Sample Engineering Paper on Civil Engineering: Effective management within engineering, ethical and sustainable considerations

1.     Introduction

Civil engineering is a complex industry with complex projects that require active management that adopts the required ethical standards and works towards achieving company sustainability. In recent years businesses in civil engineering are compromising social, economic, and environmental growth with its prosperity (Silvius and Schipper, 2014). They are seen as a significant threat to human health and significant environmental pollutants. This makes them be seen as a significant source of current social, economic, and ecological problems.

Engineering management has a crucial role to play in overseeing business projects. Engineering managers, contractors, and subcontractors need to adopt a business mindset that nurtures empathy for end-users of their products. They need to ascertain bottlenecks that could disrupt a project or program and establish ways of solving problems. Project managers and engineers work hand in hand to ensure the sustainability of the project by developing sustainable projects. They are tasked with a duty to integrate sustainable ideas that do not compromise the lives of the other stakeholders Silvius and Schipper, (2014). The project ensures the realization of sustainable business practices; therefore, the concept of sustainability must ensure management understands the social, environmental, and economic impact of the projects.

While the management’s focus is mainly on delivering the project results, they need to take responsibility by ensuring sustainable development for both the organization and the society or the environment where the project is running and the economic impact. Coordinating activities related to project management and involving the stakeholders increases the possibility of achieving stakeholder satisfaction that possesses essential resources needed for the survival of the project.

 

1.1 Aim

This is a final project that intents to link the engineering management responsibilities to the ethical practices and sustainable considerations that ensure the right of all stakeholders are observed through providing efficient management in all levers of operation. Also, the paper advances on the finding presented on the project proposal to offer an in-depth understanding of aspects that contribute to project success for civil engineering projects, especially contraction projects.

1.2 Objective

Since this paper is a progression of the project proposal findings, it offers advanced objective as listed below;-

  • How management in civil engineering contribute to innovation in construction projects
  • Aspects that contribute to the sustainable project and how mapping them contribute to shared value creation
  • Workplace safety issues, social and environmental risk affecting effective management in construction projects.
  • How management sustainability contribute to potential performance in engineering competitiveness

2.     Methodology

The project is based on general information from previous data gathered and analyzed by the former researcher. Its main aim is to elaborate on the project proposal findings and provide an in-depth overview of some of the issues affecting the sustainable implementation of civil engineering projects. Also, to analyze how their contribution and impact on the society, economy, and environment, and how management can mitigate them by linking these aspects to ensure growth and sustainability.

3.     Discussion and findings

3.1 Management of projects and innovation within the engineering industry 

Engineering industries are vast, and they play a significant role in the current society, especially in the current technologic trend where modernization is crucial in all projects being developed; this makes decision making in this industry essential, involving and demanding. Due to the complexity in the industry and projects requires, the construction industry is said to have the highest number of fatal injuries. This calls for innovative approaches that aim to prevent or reduce the rates of accidents (Ghasemi et al., 2015). Frontline and site workers are prone to accidents, and management needs to provide measures to mitigate risks and disasters. Therefore, frequent assessment of frontline employee’s safety will help in reducing hazards and incidents. More so, construction industries have been blamed for the damage they leave after the project’s completion. Managing such complex operation, solving arising problems while ensuring operational performance, and business success and growth required good management ethics, approaches, and responsiveness.

The complexity of civil engineering necessitates the management’s need to address the technical issues and sustainability problem that requires them to integrate, adapt, and participate in ensuring sustainability (Halbe et al., 2015). The ideas of paradigms in addressing sustainable development issues are crucial in understanding the organization’s role in community participation.

Innovative decisions in construction contribute to the safety of the workers and society. Investment decisions made by managers on any investment determine the project activities, processes, services, and the environment (Domnina et al., 2016). These should consider the ecological and economic facets of any construction activities; to ensure sustainability in economic development (Mottaeva, 2016). By investing in an innovative environment and commercial components, the management will attain a friendly environment that allows economic and social development in society, creating a favorable atmosphere for human life and the ecosystem. Effective management decisions contribute to risk-based approaches that map project and stakeholder activities to produce innovation in projects. And work on eliminating risk exposures.

3.1.1 Mapping social, ecological, and economic aspects to create shared value (CSV)

Mapping the financial benefit of the company with other stakeholders is something the management in the civil engineering and construction industry should focus Conducting business with the focus of sharing economic rewards with the stakeholders’ generate shared value creation is a challenge to most companies. This has made communities lose trust in civil engineering and construction projects; this is because businesses in civil engineering escalate the set regulations and misconstrue the development agenda (Harvey and Bice, 2014). For bussinesses to gain the community trust, the management should conduct social impact assessment (SIA) and social development programs (SDPs) to understand the community’s needs and the impact of its operation and maintain applicable roles and responsibilities.

Companies have failed to understand the importance of meeting client needs, their influence, and how they determine businesses’ long term success (Porter and Kramer, 2019). That is why most civil engineering activities have weakened and exploited natural resources where communities and suppliers operate. Also, businesses are shifting operations to local areas where there is cheap labor to attain sustainable growth while exploiting the society in the name of cheap labor. These practices are affecting communities and the environment, whereas the management is striving for profitability and competitive advantage. For the companies in civil engineering to prosper, they need to develop and serve communities and map their competitive edge with social issues that improve society’s welfare.

Also, management needs to understand that businesses’ performance does not solely depend on economic performance, but there other factors such as environmental and social aspects that contribute to the growth (Sinthupundaj and Kohda, 2019). Thus, managers should develop a link between the business and the society to attain its sustainability. Companies are a primary economic driver in the community; they create employment and provide other services to the organization, like infrastructure, sewerage, among others. At the same time, society influences how the business will achieve its economic growth and performance provision of labor and a favorable environment (Motilewa et al., 2016). This creates a win-win situation where the business will have to contribute to the social wellbeing of the stakeholders, and they will, in turn, contribute to business growth. Therefore, management should take social and environmental responsibility as part of management duties rather than an external obligation.

 

3.1.2 Developing a business model that links various stakeholders

In the current business environment, creating and maintain a profitable business and maintaining long term relationships requires managers to adopt customer relationship management (CRM) strategies (Jocovi et al., 2014). The adoption of CRM enables the organization to collect information within the company, from debtors, suppliers, and the surrounding environment. It also helps the organization understand the issues that might affect the business and make decisions on how to offer unique services to the clients. Setting a good relationship with stakeholders enables a company to achieve a competitive advantage.

While sustainable developments are underscored, and the demand for constructing modern buildings is increasing, building modern construction without negatively impacting the process of modernization or compromising solution is a challenge that management should address (Šiožinytė et al., 2014). Choosing effective project management decisions needs managers to evaluate the performance of the number of standards applicable to construction. The number of several policies and standards makes most of the management under look and miss some processes necessary for the successful project outcome. This calls for proper planning and implementation.

Multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) will be a reliable tool (Rabbani et al., 2014). As (Rabbani et al., 2014) advice, evaluation concepts involve multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) and sustainability balanced scorecard (SBSC) that ensure growth. For this reason, management should do an expert assessment, which creates appropriate technologies necessary to attain sustainable growth. It will enable a company to integrate its technical operations to the stakeholder values. These management tools are useful in analyzing the stakeholders’ needs, assessing, and improving the company infrastructure (Kabir et al., 2014). So, offering environmental protection during and after completion of construction building requires the segregation of wastes or recycling to provide ecological protection (Iqbal et al., 2015). Environmental pollution has become something that is impacting society and the ecosystem. Developing a resource-efficient solution and waste management systems increase business value and contribute to sustainability.

Managements have to assess the business’s internal and external operations, define the situations or issues affecting the company and its stakeholders, and develop approaches to solving. Developing sustainable and innovative solutions increases business-society relationships and make it simpler for business to link its operation with the stakeholders.

3.2 Ethical and sustainable considerations in building constructions

Businesses are receiving a lot of pressure to ensure sustainability in their operations. This calls for companies to adhere to social, economic, and environmental sustainability aspects that create value to the environment and society they are operating in (Bocken et al., 2015). Managing a sustainable project requires managers to observe ethical standards when developing products and control processes within all stakeholders as they aim to maintain organization ethics and policies (Marcelino-Sádaba et al., 2015). These processes are linked to economic, social, and environmental sustainability, contributing to the performance of the project. Therefore, the management needs to manage organizations’ time, budget, and quality, and also consider how social, environmental, and economic aspects will impact the business Silvius and Schipper (2014). Also, while management focus is mainly on controlling business operation and delivering structured results, they need to be flexible in their activities, get involved in taking responsibility for sustainable growth in the society.

 

 

Figure 1: Dimensional outlines of managing a sustainable project

Source: (Marcelino-Sádaba, et al, 2015).

The type of leadership in the contraction industry is a vital aspect that impacts safety in the organization. Safety leadership and performance requires a management relationship will all project stakeholders. Management should work hand in hand with contractors and subcontractors dimensions to ensure a safe environment (Wu et al., 2016). Also, management should develop knowledge-based safety measures to provide workers’ safety. These three safety leadership influences the level of protection in the organization, safety culture, and stakeholders’ safety. According to Wu et al., (2016), safety leadership has a top-down influence that ensures safety measures are undertaken by the top management and transferred to the frontline workers. Therefore, leadership should be in the frontline to provide the safety that necessitates the wellbeing of all stakeholders.

Management needs to understand that building environment is an edge where both society and ecosystem interact and influence each other (Zavadskas et al., 2018). That means for the business to attain sustainability, it needs to collaborate with other stakeholders or supply chain players (Pero et al., 2017). Management should work at creating stakeholder relationships and will all persons involved in the supply chain. Therefore, the first business should ensure economic sustainability through the provision and production of goods at the lowest cost. Secondly, avoiding overexploitation of resources to attain environmental sustainability and lastly, providing sustainable systems like adequate provision of social amenities will result in social sustainability. These features create a healthy relationship and contribute to business growth and performance.

Application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) models and its practices are developed daily to match technological advancement. Most of the constructions are taking the current technical designs and strategies, and BIM has not been left out. As (Sun et al., 2017) has cited management need technical skills to manage projects that adhere to laws and standards in the industry. The adoption of BIM requires improved management approaches that are aimed at strengthening the relationship with stakeholders. Implementation of BIM enables collaboration between stakeholders and hence improving project performance.

 

3.2.1 Factors limiting the implementation of sustainable constriction of projects

The managements have to ensure sustainable constriction (SC) because they have the influential role of linking other stakeholders and ensuring growth in the business. Therefore they have the discretion to operate the company as they think right (Gan et al., 2015). They do influence performance, project processes, and implementation. Thus their decisions profoundly affect the project outcome. Some of the factors that hinder business owners and management from adopting sustainability are legislation, economic feasibility, and government regulations.

Also, there are other factors that affect the implementation of a successful project that is directly related to the project management practices; include management actions, project processes, human actions and considerations, external factors such as community contributory, government regulations and factors related to the projects (Alias et al., 2014). As noted, these factors are highly dependent on the management perspective and actions.

Some researchers have cited that construction activities and natural catastrophe contribute in no small number of massive actions that help to waste materials (Menegaki and Damigos, 2018). According to Menegaki and Damigos (2018), activities such as construction and demolition wastes (CDW) contribute to 35% of the landfills, and in most cases, they are never treated. Although some of these wastes are recycled, their effects are still felt by society and ecosystems.

As stated, construction projects are complex and require more in-depth understanding or project processes, budgeting and wide-ranging work, and a large number of implementers, which contribute to different results and make some projects be terminated with losses to the company or accidents (Zavadskas et al., 2014). The complexity of the project makes it hard for management to evaluate or measure the problems, which becomes a challenge to the administration when safeguarding business sustainability.

The management and stakeholder practices fail to connect well with the implementation of BIM; this is because there is increasing resistance to change in the industry. Most small construction businesses are reluctant to change from the traditional practices to adopting BIM and related new technologies (Olawumi, et al., 2018: Enshassi, et al., 2019). Also, there is a lack of social networking approach that can link stakeholders with projects, which leads to difficulty in implementing sustainable projects.

BIM is technically limited to current technologies and is not able to test the human factors involved in the process, restricting the use of BIM-knowledge-based management systems (Zou et al., 2017). Therefore, it requires the addition of more features like support features that monitor process development, that are compatible with the new technologies and improved implementation and processes methods. Additionally, most developing countries fail to implement BIM effectively in that they lack standards useful for its implementation. Besides, managers and workers lack the necessary knowhow and BIM awareness, which makes them tend to resist its application hence contributing to poor results.

3.3 Risk management techniques, protective and corrective measures

Construction materials are the major causes of environmental pollution and risks, thus managing their risks contribute to economic and ecological benefit to the society and the organization. For this reason, management should work on managing construction materials and wastes to prevent pollution. Therefore, developing control measures and material management techniques will contribute to the sustainability and health of the shareholders (Gulghane and Khandve, 2015).

Also, for risk management to be a success, different stakeholders need to be involved. For this reason, businesses need to include risk management as part of the construction employee training and offer the necessary support to ensure effective implantation. Management should ensure they implement risk management systems (IRMS) in place (Reza Hosseini, et al., 2016). Additionally, according to Reza Hosseini, et al., (2016), poor planning or execution of the project process, and conflict in interest challenge managers when implementing risk measures. More so, lack of enough project funding and human resources limit the efforts of the management to achieve sustainable and risk-free projects.

Risk identification, understanding the source risk, and the cause will enable management to incorporate the uncertainty in the management process and mitigate it early (Smith et al., 2014). It allows the management to assess and analyze the risk or risky areas and build up data that is useful and applicable for future risk management and mitigating measures.

Risk management in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) is fundamental in attaining project objectives (Zou et al., 2017). Failure to manage risks may influence land-use problems from the society and government, as well as future designs in the urban areas; thus, the need for the use of BIM to support project development processes since it’s useful in managing risks.

To balance the levels of economic, environmental, and social aspects, management needs to integrate these aspects to ensure sustainability. To integrate the three dimensions, the administration needs to properly plan for project practices and work on developing managerial controls, risk response measures, and be work consensus (Yu et al., 2018).

3.4 How management sustainability can achieve high potential performance and competitive advantage

Sustainability in construction contributes to the business success in that management can analyze the businesses’ current position concerning resources allocated to projects and strategically plan needed to ensure sustainable project development (Tan et al., 2015). Thus, where the management has high sustainability performances, they are most likely to attain high growth. In contrast, sustainability performance becomes an opportunity that is assumed to be a competitive advantage to the firm.

Additionally, international constrictors face challenges arising from political risks. Therefore, the management should develop political risk management (PRM) systems to help them evaluate such a chance when the company is an international contraction enterprise (ICE). Such projects have high ranked variables, for example, political risks, localization, and contractor misconduct, among others (Deng et al., 2014). So, where the management for PRM is faced with such challenges, the decisions made to correct those outcomes can be used to provide a competitive advantage and for the business to survive in politically risky construction markets.

Firm’s attitudes towards economic, social, and environmental features contribute to the quality relationship between stakeholders, which helps to improve firm performance and support community development hence change their perspective toward the business operation (Chang et al., 2018). The positive attitude towards sustainability is linked to better sustainability performance, and it results in a competitive advantage for the firm.

Ensuring effective management is vital in handling matters concerning construction, making decisions that favor all stakeholders, maintaining ethical standards, and upholding company operational standards.  As Šiožinytė et al. (2014) cited, sustainable development emphases in modern construction requires effective management that will influence performance. It is fundamental for civil engineering companies to ensure effectiveness in control, especially when it comes to attaining business sustainability, ethical and sustainable consideration in their operations.

The company can adapt to restrictions relating to economic, social, and environmental aspects where the management has high sustainability in terms of market, industry, resource, and institutional-based plans. These make the administration to be aware of conditions that may affect the business (Lloret, 2016). Also, attitude towards changes that contribute to the business growth makes business improve on market restrictions, develop strategies that increase shared value to stakeholders, and promote sustainable practices that help to competitive advantage.

 

3.3.1 Construction site safety for workers and the public

The trend of incidents in the construction industry is growing annually in developing countries. Management should assess the technical risk issues in construction sites and attend to them by adhering to safety measures (Amiri et al., 2017). Conducting risk assessment frequently ensures responsibility in reducing occupational risks. Though various models support safety in the construction fuzzy QRAM model, according to Amiri et al. (2017) research, QRAM seems to assist businesses in ensuring that they take responsibilities are aimed at reducing work-related safety risks (Pinto, 2014).

However, despite the considerable improvement by the construction industries to reduce risk at the work area, the efforts are limited to the fact that the operations are complex and natures of activities involved are massive (Sousa et al., 2015). Also, the costs involved when implementing safety measures are becoming increasingly because the market is becoming very competitive with new technologies. Despite these challenges, management should note that they have a role to play in ensuring safety and implementing safety measures through the implementation of safety policies.

According to Sousa et al. (2015), controlling and monitoring safety issues are fundamental, and businesses should adhere to the safety regulations. This limits the exposure, and it’s useful since adherence to safety regulation minimizes costs involved during after the accident or incident. Training staff on safety measures and implementing safety policies on construction sites reduces the exposure to employees and society.

4.     Recommendations and conclusion

4.1 Recommendations 

The adoption of green building technologies has contributed to environmental sustainability. If development constructions could develop holistic thinking and decision-making to achieve more innovative solutions, they will have enhanced durability and will result in mutual benefit to all stakeholders (Sim and Putuhena, 2015). This will contribute to enhanced capacity development and improve environmental quality governance and sustainability in society. It will also enable the management to identify the gaps between developing sustainable projects and ensuring a friendly and sustainable environment that contributes to sustainable projects.

Companies are striving to maintain social responsibility and failing to focus on shared value creation and well-being of all stakeholders (Porter and Kramer (2019): Wójcik, 2016). The management needs to understand that shared value is more of ensuring social responsibility and sustainability, but a better way of attaining economic success. Therefore, there is a need for transformational thinking by the management to understand the businesses’ impact on the society and environment and to connect the dots to ensure economic sustainability, value creation, and meeting interest for all stakeholders without compromise some aspects.

Risk management has proved to be a big challenge to most organizations, and minimizing these risks requires all stakeholders (Reza Hosseini et al., 2016. However, where there is not enough financing to fund projects and implement risk and safety measures, management should identify effective measures that ensure safety, such as identifying risk areas early enough, using contingency policies, or optimizing the utilization of the available resources.

 

 

4.2 Conclusion

Attaining sustainability requires the management to involve different stakeholders who have different interests in the business. Management should play the role of mapping stakeholders’ interest with the companies’ goals while observing company objectives. Sustainability involves three critical aspects that the industry must consider and develop projects that improve the well-being of each part in those aspects. Economic, social, and environmental elements highly contribute to the competitive advantage of the business, betters performance, and increased growth, where the management’s attitude towards those aspects is positive and where the project is developed with their consideration.

Civil engineering projects are very complex and risky. For this reason, proper training of the personnel involved in the project development as well as ensuring safety measures are employed contributes to the success of the projects. Safety measures are useful in attaining sustainable and appropriate solutions that improve ethical standards. It is the management’s responsibility to ensure safety measures are put in place; they adhere to government regulations and support sustainability. Management needs to note that proper management of risk contributes to better performance and project results, hence the company’s growth. Therefore, management is critical in ensuring sustainability and company growth and project development in civil engineering.

 

 

References

Silvius, A.J. and Schipper, R.P., 2014. Sustainability in project management: A literature review and impact analysis. Social Business4(1), pp.63-96.

Enshassi, M.A., Al Hallaq, K.A. and Tayeh, B.A., 2019. Limitation Factors of Building Information Modeling (BIM) Implementation. The Open Construction & Building Technology Journal13(1).

Reza Hosseini, M., Chileshe, N., Jepson, J. and Arashpour, M., 2016. Critical success factors for implementing risk management systems in developing countries. Construction Economics and Building16(1), pp.18-32.

Sun, C., Jiang, S., Skibniewski, M.J., Man, Q. and Shen, L., 2017. A literature review of the factors limiting the application of BIM in the construction industry. Technological and Economic Development of Economy23(5), pp.764-779.

Yu, M., Zhu, F., Yang, X., Wang, L. and Sun, X., 2018. Integrating sustainability into construction engineering projects: Perspective of sustainable project planning. Sustainability10(3), p.784.

Olawumi, T.O., Chan, D.W., Wong, J.K. and Chan, A.P., 2018. Barriers to the integration of BIM and sustainability practices in construction projects: A Delphi survey of international experts. Journal of Building Engineering20, pp.60-71.

Zavadskas, E.K., Vilutienė, T., Turskis, Z. and Šaparauskas, J., 2014. Multi-criteria analysis of Projects’ performance in construction. Archives of Civil and Mechanical Engineering14(1), pp.114-121.

Menegaki, M. and Damigos, D., 2018. A review on current situation and challenges of construction and demolition waste management. Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry13, pp.8-15.