the project and of the land must come to an agreement to allow use of the property

Economic or social impact: Construction during and after may impact the access or desirability of a business or residential area. Consideration should be taken to limit the impacts to businesses or residents. For example, a bridge detour may cut off access to a restaurant which collects patrons mostly from tourists passing the effected route. The owner would then be compensated for the loss of business.




Safety


Safety is extremely important for construction sites. The OSHA CFR 29 Part 1910 and Part 1926: Occupational Safety and Health provides requirements for all types of construction situations and is recommended to use for the exam. Some of the highlights which you should further familiarize yourself with include:

  • Excavation Safety: Except for excavations in rock, anything deeper than 5 ft must be stabilized to prevent cave-in. This may be achieved by providing appropriate earth retention systems or sloping at appropriate rates. This is determined by the depth of excavation, soil type, and other requirements.
  • Fall protection: Drop-offs must be protected from fall based on the height of the drop. Some examples of protection include temporary fences, nets, or lifelines.
  • Roadside Safety: Construction sites adjacent to traffic must be sufficiently protected from impact. At higher speeds concrete barriers may be needed also known as temporary precast concrete barrier curbs (TPCBC). At lower speeds it may be acceptable to provide barrels or cones to delineate the work area.
  • Power line Hazards: For power lines which are electrified, all construction activities must be a minimum distance from the lines. This is based on the voltage of the lines. Typically the safe operational distance is 10 ft. for lines less than 50 kV and typically 35 ft. for lines greater than 50 kV.
  • Confined Spaces: Anyone required to enter confined spaces must be appropriately trained and equipped. Oxygen must be monitored and kept at an acceptable level.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Equipment required by any personnel present on a job site. The main aspects are acceptable head protection and steel toed shoes.





 
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