Introduction to Design for Civil Engineers

Introduction to Design for Civil Engineers

Our aim in writing this book is to bring out the broad issues affecting all design.
We have not attempted to provide prescriptions, formulae or recipes to solve
particular problems. These can all be found in codes, manuals and other books.
We have instead concentrated on the factors affecting design and the process
undertaken. Engineering education tends to be a compartmentalised learning of
different techniques. The main missing link is the appreciation of the purpose
behind these techniques, and the context of their application. We have tried to
illustrate the all-pervasive nature of design.
The book is particularly aimed at young engineers and undergraduates. We
hope that we have kindled their curiosity, so that students feel that their studies
are purposeful. We believe that this in turn will allow the students to derive more
from their curriculum. It is hoped that the book will enable them to appreciate the
bigger picture, and how many of the skills they had acquired in a disparate fashion
can be brought to play in a constructive manner.
The book has been a pleasure to write, and our hope is that it contributes to the
understanding of the creative activity that is design.

major objective of design is to avoid failures; most of this book is indirectly concerned
with introducing the methods used for ensuring that failures do not occur.
There are, in fact, a number of different types of failure and, before entering into
the study of these methods, it is essential to understand the differences between
We shall start by considering failure in its broadest sense and illustrate this by a
story related to one of the authors by his father, who was for many years concerned
with construction in various parts of the world. The supply of water to an industrial
plant for which his company acted as consultant required the construction of
a water tower in order to provide sufficient water pressure at the plant. The tower
had to be fairly tall and was to be built of reinforced concrete. A small local contractor
was given the job of building the tower. He had no mechanical equipment
and the concrete was all mixed by hand and taken to the tower in baskets carried
on the heads of women.


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