This semester, I am part of the Capstone project class, where all civil engineering seniors are assigned to a group project pertaining to the design of a building. As Sam mentioned in his “sub-disciplines” blog, each student in the group is assigned a sub-discipline to design for: Structural, Geotechnical, Sustainability/”Green” Design, and Construction Management. I am in a group of five students and I have been assigned the geotechnical work. I may have mentioned in a previous blog that my project is located in San Francisco, California…aka seismic area.. aka this is the biggest design consideration (yikes).
We have had a bit of a setback in productivity with all of these snow day, but our 40% project submission is quickly approaching, so I started to get a big chunk of the work done this week. I have been given a geotechnical packet with soil classification for the site (which makes things easier), and I have found some issues such as: loose soil, wet soil, and very granular/sandy soil. I have been fortunate to take classes with Professor Pamukcu and Suleiman, so I am able to draw practical conclusions from the samples and plan for excavation and foundation design. The biggest concern I have (along with many other students) is my lack of experience in design…and by “lack of experience” I mean, I’ve never design the geotechnical & foundation work for an entire building (which is very scary). I am not really sure how to estimate construction techniques for a seismic area, but I know that a building needs to have a safe foundation to endure an earthquake…so much more research needs to be done about this.
The best part about this project, and the part that alleviates the stress, is that I have a great group who is committed to the project, but also looks out for and supports each other. I’m lucky enough to being graduating with a great group of CivEs, so stressful projects don’t seem like “hard work”; they are enjoyable and exciting.