Understanding Proposals In the Construction Industry

A typical stereo type of Civil Engineers is that they do not know how to effectively write. Eleven weeks into my Technical Communications class, we have conferred on a number of quality aspects that can be used in any career. From the basis of proper Technical Communications to creating effective infographics, the understanding of communicating effectively is crucial in any career field. Being a Civil Engineering student at RIT with a future career in the heavy highway industry, the most important aspect of this class has been the understanding of proposals.

When it comes to bidding proposals in the construction industry, it is crucial to understand how they are written, whom they are addressing and ensure that they are directed to the proper audience. Being the basis for most State and Federal job bidding, these “Solicitations”, are made to gain potential bidders. When a potential contractor looks at a solicitation they would expect to see a number of things like, a general description of the work, bidding documents (General to specific), and the jobs plans (if applicable). If a contractor were not to understand this proposal or if the proposal were not created adequately enough, that could cause both a loss of work or cost the contractor of government moneys.

Thankfully the semester is not over and there are plenty more concepts to grasp a general understanding of in my Technical Communications class. For any person who has hopes in pursuing a career in the construction industry, it is crucial to comprehend the idea and concept behind proposals. Through the content, I have learned in this Technical Communications class I have learned how to comprehend and compose a proper proposal.

Composed by,
Chris O’Brien


Going Up!

Being a Civil Engineering Tech major, it only made sense to do my infographic on something pertinent to, well, Civil Engineering. And what do civils do? We build things! So here it is, the list of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world (which are either already built or are under construction.) Since I  was unable to use one of the provided online resources to put the idea in my head on to the big screen, I used Adobe Photoshop to add the gradient background with clouds as well as to isolate the towers from their original images. It’s not perfect, but hey I’m no graphic designer. Hope you all enjoy it!

-Garrett Maynard

High Speed Rail for Chicago and the Midwest

High speed rail is a technology that has been used around the world to allow people to commute between major cities, saving time and money over flying or driving. It has been proven to work in cities all over Europe, such as Paris to London and Madrid to Barcelona. The average travel time is just over 2 hours, allowing for people living in and around one city to commute to another to work. This works better than air travel or driving, as the added time waiting in security, along with the added cost makes air travel not nearly as convenient as rail. Driving might be cheaper than rail, but unfortunately it is not possible to work while driving.

So what does high speed rail mean for the Midwest?

It means that someone could live in Detroit and commute to Chicago, or use Chicago as a way to get to other major cities nearby, like Minneapolis. This could jumpstart the Midwest’s economy, possibly bringing the Midwest back into being a major production center of the United States, and potentially the world. However, there are a number of issues with bringing high speed rail to the Midwest, such as: getting the funding together would be an issue, making sure that the rail system is profitable or at least able to run without losing money, and having it run on time with more reliability than airlines.

Is this possible? Sure it is. Is it likely to happen? Not any time soon.

– Connor Butcka


“Microwavable” Self-Repairing Asphalt

One of the largest issues with our current infrastructure is our roadways. Asphalt roadways are cheap to construct, however they degrade much quicker than concrete roadways. Because of the porosity of asphalt, weather has a much greater effect on it especially during the winter months. This degradation has become one of the most time consuming and costly expenses of infrastructure maintenance.

The blog post which I have decided to report on was Benefits and Constraints of “Self Repairing” Asphalt by Robert Dechant with ‘Thoughts on the Engineering Industry. In this post, he talked about a man named Erik Schlangen who has been working on designing a new form of asphalt which integrates steel wool into the mix design.

The benefits of this new mix are that a vehicle fitted with induction coils could drive over the roadway, quickly heat the new asphalt mix, and drive on. When the mix is heated it molds back together, sealing up any cracks that exist on or beneath the surface and re-smoothing the surface. This would save thousands of dollars in both labor and material costs, as well as saving time of commuters in busy areas like cities.

As much as this is a great idea, there are a few things that Robert says need to be researched further. The new asphalt mix needs to be capable of maintaining large vehicle loads over extended periods time like current asphalt designs. If the new steel wool mix is incapable of maintaining large loads, it could ultimately become more costly than continuing to pave and maintain roadways the same way we have been for the last few years.

One thing that I would like to emphasize on that Robert did not mention in his blog post is the possible environmental impact of this new mix design. If we could use one layer of asphalt that would repair its self over a long period of time instead of constantly re-paving roads, we could significantly reduce the environmental impact of our roadways.

I will personally be looking further into this new technology, and would advise any other civil engineers to as well.

-Garrett Maynard