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Professional Registration Reviews   >   Essay Topics May 28, 2011  
SAICE Essay Topics for Professional Registration  

The current process of registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa has been implemented in January 1998. The ECSA "Discipline-Specific Guidelines for Civil Engineering" of February 2003, Clause 6.5, indicates that two essays will have to be written by candidates:

  • The first essay will be on one of two technical subjects set by the reviewers in the context of the training report and the interview.
  • The second essay will be on one of two topics selected by the interviewers from a list published in advance by SAICE.

Guidance notes for the assessment of essays are set out in the Guidelines for Professional Registration of Civil Engineers, available from the Institution.

The topics for the second essay for 2010 are listed below, and have been approved by the Professional Advisory Committee on Civil Engineering at ECSA:

  1. Referring to your own experience discuss the way in which the resources required for either a design project or a construction contract should be organized and managed in order to ensure that technical objectives are met and that work is completed on time and within budget.
  2. Discuss the most significant influences, attitudes and strategic issues relevant to the total project cycle, ie planning, design, construction and maintenance.
  3. In projects for developing countries emphasis is often placed on the need for transfer of technology. How can this best be achieved in practice?
  4. Discuss the importance of environmental regulations on the design, documentation, and construction of civil engineering projects, use your own experiences to illustrate your argument.
  5. Although failures may be a disaster for the individuals concerned, many have led to advances in theory, design and construction methods. Discuss how failures should be dealt with so as to ensure the maximum benefit to society and the engineering community.
  6. Discuss the opportunities and threats inherent in industrial and infrastructure projects which impact on local communities and the role civil engineers can play in delivering value to society through their involvement in such projects. Use your own experience where appropriate.
  7. Discuss the difference between 'Quality Control ' and 'Quality Assurance'. Discuss the requirements for quality management by clients, designers and contractors, and their respective contributions to the success of a project.
  8. Describe how you have implemented health and safety legislation on the projects you have worked on, and detail what opportunities you think there are for improving health and safety performance.
  9. Discuss the principle of whole life asset management with specific respect to Municipal infrastructure using a single service to illustrate your argument.
  10. Risk is inherent in most civil engineering work. Discuss the ways in which such risks can affect the employer and the contractor, and how they can influence the form of contract and the contract price.
  11. "The estimation of costs of schemes and their budgetary control is one of the key functions of the engineer". Discuss how engineers should be trained to fulfil this function in design and construction?
  12. Identify the areas in which disagreement between a Resident Engineer's staff and the Contractor's staff may develop. How can good relations be achieved between these parties? Illustrate where possible from your own experience.
  13. Describe the authority of the Engineer to delegate decisions to the Engineer’s Representative under the General Conditions of Contract (GCC) 2010. In what circumstances could an Engineer vary the level of delegation during the construction period?
  14. Discuss how the application of ethics in civil engineering projects or contracts should be regulated in order to ensure that the negative impact of corruption and similar practices are eliminated or at least minimised.
  15. Discuss the role that the civil engineering profession has to play with respect to poverty alleviation.
  16. Discuss the impact the Environmental Conservation Act has on the planning, design and construction of a civil engineering project.
  17. Discuss whether the civil engineer of the future should become more of a specialist or a generalist.

E-Mail Dawn Hermanus for more information

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