You are on page 1of 64

ESCUELA UNIVERSITARIA POLITCNICA

La Almunia de Doa Godina


Zaragoza

DEPARTAMENTO DE LENGUA INGLESA

CIVIL ENGINEERING
INGLS TCNICO
4 curso

English for Civil Engineering

U1

A career in Civil Engineering

1 Thinking of a Career in Civil Engineering?


Begin Building Your Future Now
Do you enjoy solving problems and putting your ideas into action?
Are you curious about how things work and how to make them better?
Are you interested in improving the environment?
Are you socially aware and interested in helping people live better?
Civil engineering is ideal for you if you're socially aware and interested in working with people to solve problems
and meet challenges.
Civil engineering is about community service, development, and improvement. It involves the conception, planning,
design, construction, and operation of facilities essential to modern life, ranging from transit systems to offshore
structures to space satellites. Civil engineers are problem solvers, meeting the challenges of pollution, traffic
congestion, drinking water and energy needs, urban redevelopment, and community planning.
Consider a career in civil engineering and help build a better future... for yourself and for the world we live in. Civil
engineers may be found through the workplace in a variety of functions. Aside from traditional engineering firms,
you may work with utility companies, telecommunication businesses, consulting firms, or even toy and athletic
equipment manufacturers. A civil engineering degree can lead you to a career in industry, government, computers,
law, or medicine. It's your choice!
Construction Engineering
As a construction engineer, you will be a builder of our future. The construction phase of a
project represents the first tangible result of a design. Using your technical and management
skills, you will help turn designs into reality -- on time and within budget. You will apply your
knowledge of construction methods and equipment, along with principles of financing, planning,
and managing, to turn the designs of other engineers into successful facilities.
Environmental Engineering
The skills of environmental engineers are becoming increasingly important as we attempt to
protect the fragile resources of our planet. Environmental engineers translate physical, chemical,
and biological processes into systems to destroy toxic substances, remove pollutants from water,
reduce non-hazardous solid waste volumes, eliminate contaminants from the air, and develop
groundwater supplies. In this field, you might be called upon to resolve problems of providing
safe drinking water, cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous materials, cleaning up and preventing air
pollution, treating wastewater, and managing solid wastes.
Geotechnical Engineering
Almost all of the facilities that make up our infrastructure are in, on, or with earth materials, and
geotechnical engineering is the discipline that deals with applications of technology to solve
these problems. Examples of facilities in the earth are tunnels, deep foundations, and pipelines.
Highway pavements and many buildings are supported on the earth. And earth dams, levees,
embankments, and slopes are constructed with the earth. In addition, many soil-like waste
materials are deposited in containment areas. To design these facilities, geotechnical engineers must conduct
analyses based on the principles of mechanics and mathematics. These analyses require input data to quantify the
properties of the earth materials, and this information is usually obtained from laboratory or field tests.
Structural Engineering
As a structural engineer, you will face the challenge of analyzing and designing structures to
ensure that they safely perform their purpose. They must support their own weight and resist
dynamic environmental loads such as hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards, and floods. Stadiums,
arenas, skyscrapers, offshore oil structures, space platforms, amusement park rides, bridges,
office buildings, and homes are a few of the many types of projects in which structural engineers
are involved. You will develop and utilize knowledge of the properties and behaviors of steel, concrete, aluminium,
timber, and plastic as well as new and exotic materials. To make certain that the plans are being followed, you will
often be on the construction site inspecting and verifying the work.
English for Civil Engineering

Transportation Engineering
Because the quality of a community is directly related to the quality of its transportation system,
your function as a transportation engineer will be to move people, goods, and materials safely
and efficiently. Your challenge will be to find ways to meet the increasing travel needs on land,
air and sea. You will design, construct, and maintain all types of facilities, including highways,
railroads, airfields, and ports. An important part of transportation engineering is to upgrade our
transportation capability by improving traffic control and mass transit systems, and by introducing high-speed trains,
people movers, and other new transportation methods.
Urban Planning
As a professional in this area, you will be concerned with the full development of a community.
Analyzing a variety of information will help you coordinate projects, such as projecting street
patterns, identifying park and recreation areas, and determining areas for industrial and
residential growth. To ensure ready access to your community, coordination with other
authorities may be required to integrate freeways, airports, and other related facilities. Successful
coordination of a project will require you to be people-oriented as well as technically knowledgeable.
Water Resources
Water is essential to our lives, and as a water resources engineer, you will deal with issues
concerning the quality and quantity of water. You will work to prevent floods, to supply water
for cities, industry and irrigation, to treat wastewater, to protect beaches, or to manage and
redirect rivers. You might be involved in the design, construction, or maintenance of
hydroelectric power facilities, canals, dams, pipelines, pumping stations, locks, or seaport
facilities.

1.1 Match the following projects to its corresponding area of civil engineering.
transit systems

offshore structures
space satellites
pollution ...
traffic congestion
drinking water
energy needs
urban redevelopment
community planning

1.2 Match the following engineering projects with the words in the box.
....... skyscraper
....... bridge

....... track

....... arena

....... lock

....... hydroelectric power plant

English for Civil Engineering

....... pipeline
....... subway
....... highway

....... underground

....... amusement park

....... motorway

....... canal

....... railroad

....... port

....... stadium
....... dam

10

11

12

2 Study the description of the course of Alec Hammond, a technology student from Scotland.
2.1 Answer the questions.
1 How long does the course last? ...
2 What jobs can he do after he completes this course? ..
...
3 Can he study a foreign language? .

2.2 In which of the core units will these topics be covered?


1 the properties of concrete

2 computer application software .


3 forces on a structure

4 calculus

5 report writing

English for Civil Engineering

Civil engineering, HND


Ideal for students who want to follow a career in Civil engineering
Duration:
two years full-time, starting in September
Overview:
The construction industry needs well-trained and qualified managers, technologist, and technicians. This
course is designed to teach you the skills necessary for a managerial role in this industry. You will learn the
latest construction practices and be given the opportunity to specialize in one area.
Course content
You study core units in:
CAD
Communications
Construction management
Construction technology
Construction surveying
Civil engineering materials
You can take additional units in:
Advanced structural design
Highway engineering
a foreign language

Fluid mechanics
Geotechnics
IT
Maths
Mechanics and structure
Drawing and design

Advanced surveying
Quality assurance

What can I do next?


On successful completion of the course, you may progress to a range of degree-level courses. Some students
progress to employment as Civil engineering technicians / technologists.

3 LISTENING. The course (tech 1, u2, p 10-11)


3.1 Look at Alec's timetable below. Some of the information is missing. Before you listen, answer the
questions about the timetable.
1 What time do classes start each day? ...
2 Which room is Maths in? .....
3 Who teaches Calculus? ...
4 What do students do on Tuesdays and Thursdays? ..

3.2 Listen to part 1 of the interview. Answer the questions.


1 Which stage of the course is Alec at? ...
2 How many women are taking the course? ...
3 What age was he when he left school?
4 Which subject did he enjoy most at school? .
5 What job did he do when he left school? ..

English for Civil Engineering

3.3 Listen to part 2 of the interview. Fill gaps 1-8 in the timetable.
Civil engineering.

Semester 2

09.00-11.00

11.15-12.15
Maths

Mon

13.15-14.15

14.30-16.30
Civil engineering

3.1

4.5

G2

Materials Labs 4.4

H. Lomax

B. Davis

Wei Ming

D. Cowan

Tue

SELF-STUDY
Calculus

Wed

4.2

4.5

4.5

B. Davis

J. Bell

J. Bell

Thur

FREE

SELF-STUDY
5

Fri

G4

G4

G4

G4

C. Doyle

D. Cowan

D. Cowan

D. Cowan

3.4 Here are the interviewer's questions from part 3 of the interview. Listen and complete with Alecs
answers.
1 What do you hope to do at the end of your course?
...
2 What kind of degree will you take?
...
3 How long will it take?
...
4 When you start work as a civil engineer, what do you want to build -houses, or big structures like bridges and
roads?
...

4 Writing. Choose one of the careers in Civil Engineering and say why would like to work in that field. (50
to 80 words)
.
.
.
.
.
.

5 SPEAKING. In groups, discuss and decide on the best career for your future. State what you like and
dont like about the different careers.

English for Civil Engineering

U2

Materials and properties

1. Which things can be made of these materials?


steel leather rubber fibre glass
polystyrene glass wax paper

nylon gold cardboard wool ceramic wood plastic


polythene foam rubber cotton aluminium fabric

2. What are the following building materials?


.. timber
.. fiberglass
.. clay
.. brick
.. stone
.. roof tile
.. stainless steel
.. iron
.. aluminum
.. plaster
.. concrete
.. cement
.. lumber
.. glass
.. polystyrene foam
.. carpet
..... wood
.. ceramic tile
.. mud

English for Civil Engineering

10

11

13

12

14

16

17

15

18

3. LISTENING. (Fl for Construction, p. 11)


3.1. Listen to an expert speaking about the disadvantages of timber and complete the information below.
Water
Fire
Bugs
Environmental Impact
Sound
Strength

English for Civil Engineering

3.2. Listen and answer the questions. (Fl for Construction, p. 12)
Look at this specific vocabulary BEFORE you listen:
concrete .............................................................

mortar

.............................................................

clinker

kiln

.............................................................

limestone .............................................................

shale

.............................................................

iron ore: .............................................................

fly ash

.............................................................

slag

.............................................................

cinder

.............................................................

tile

.............................................................

grout

.............................................................

voids

.............................................................

rebar

.............................................................

.............................................................

1. What is the most common type of cement?


.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
2. What is Portland cement clinker made of?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
3. How is Portland cement clinker produced?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
4. What are the three production stages?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
5. What happens when water is added?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
6. Where are Concrete Masonry Units (CMU) mainly used?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
WRITING. Can you think of any advantages to TIMBER frame construction? How many?
1
2 ...
3
4 ...
5
6 ...

English for Civil Engineering

4. Look at these diagrams and read the passage

4.1.

Say which paragraph discusses:

a planar construction
b frame construction
c mass construction

Building materials are used in two basic ways. In


the first way they are used to support the loads on a
building and in the second way they are used to divide
the space in a building. Building components are made
from building materials and the form of a component is
related to the way in which it is used. We can see how
this works by considering three different types of
construction:
1. In one kind of construction, blocks of materials
such as brick, stone, or concrete are put together to
form solid walls. These materials are heavy; however,
they can support the structural loads because they have
the property of high compressive strength. Walls made
up of blocks both support the building and divide the
space in the building.
2. In another type of construction, sheet materials are
used to form walls which act as both space dividers and
structural support. Timber, concrete and some plastics
can be made into large rigid sheets and fixed together
to form a building. These buildings are lighter and
faster to construct than buildings made up of blocks.
3. Rod materials, on the other hand, can be used for
structural support but not for dividing spaces. Timber,
steel and concrete can be formed into rods and used as
columns. Rod materials with high tensile and
compressive strength can be fixed together to form
framed structures. The spaces between the rods can
be filled with light sheet materials which act as space
dividers but do not support structural loads.

4.2. Complete this table by putting ticks in the boxes to show the functions or the components:
structural support only

space dividing only

both structural support


and space dividing

blocks
sheets
rods

4.3. Say whether these statements are true or false. Correct the false statements.
a

Rod materials can be used for both dividing space and supporting the building.

Concrete can be used as a block material, a sheet material and a rod material.

Steel is used for frame construction because it has high tensile strength and low compressive strength.

The sheet materials, which act as space dividers in a frame construction building, can be very light because
they do not support structural loads.
.

Mass construction buildings are light whereas planar construction buildings are heavy.

English for Civil Engineering

10

5. Match the pictures with the adjectives. Then write the opposites
heavy
flexible
corrosion - resistant

combustible
good conductor

permeable
elastic

soft

transparent
hard

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..

.. ..
.. ..
English for Civil Engineering

11

6. Writing. Match the letters with the diagrams. Why are the following materials used in construction?
Which properties do they show?

6
5
7

10
9
8

A polythene membrane can prevent moisture from rising into the concrete floor because polythene has the
property of impermeability.

.. b

A T-shaped aluminium section ...


..
..

.. c

A stone block ......


..
..

.. d

A corrugated iron roof ....


..
..

.. e

Glass wool ...


..
..

..

f Ceramic tiles ...


..
..

English for Civil Engineering

12

.. g

Asbestos sheeting ....


..
..

.. h

Black cloth blinds ...


..
..

..

i A building structure ....


..
..

.. j

A window pane ...


..
..

7. Fill in the gaps in this table with the missing adjectives and nouns.

Adjective

Noun

Adjective

Noun

tough
wind resistance
elastic

soft
rigid

plasticity

wear-resistant

brittleness

flexible

hard

width

strong

long

deep

8. Give a suitable ending for these sentences:


1 If a material is artificial

2 If a material is ductile

3 If a material is durable

4 If a material is brittle

5 If a material is corroded

6 If a material is absorbent

.....

7 If a material is porous

8 If a material is natural

9. SPEAKING. Choose a material from the unit and decide what type of building you would use it for. Speak
about the advantages and disadvantages of that material and compare it with others.
English for Civil Engineering

13

U3

High living: skyscrapers

1 Name some famous skyscrapers. Which cities are


they in?
2 Look at the diagram. It shows some of the
components of a skyscraper. Match a-f with 1-6 in
the diagram.
a concrete beam
b cladding
c floors below ground
d steel columns
e horizontal I-shaped girders
f

steel piles

English for Civil Engineering

15

2. LISTENING. (Tech 1, U9, p. 68-69)


Its my job
2.1 Listen to Leon Peters, a Steel Erector, and answer the questions.
1 How big is Leon's gang?
.
2 How long is a contract?
.
3 What kind of buildings has he worked on?
.
4 What word does he use to describe components
which are cut and drilled off-site?
.
5 How long is a typical shift?
.
2.2 Listen again and find the reasons why:
1 contracts vary in length
.
.
2 bonuses are paid
.
.
3 you need good ground people
.
.
4 you dont come down for tea-breaks
.
.
5 moving girders is dangerous.
.
.

Reading
How skyscrapers are built

Skyscraper construction
Skyscrapers start with a very large hole in the
ground which will contain the foundations, several
floors, and possibly even a metro or subway station.
The type of foundations depend on the nature of the
ground. Usually they are made by drilling narrow,
deep holes and filling them with reinforced concrete
to form piles. Another method is to drive steel piles,
as much as twenty metres in length, into the ground.
A thick raft of concrete is laid on top of the piles.
Vertical steel columns are bolted to the foundations.
Each column rests on a platform of steel to spread
the load. Steel girders are fixed horizontally from
column to column by Steel Erectors to form a
strong framework. Metal decking is laid across the
girders and filled with lightweight liquid concrete
which is pumped up from the ground. When it sets,
it forms the floors.
Ducts are installed below the floors to carry all
services: electricity, water, drains. All exposed
metalwork is fireproofed. If a fire happens, it is
important that the structure can withstand high
temperatures without buckling.
The same process is repeated as the building rises.
In some construction methods, entire floors are built
at ground level and hoisted into position by cranes.
The outside of the building is covered in cladding.
This consists of prefabricated panels of materials
such as stainless steel, aluminium, and glass.

5 Put these stages in the construction of a skyscraper


in the correct order. Read the text and check your
answers.
a .. Metal decking called floor formers are laid between the beams to form a shallow pan.
b .. Outer walls, called cladding, are lifted into position by crane.
c .. Girders are bolted to the columns to form the floors of the building.
d .. The foundations are laid.
e .. Liquid concrete is poured onto the formers.
f .. Ducts are installed beneath each floor to carry cables and pipes.
g .. The vertical steel columns that form the base of the building's main frame are fixed to the foundations
h .. The process is repeated floor by floor until the skyscraper is completed.
English for Civil Engineering

16

Webquest
10. Complete the table by finding out information about the tallest building in your country, as well as the
tallest buildings in the world.
Country

Building name and


place

Height

Floors

Year completed

4. WRITING. Choose one of the skyscrapers from your list and write about it (From 50 to 80 words). Give
information about the following issues:
- Brief history of the building
- Materials used
- Current use of the building

5. SPEAKING.
1 Would you like to live in a skyscraper. What are the advantages? And the drawbacks? What materials
are most suitable for that kind of buildings? Why?
2 Describe the process of building a skyscraper

English for Civil Engineering

17

U4

Construction Tools

What are these construction tools?


nails cement mixer
screw screwdriver
saw drill
level

hard hat
wrench
measuring tape
tile cutter
spade
scaffolding
bulldozer
crane
hammer
caterpillar
pointing trowel
laser distance meter
spreading trowel
bucket

. . .

. . .

. . .

English for Civil Engineering

19

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .
English for Civil Engineering

20

Describing function
We use used

subject

to, (used) for and used as to describe the function of an object.


used to
for
(used) for
used as

is / are

infinitive
-ing
-ing
noun

A torch is used to provide light


A torch is for providing light
A torch is (used) for providing light
The torch is used as a signal

We can also use the verbs


subject

can
enable

can and enable to describe function

infinitive
person

with it
to infinitive

It enables James to take photographs.


(It makes it possible.)
You can take photographs with it.
(It's possible.)
Write a short description of the previous construction tools.
1 ......................
.
2 .
.
3 .
.
4 .
.
5 .
.
6 .
.
7 .
.
8 .
.
English for Civil Engineering

21

9 .
.
10 .
.
11 .
.
12 .
.
13 .
.
14 .
.
15 .
.
16 .
.
17 .
.
18 .
.
19 .
.
20 .
.
21 .
.

English for Civil Engineering

22

LISTENING
1. Listen to the description of crane controls and complete the text. (E. for C. 1. P. 23 (Ex 5))
Crane operators use different controls to raise and lower the (1) ............................................. , rotate the cab,
extend and retract the boom, wind and unwind the (2) ............................................. , and control other equipment.
This operator has two (3) ............................................., .One controls left-to-right movement of the boom and the
other controls forward and backward movement. The operator uses the foot (4) ............................................., to
retract or extend the boom.

2. Listen and answer the questions (E. f. C. p26, ex 2)


1 Where is the sand?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
2 Where are the base plates?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
3 What do you have to do if you think the boom is too high?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
4. Is the concrete too hard?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
5 Where is his hard hat?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
6. What is the problem he says they have?
..............................................................................................................................................................................
7. Why shouldnt the flask be touched?
..............................................................................................................................................................................

SPEAKING
In pairs, ask and answer questions about the use of the construction tools mentioned above. Try not to look at
the notes you wrote.

English for Civil Engineering

23

U5

The house

House generally refers to a shelter or building that is single family detached dwelling or place for habitation by
human beings. "Homes" on the other hand include many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of
nomadic tribes to high-rise apartment buildings. However, the word can also be used as a verb ("to house"), and can
have adjectival formations as well. In some contexts, "house" may mean the same as dwelling, residence, home,
abode, accommodation, housing, lodging, among other meanings. The social unit that lives in a house is known as a
household.
The developed world in general features three basic types of house that have their own ground-level entry and
private open space, and usually on a separately titled parcel of land:
Single-family detached houses - free-standing on all sides.
Semi-detached houses (duplexes) - houses that are attached, usually to only one other house via a party
wall.
Terraced house (UK) also known as a row house or townhouse - attached to other houses, possibly in a
row, each separated by a party wall.
In addition, there are various forms of attached housing where a number of dwelling units are co-located within the
same structure, which share a ground-level entry and may or may not have any private open space, such as
apartments (a.k.a. flats) of various scales. Another type of housing is movable, such as houseboats, caravans, and
trailer homes.
1. Outside the house. Match the numbers with the

English for Civil Engineering

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

doorstep
door
lamp post
window pane
drainpipe
sash window
slate

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

drain
doorbell
lintel
brick
window sill
knocker
letter box
(US mail box)

..
..
..
..
..
..

garden gate
casement
wall
pane
porch
roof

..
..
..
..
..

path
skylight
hanging basket
fence
bay window

..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..

chimney
sprinkler
hedge
climber
gutter
gable
dormer window
chimney pot

..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..

lawn
rockery
picture window
hose
trellis
eaves
garage
driveway

25

2. Inside the house. What are the following rooms used for? What would you expect to find in them?
living room
bathroom
bedroom
dining room
living room
sitting room
loo
garage
kitchen
basement
cellar
attic
study
toilet
pantry
hall
terrace
closet
master bedroom
nursery
laundry room
library

3. Inside the house. Match the numbers and the words.

2
5
7
3

shower
toilet
washbasin
tap (faucet)
mirror
towel rail

1
3
6

2
4

English for Civil Engineering

10

fridge
oven
microwave oven
dishwasher
washing machine
sink
waste bin
worktop
range hood

26

4. Writing
Work with a team of four people. You have to work in the design of a detached house for a family of four
members (two adults and two children). First you have to draw a plan of the house (or use the one
provided). Then you have to write a complete description of that house including:
- description of the project (location, clients, needs, etc.)
- description of the house (location, design, parts of the house, materials, etc.)
- possible uses of the house and of the rooms
- reasons and justification of the design

.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................

English for Civil Engineering

27

5. LISTENING. Listen to Peter Carpenter, a designer of earth homes and note down:
A) as many advantages as you can.
1. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
2. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
3. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
4. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
5. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
6. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
7. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
8. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
9. ...............................................................................................................................................................................

B) technical issues involved


1. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
2. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
3. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
4. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
5. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
6. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
7. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
8. ...............................................................................................................................................................................
9. ...............................................................................................................................................................................

6. Speaking. Describe the process of building a house. Read the information in this web page
(http://home.howstuffworks.com/hohme-improvement/repair/house2.htm) and give a summary of the
steps of building a house.

English for Civil Engineering

28

U6

Bridges

Vocabulary
1 Match the words from the box with their definition. Then label the
photographs.
stay truss suspension bridge arch bridge tension
cantilever bridge span beam bridge cable-stayed bridge
. =

A type of bridge in which its

weight is carried outward along the curve to supports at each end.


. =

simple

type

of

bridge

..

composed of horizontal beams supported by vertical posts.


. =

A bridge in which the roadway

deck is suspended from cables anchored to one or more towers.


. =

projecting

structure

supported only at one end, much like a shelf bracket or a diving board.
. =

The distance between two

supports of a bridge.
. =

A long, strong wire rope that

..

supports a mast.
. =

A bridge in which the roadway

is hung from strong cables that pass over two towers.


. =

force

that

stretches

material apart, often making the material longer.


. =

A rigid frame composed of

short, straight pieces joined to form a series of triangles or other stable

..

shapes.

..

English for Civil Engineering

..

..

29

Project
Select a famous bridge and research it. Copy the photograph and write a text about the bridge. Make sure the
text answers the following questions:
When and where was the bridge built?
What type of architecture characterizes the bridge? Is the architecture consistent with an arch, beam, suspension,
cable-stayed, cantilever, or moveable design?
What were some special challenges that the bridge architects and engineers faced? How did they overcome those
challenges?
How much time did construction crews need to complete the bridge?
Approximately how many cars use this bridge each week (or year)?
What interesting stories can be found about this bridge? For example, are any fun facts associated with its
design, construction, name, or use?
Imagine that you are bridge tour guides. Write a short tour script. Finally present the bridge to the class.

Resources
Web Sites: General Bridge Information
All about Bridges
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/bridge/index.html
Bridge Trivia
http://www.bridgebuildermagazine.com/trivia.html
Bridge Builder Magazine http://www.bridgebuildermagazine.com
Gallery of Famous Bridges http://www.discovery.com/stories/technology/buildings/brdg_explore.html#ipix
The Bridge Challenge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/bridge/challenge/index.html
Online Bridge Activity
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bridge/build.html
How Bridges Work
http://www.howstuffworks.com/bridge.htm
Everything about bridges http://www.brantacan.co.uk/bridges.htm
Web Sites: Famous Bridges
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
http://www.hsba.go.jp/bridge/e-akasi.htm
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/akashi_kaikyo.html
Brooklyn Bridge
http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/brooklyn/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/brooklyn.html
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
http://www.cbbt.com/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/chesapeake_bay_brdg.html
Forth Bridge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/firth_of_forth.html
Gorge P. Coleman Bridge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/george_p_coleman.html
Golden Gate Bridge
http://www.goldengate.org
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/golden_gate.html
Iron Bridge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/iron.html
Sunshine Skyway (Florida)
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/sunshine_skyway.html
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
http://www.me.utexas.edu/~uer/papers/paper_jk.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/tacoma_narrows.html
Tower Bridge
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/tower.html
http://www.discovery.com/stories/technology/buildings/panoramas/brdg_ipix2.htm

English for Civil Engineering

30

U7

Definitions

Concrete in Roman Architecture

10

15

20

The most characteristic and original achievements of Roman architecture were due to the availability and utilization
of a clean, sandy earth known to us as pozzolana and to the ancients as 'pit sand'. This chocolate-red earth, a finely
pulverized volcanic product found in thick strata at Puteoli (Pozzuoli) as well as to the north and east of Rome, was
mixed in a kiln with lime-limestone reduced to quicklime, the best binding material available until the
nineteenth-century discovery of Portland cement. Early Italian mortar, perhaps introduced through the Greek
colonies of south Italy, had been lime mixed with ordinary sand, but then the superiority of pozzolana to sand was
discovered: it contains a vitreous element which, after mixing with lime, has the property of forming exceedingly
consistent and cohesive hydraulic concrete, setting with almost imperishable hardness even under water. This
mixture of pozzolana and lime was then added to an aggregate often made of chips and waste from polished facing
blocks-broken stone, brick or even marble, and (where light weight was an important consideration) pumice-stone.
When the mixed pozzolana and lime had been poured over it, this aggregate was bound together in a compact,
monolithic mass, solid and exerting no thrust when set a wonderful material for architects.
From the late second century BC, foundations and cores made of various blends of concrete already formed masses
capable of bearing as much weight as the rock itself - though the Romans did not at first fully realize its tenacious
properties. By the time of Augustus the red pozzolana was already in use, but still timidly, and it was during the next
centuries that this was employed for the most daring constructions - thanks to the genius of Greek or oriental
architects who, in order to fulfil the requirements of Roman patrons, mastered the humble materials to hand and
exercised due care in their choice, preparation and mixture. The consequent employment of the excellent
inexpensive pozzolana revolutionised the construction of Roman walls. These were formed by the pouring between
boards of liquid concrete in watertight layers, alternating with sections of aggregate. This was the technique which
enabled the walls of tenement houses at Rome to achieve a new many-storeyed height and massiveness from the
Augustan age onwards; and in the second century AD there was a greatly increased facility and confidence in
handling this medium.
Augustus the first Roman emperor, who from 27 BC to 14 AD

1 Comprehension. Answer the following questions.


1 Why was pozzolana important to the Romans?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
2 Where is hydraulic concrete used?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
3 What may aggregate consist of?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
4 How was liquid concrete used when a wall was built?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
5 Why were the Romans able to build houses of several storeys?
.....................................................................................................................................................................................
2 Find a synonym of the following words in the text:
1 use

2 obtain

3 mix

4 permit

5 owing to .

English for Civil Engineering

6 toughness .

31

3 Fill each space with one of the words in its right form:
architecture
compact

volcanic
timid

available
genius

superiority
inexpensive

polish
watertight

1 No more mahogany is .......................................................... ; we shall have to use oak.


2 Pozzolana is .......................................................... , so it can be used in large quantities.
3 The interior of a large ship is often divided into separate .......................................................... compartments.
4 Ruskin was a writer who was interested in .......................................................... and beautiful buildings.
5 Pozzolana is .......................................................... dust.
6 The .......................................................... of aluminium over wood for building aircraft is usually undisputed.
7 The .......................................................... of the Greeks was not in machines but in art.
8 His sister is too shy to come with us; she is very .......................................................... .
9 Paris is .......................................................... ; her strength is collected and condensed within a narrow compass.
10 She .......................................................... the table so well that the wood was like a mirror.
4 Write a definition for the following words:
1 achievements (line 1) .
2 waste (line 9) .
3 poured (line 10) .
4 foundations (line 9) ...
5 cores (line 13) .
6 layers (line 20)

Relative clauses
Defining Relative clauses
Look at the following sentences:
a Loads cause tensile stresses.

b The loads tend to pull a body apart.

If the noun phrases in italics refer to the same thing, we can combine the two sentences into one by using a relative
clause:
c Loads which tend to pull a body apart cause tensile stresses.

5 Write down a single sentence for each of the following pairs of sentences. Make the second sentence into a
relative clause and insert it into the first sentence at the place marked by dots.
EXAMPLE
A lever can be used to compare two masses.
Such a lever has the fulcrum placed between load and effort.
A lever which has the fulcrum placed between load and effort can be used to compare two masses.
1 A strut is a member.
The member resists a compressive force.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

English for Civil Engineering

32

2 Rust may attack certain metals.


These metals contain some proportion of iron.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
3 We can combine information on the size of a force and the distance it moves, in a diagram.
The diagram is called a work diagram.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
4 Sir Isaac Newton put forward a law.
The law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

Non-defining relative clauses


a The mill which produces sheet steel was made in Scotland but the mill which produces tube steel was made
in Sweden.
b The mill, which produces sheet steel, was made in Scotland.

In sentence a the relative clauses tell us which mill we are talking about. In sentence a we have two defining relative
clauses. In sentence b we already know which mill we are talking about. The clause simply adds some extra
information about the mill. In sentence b we have a non-defining relative clause. Note the use of commas.
6 Make the second sentence into a relative clause and insert it into the first sentence at the right place. You
will write sentences with non-defining relative clauses.
EXAMPLE
Brass is used to make bolts and screws.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.
Brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, is used to make bolts and screws.
1 The rectangular block of steel is fixed to the floor.
The block measures 100 by 200 by 10 mm.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
2 Polished steel is in fact covered with tiny bumps.
Polished steel is normally described as flat and smooth.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
3 Friction dissipates mechanical energy by converting it into heat energy.
Friction is always present in a machine.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
4 Stainless steel contains chromium.
The chromium makes the steel corrosion-resistant.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
English for Civil Engineering

33

Relative clauses (defining and non-defining)


7 Now join the following pairs of sentences and state whether the completed sentences contain defining or
non-defining relative clauses.
1 The body is just on the point of sliding at the angle.
The angle is known as the angle of friction.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
2 Complicated mechanisms are machines just as simple levers are machines.
These complicated mechanisms make up an aeroplane engine.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
3 Malleable cast iron is tougher than grey cast iron.
Malleable cast iron is a ferrous metal.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

4 The Kariba dam provides electric power for Zambia.


The dam is situated on the Zambesi.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

8 Combine each of the following pairs into one sentence by using a relative pronoun (that or which, etc.):
1 Pozzolana was mixed with lime in a kiln. It is a finely pulverized volcanic product.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
2 The Greek architects were very clever. They had mastered the humble materials which were ready for them.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
3 The employment of pozzolana revolutionized the construction of Roman walls. It is quite inexpensive.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
4 Pumice-stone has little weight. Sometimes aggregate was made with it.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................
5 The aggregate was bound together in a mass. It exerted no thrust sideways.
.................................................................................................................................................................
.................................................................................................................................................................

English for Civil Engineering

34

LISTENING (TECH 2, U4, P 22)


1 Listen to two Technology students talking about plastics. As you listen, complete the table of raw
materials and the plastics made from them.
Raw material
1. cellulose

Plastic

2.

Polyethelene, nylon, polyester

3. starch from plants (e.g. wheat)

2. Listen again and note the advantages and problems with each of the different types of plastic.
Advantages

English for Civil Engineering

Problems

35

Speaking.
Give definitions for the different branches of Engineering and the following people involved in the building
process. You should use relative clauses.
Civil Engineering
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Electrical Engineering
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Information Technology
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Aircraft Maintenance
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Environmental Engineering
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Mechanical Engineering
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Architects
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Civil Engineers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Surveyors
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Cost engineers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Mechanical engineers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Electrical engineers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Structural engineers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................
Mortgage bankers
....................................................................................................................................................................................
....................................................................................................................................................................................

English for Civil Engineering

36

U8

Cause and effect

1 Grammar Practice
Understanding the different ways of expressing the relationship between the causes and the effects of an action is
very important when you are reading English. This cause-effect relationship is commonly used in technical English
texts.
Before we look at some of the ways of expressing cause and effect, note carefully this important distinction.
We can mention the cause before the effect:

(cause)
(effect)
Earthquakes cause cracking in buildings.
(effect)
(cause)
Concern may be due to degradation, alterations, or damages.

We can mention the effect before the cause:

There are many different ways of expressing cause and effect.


A Verbs linking cause and effect:
result
prevent

cause
enable

produce
bring about

result in
allow

result from

1 The entire population of test allowed to evaluate the mean strength in 3 MPa, and a characteristic value in 2
Mpa.
(cause
effect)
2 Frequent result in a mean reduction of the emission, which may indicate less mechanical soundness.
(cause
effect)
B Connectives introducing cause:
due to

as the/a result of

since

because

in response to

as

1 The procedure seems to be particularly promising for historical buildings, because in them the mechanical
properties of the masonry may vary much more than those of the materials of a new structure.
(effect
cause)
2 Seismometers may measure accelerations and velocities due to normal use and be triggered for the record of
strong winds or earthquakes when they occur.
(effect
cause)
C Connectives introducing result:
with the result that
consequently

so that
hence

thus
for this reason

therefore
thereby

1 The tower faces the prevailing wind with the result that it directs the wind through the duct into the
basement of the house.
2 The incoming air comes into contact with the surfaces of the duct so that it is cooled by conduction.
3 The air then leaves the basement through an outlet thereby helping to ventilate the courtyard during the
daytime.
D Conditionals showing causal relationship
Another way of showing causal relationship is by introducing the cause with if. Both the cause clause and the
effect clause verbs are in the present tense.
1 If the stability of a building is precarious it may collapse under slight earthquakes a strong wind or
subsidence of foundations.
2 We can avoid such collapses if we use appropriate and rational structural engineering techniques
English for Civil Engineering

37

1 Find the cause or causes of these effects:

In some Iraqi houses a duct is contained between the two skins of a


party wall. A wind tower is placed above the duct. This tower faces
the prevailing wind with the result that it directs the wind through
the duct into the basement of the house. The surfaces of the internal
party wall remain at a lower temperature than the rest of the house
throughout the day. This is because the wall is very thick and does
not receive any direct solar radiation. The incoming air comes into
contact with the surfaces of the duct and, as a result, is cooled by
conduction. The relative humidity of the air is increased, just before
it enters the basement, by passing it over porous water jugs. The air
then leaves the basement through an outlet thereby helping to
ventilate the courtyard during the daytime.
a the wind is directed into the basement
...
b the internal party wall is kept cool
...
c the incoming air is cooled
...
d the relative humidity of the air is increased

2 From your own knowledge or from


information in previous exercises say whether
these statements are true or false. Correct the
false statements.

...
e the courtyard is ventilated during the daytime
...

a
b
c
d
e
f

Earthquakes lead to cracking in buildings.


If moisture laden air is not allowed to escape from a building then condensation will occur .
Frequent painting of steelwork results in corrosion.
Insulating a house allows the air inside to cool to its dew point.
The expansion of a roof is caused by a decrease in temperature.
In an arch the bricks are wedge-shaped thereby causing their weight to be distributed upwards along the curve of
the arch.
g Houses in hot-dry climates have compact layouts owing to the high solar radiation.
h A profiled sheet is rigid because of its shape.
i Condensation on the surface of a wall causes damp patches and stains and encourages mould growth.
j Climate affects the form and orientation of buildings as well as the type of materials and construction methods
used.
3 Make cause/effect statements from the table.
cause
foundation subsided
column moved
span increased
beam deflected excessively

effect
column moved
span increased
beam deflected excessively
cracks formed on the underside of beam

The foundation subsided with a result that / and as a result the column moved.

English for Civil Engineering

38

4 Look at these diagrams and put the events in the correct order to make cause / effect sentences as in ex. 1:
..
..
..
..

concrete floor expanded


cracks formed in floor
hardcore below the floor contained soluble salts
salts interacted with cement in concrete floor

..
..
..
..
..

roof expanded
wall / roof joint failed
heavy rain washed away gravel on roof
roof heated up
roof inadequately protected from the sun

..
..
..
..
..

gaps formed between window and frame


woodwork expanded
moisture content of wood increased
wood was painted with poor quality paint
later the wood dried and contracted

5 Read this and write answers to the questions.


Q: How did the subsidence of the foundation lead to / bring about cracks in the beam?
A: The subsidence of the foundation resulted in / caused the movement of the column. This in turn, resulted in /
caused an increase in the span of the beam, excessive deflection of the beam and the formation of cracks in the
underside of the beam.
a How did the presence of soluble salts in the hardcore bring about cracks in the floor?

English for Civil Engineering

39

b How did the washing away of the gravel by the rain bring about the failure of the wall/roof joint?

c How did the poor quality paint bring about gaps between the window and the frame?

6 Read and complete the sentences.


Stabilising the ground under the foundations prevents the columns from moving.
a Removing the soluble salts from the hardcore
b Protecting the roof from the sun ..
c Painting the woodwork with good quality paint ..

7 Look at this first diagram and write similar paragraphs.


We have a problem with the air temperature in this room. Its too cold. This is because of /
due to inadequate thermal insulation. You see, to a certain extent, the temperature in the
room depends on the thickness of the insulation. Consequently, we should increase the
thickness of the insulation.
a noise level

b amount of light

c degree of humidity

English for Civil Engineering

40

8 Sentence Transformation. Join or rewrite the following sentences using the words given in brackets.
1 The mechanical properties of the materials may be nearly unknown in some cases. Access to the structure is
difficult. (due to)
The mechanical properties of the materials may be nearly unknown in some cases ..
........
........
2 For many ancient buildings the complexity of a structural analysis may be high. A reliable structural assessment
is practically impossible. (so that)
For many ancient buildings the complexity of a structural analysis ..
.....
.....
3 It is common in structural engineering to reject with higher factors of safety the mechanisms of collapse which
are not announced by clear signs of distress. There is no warning for an evacuation. (so that)
It is common in structural engineering to reject with higher factors of safety the mechanisms of collapse which
are not announced by clear signs of distress ......
.....
4 The tests are very difficult. The results cannot yet be considered completely satisfactory and reliable. (such that)
They are ..
.....
5 The identification of such zones would be precious. It would allow a limitation of the strengthening interventions
to the parts of the building which really need it. (because)
The identification of such zones would be precious ....
.....
.....
6 Several ancient brickwork samples have been removed from historical palaces and tested. It showed a very
useful picture of the mean strength and of its possible deviation. (the result)
Several ancient brickwork samples have been removed from historical palaces and tested.
....
....
7 A building which is considerably leaning, with cracked or otherwise damaged walls and vaults may collapse in
case of an earthquake or a strong wind. (if)
If .....
.....
.....

English for Civil Engineering

41

U9

Can you fix it?

Repairs
1 Using the adjectives from the list describe what can be wrong with these things? How can you fix the
problems?
flat
rusty
burnt out
stiff
blunt
torn
blocked
dirty
jammed
loose

empty

leaking
worn
scratched
chipped
cracked
bent
dented
crushed
frayed
dusty
corroded

English for Civil Engineering

43

LISTENING. (Techtalk INT U17, p 78)


1 Before you listen. Read a story about a delay in a schedule. The events are in the wrong order.
Number the events in the order you think they happened. (There are several possibilities)
a ...... One of the suppliers production machines broke down.
b ...... When the part arrived, they repaired the machine.
c ...... A customer placed an order with a supplier.
d ...... The supplier called the customer and explained there would be a delay.
e ...... The maintenance crew discovered the machine needed a new part and ordered it.
f ...... The customer agreed to wait a little longer.
2 Listen to the suppliers discussing the problem and find out if you were right. Which event in 1
hasnt happened yet?
3 Listen again and answer these questions.
1 When does the customer need their order?. ........................................................................................................
2 When did the machine break down? ...................................................................................................................
3 What part needs replacing? .................................................................................................................................
4 How long could it take? .....................................................................................................................................
5 What does the man want to tell them? ...............................................................................................................
4 Describe the following photographs of construction defects and provide a possible solution. Write a
paragraph with a problem-solution pattern.

defects

Problem-Solution Pattern

It doesnt have
The .. is / are missing

Situation Problem Response Evaluation

There is /are no ..
There is /are too much / many ..

Situation:

old machinery used in construction

The .. doesnt fit

Problem:

frequent accidents

in the wrong place

Solution:

purchase of new machinery

too

Evaluation:

better safety conditions at work /

The .. is / are

upside down.

increase in production

inside out.
back to front.
the wrong shape / colour / size
..
..
..
..
..
..
..

English for Civil Engineering

44

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

English for Civil Engineering

45

..
..
..
..
..
..
..

English for Civil Engineering

46

U10

Safety in construction

Safety signs and safety advice.


a direct command to the public
no + -ing / noun found on signs in a range of general and
industrial contexts
imperative

must
must not

English for Civil Engineering

not as strict
found in more informal signs, or in
safety handbooks

strong obligation, and authority

No smoking
No admittance
Wear a safety helmet.
Always check the filters
Never operate this without protection
Do not smoke here
You must wear a safety helmet
Unauthorized persons must not use it.
You must always wear a hard hat
Personnel must never leave this equipment on.

47

1. Match the safety signs to their meanings.

..

1 Eye protection must be worn.

..

4 Protective footwear must be worn in this area.

..

2 In the event of fire do not use this lift.

..

5 High-visibility clothing must be worn in this area.

..

3 Ear protectors must be worn in this area. ..

6 No admittance.

2. Now explain the signs.


EXAMPLE Sign e This means 'No admittance: You mustn't go in there.
1
2
3
4
5

3. Rewrite the examples of safety advice using always or never.


EXAMPLE Don't use defective tools. Never use defective tools.
1 Make sure a machine has stopped before removing the guards.

2 Do not use mobile phones in busy working areas.

3 Wear eye protection when using grinders.

4 Do not smoke near flammable substances.

5 Wear a hard hat when work is going on overhead.

6 Do not operate chain saws without ear protection.

7 Make sure the mains supply is disconnected before working on electrical equipment.

8 Store chemicals in a lockable room or container.

English for Civil Engineering

48

Showing visitors round a construction site


Im responsible for your health and safety for
this visit. Have you all signed in? Construction
sites are dangerous places. You must wear a hard
hat and yellow vest all the time youre on site.
Can you adjust the internal band of your hard hat
now, please? Make sure it fits. Look up, look
down. Check it doesnt fall off.

Youve been told to wear boots. If anyone is


wearing trainers or soft shoes, they cant go on
the tour. There may be nails or spills anywhere.
Please don't carry any loose papers with you. It's
quite windy today and I don't want papers
blowing round the site. You can take pictures but
no flash photography on any of the floor levels. It
can distract.

Look out for the guys with the forklifts. Their


eyes are on the load. Theyre not looking out for
pedestrians. Dont pick anything up - it might cut
or burn. Always keep with the group and make
sure you sign out at the end of the tour!
4. The site manager is going to take the group round the construction site. Read what he says about the
regulations the students must observe and note in the table. Add reasons using the text and your own
safety knowledge.
Regulation

Reason

Wear a hard hat and yellow vest.

Construction sites are dangerous. You must protect your head and be
visible at all times.

English for Civil Engineering

49

5. Speaking
Study the picture of a group of civil engineering students who are visiting a construction site. Discuss what
regulations they might be breaking and why they could be in danger.
6. Listening (Eng for Cons U6, p.47)
6.1. Listen to this conversation. Write the vehicle number and then complete the checklist with ok or not
ok.

Fork lift Daily Inspection Checklist.


Documents

Battery

Fluids

Tyres

seat belt

Seat

Mirrors

Lights

Vehicle number: ____________________

Tuesday
6.2. Listen again and describe the three problems with the vehicle.
Problem 1: .....................................................................................................................................................
Problem 2: .....................................................................................................................................................
Problem 3: .....................................................................................................................................................
7. Writing. Write as many rules and regulations as you can find in your labs or classrooms at university.
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................................................................................

English for Civil Engineering

50

U11

The environment, our responsibility

VOCABULARY
Translate into English
ecolgico

panel solar

medio ambiente .

contaminar

depuradora

energa renovable .

energa solar

capa de ozono

energa elica

basura

vertedero

tirar a la basura

desechos

humo

tubo de escape

deforestacin

chimenea

efecto invernadero .

lluvia cida

cambio climtico

sostenibilidad

alcantarilla

aguas fecales

desertizacin

calentamiento global .

English for Civil Engineering

51

Speaking Practice
Picture Description
Look at these photographs which illustrate various twentieth century problems and match them with an appropriate
sentence.
1 Poverty is a problem in all parts of the world.
2 Air pollution has reached danger levels in some countries.
3 Unemployment is hitting some industrialized countries badly.
4 Wildlife is under threat from human activity.
5 Green belt areas are being destroyed at an alarming rate.
6 Cars are bringing the big cities of the world to a standstill.
Are the problems shown in the photos mainly economic, political or environmental? In your opinion, which is the
most serious problem shown here? If you were in a position of power, what would you do to help solve this
problem? Can you think of any other serious twentieth century problems which should be added to this list?
Related Topics
Which of these are common ways of protecting the environment in your country?
to reduce waste
to avoid using fuel
to eat chemical-free food
to protect the countryside
to recycle used material
to avoid polluting the air
to stop the construction of roads
to discourage the use of artificial fertilizers
Which of them do you think are the most effective? Which are the least effective? Which other ways of preventing
damage to the environment do you know of?
Listening (Fl f Cons U1 p5)
1 Listen to the interview and decide if the statements below are true (T) or false (F)
.....
1 The sub-disciplines of ecology are all very complex.
.....
2 Population ecology examines the population dynamics of a single species.
.....
3 Ecosystem and landscape ecology are more complex than other forms of ecology.
.....
4 If you study the population level, you concentrate on communities of species.
.....
5 The outer layer of the planet Earth can be divided into four compartments.
.....
6 The hydrosphere is the sphere of water.
.....
7 The biosphere is the sphere of water.
2 Listen again and answer the questions
1 What are the subdivisions of ecology? .................
2 What does community ecology study? .................
3 What do you focus on if you study the population level? ....
4 How can the outer layer of the planet Earth be divided? .
5 What is the lithosphere? ...................
6 What is the atmosphere? ...................
7 What is the biosphere? ......................
Writing
How can construction engineering contribute to the improving of the environment? (50 to 80 words)

English for Civil Engineering

52

U12

Looking for a job

You have just finished your studies and, in order to move to your own place, you need to face "real world" and find
a job. You'd rather work abroad, so you decide to look for the job on the Internet.
To accomplish the task you will go through the following stages:
1. Research the features of your career and job choices.
2. Look for a job opening.
3. Write a resume and a cover letter for this job.
4. Practice the job interview.

1. What type of job would you like to do?


The career Game
With a degree in Engineering you can pursue different careers. The Career Interest Game
(http://career.missouri.edu/career-interest-game) can help you decide which career and work environment fits
better with your personality, skills, and interests. You have six categories to choose from: Realistic, Investigative,
Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Select the category that matches your interests and click on it.
You will go to a file with five different types of information: "You are", "You can", "You like to", "Hobbies",
"Career possibilities".
Read carefully the description of the category you have selected. Is there any word you don't understand? You can
check unknown words in the following dictionary (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/). Which of the features in
the sections "You are", "You can", "You like to" and "Hobbies" describe you and which ones you do not feel
identified with? If you feel that the features in this category do not fit you, you may go back and choose another
category.
Features that fit you:
You are:

You can:

You like to:


Hobbies:

Features that do not fit you:


You are:

You can:

You like to:


Hobbies:

Search the features of your career and job choices.


Decide the job you would like to have. Go to the "Occupationa1 Outlook Handbook" (http://stats.bls.gov/oco)
and find information on this job. The Occupational Outlook Handbook describes what workers do on the job,
working conditions, the training and education needed, earnings, and expected job prospects in a wide range of
occupations. Using the description in the "Occupational Outlook Handbook" answer the following questions about
the career you have chosen.

English for Civil Engineering

53

Questions:
1. What skills and aptitudes should you have?

2. What type of education and training is necessary to prepare for this career?

3. What kinds of work would you do?

4. What responsibilities would you have?

5. What are the pay and other benefits of this job?

6. Is there any other information about this career that is important?

2. Look for a job opening


You are now ready to look for a job on the Internet.
A. Understanding job adverts

Advert 1
The person holding this position will be responsible of carrying out investigations in
the area of targeting, and communications systems. The engineer is responsible for
writing proposals, performing investigations, and presenting the results to the
customer. Typical investigations include developing signal processing algorithms that
enable advanced concepts, and developing prototype systems in conjunction with
hardware and software engineers.
If you have a Bachelors (EE. Systems, Physics, or related) and at least 6+ years of
relevant experience, please consider this career opportunity. (MS/PhD strongly
preferred). (Multi-level positions available). The positions require the ability to obtain
a U.S. Government Security Clearance - US citizenship required.
Located just 30 miles from downtown Washington, we offer comprehensive,
generous benefits including paid tuition reimbursement. Some relocation assistance
may be available.
*Salary commensurates w/experience.

Read advert 1 and see if you can understand:


The responsibilities you will have if you get the job:

The job requirements:

Features desirable in applicants:

English for Civil Engineering

54

The benefits:

Advert 2
Newport is the leading worldwide manufacturer and distributor of precision
components and systems used for development and application of laser and
optical technologies. Its products and expertise are increasingly used in
semiconductor manufacturing and testing, fiber optic communications and
other commercial applications that require ever increasing precision and
tight tolerances.
We currently have an opening for a Senior Electrical Engineer in our
Chandler, AZ. We are looking for an experienced engineer who has
extensive practical knowledge of analog and digital circuit designs,
schematic layout software, micro controller firmware design and the
CSA/UUCE design principles.
Potential candidates should be able to work independently and have strong
analytical, organizational, and communications skills. Applicants are
required to have a minimum of a B.S. in electrical engineering and five years
of experience.
We offer competitive salaries with excellent health, life, and disability
benefits. Newport offers an excellent compensation package, including
4O1(k) & profit sharing, tuition assistance, complete medical/dental
package, and more. All positions have opportunities for diversity,
innovation, advancement, and success. Interested candidates who enjoy
dynamic fast pace work environment should check out our website
www.Newport.com and e-mail their resume to John Pollock at
Jpollock@az.newport.com.
Read advert 2 and see if you can understand:
The responsibilities you will have if you get the job

The job requirements:

Features desirable in applicants:

The benefits:

English for Civil Engineering

55

B. Looking for a job on the Internet


Choose a position (from previous exercises or from the internet) you would like to apply for and complete the
following information:
Job Title:
.......
Company:
.......
Important features of the company:
.......
.......
Work Responsibilities:
.......
.......
Location:
.......
Qualifications required:
.......
Experience required:
.......
Other requirements:
.......
Earnings:
.......
Benefits:
.......
Overall Opinion:
.......

English for Civil Engineering

56

3 Write a resume
Now it's time to apply for the job. You need to send you resume and a covering letter. The resume is one of the most
important tools of a job search: it outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see how you can
contribute to the employer's workplace. Preparing a successful resume involves reviewing, summarizing, and
presenting your experiences and achievements briefly and concisely (one or two pages).
A. Resume Formats
Although you can use different formats for your resume, there are some sections found on most resumes: Identifying
Information, Career, Objective, Education, Special Skills, Honors, Activities, Work, Experience, Research and
References.
Table 1. Resume Template
Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

Education
Current Education
Major
Degree
Graduation Date
Relevant Courses
Honors/Awards/Activities
Previous Education (if any)

Work Experience
Organization City and State Dates Worked Position Title
Duties/Responsibilities/Accomplishments
Organization
City and State
Dates Worked
Position
Title
Duties/Responsibilities/Accomplishments

Additional Experience
Computer Skills
Languages spoken
University extracurricular activities
Special Competencies (e.g. teaching areas, artistic talents, organizational skills, supervisory
skills, speaking skills. sales ability, etc.)

English for Civil Engineering

57

Table 2. The Parts of a Resume


Adapted from: http://careers.tufts.edu/student/resume/parts.htm
Name
Email
Home Address
City, State, Zip
Phone with area code
JOB OBJECTIVE (optional)
* A statement of what you want to do and the level at which you want to do it. Include the type of
industry, the level of responsibility, and your area of interest.
* If you have an objective, make it clear and specific. It is better not to have an objective than to have
one such as to obtain a challenging position which will allow me to use and contribute my education
and job experience.
EDUCATION
* List university, city and state, degree and major. Include honors and awards and study abroad
institutions.
* List courses especially if they are relevant to the job or internship in which you are interested.
EXPERIENCE
Traditionally done in reverse chronological order, your history should be more than a list of job titles and
descriptions.
* List organization, title, city and state, and dates.
* Use this section to market yourself. If something will help sell you, put it on. Otherwise leave it off. A
resume is not a job application -you don't have to account for everything you have ever done.
* Use action verbs when describing your experience. Use words like managed, facilitated, created, and
researched.
* Don't use long paragraphs.
* Think in terms of accomplishments from your previous experiences; dont merely describe tasks.
* Include volunteer work, academic, or extracurricular projects. This information can also be included in
a separate section.
* Dont use "I", "my" ... and other personal pronouns. Save these for the cover letter.
SKILLS
* Include computer, technical, or language skills.
* This is where you can list any special, job-related skills you may have. You can tailor this list to fit the
needs of the position for which youre applying.
ACTIVITIES (optional)
* You may also use titles such as "volunteer experience", "honors and awards", "professional
organizations", and "achievements".
* List college activities and student organizations. Include leadership roles and special events. You may
also list professional affiliations.
INTERESTS (optional)
* Optionally list your interests such at sports, travel. and hobbies. Be fairly specific and only list them if
you think they will help market you.
REFERENCES
* Do not put "References available on request". At the bottom of your resume. Have a separate
reference sheet available.

English for Civil Engineering

58

B. Content of a resume
The following page can help you with the format and content of a resume.
www.resume-now.com/Resume-Builder
. If some information is not relevant to you or the job, dont fill in the box. Afterwards you should edit your resume
to make sure that the content fits the job you want and your personal skills and abilities that are relevant to that job.
For example, you may have relevant responsibilities in a previous job that you want to describe in more detail.
You can find more information on the format and language of resumes on the following page:
The following pages have resume examples that you can use as a reference:
http://www.collegegrad.com/resumes/quickstart/agree.shtml
http://www.resume-resource.com/examples.html

C. Useful vocabulary for resumes


Fill the gaps with one of the following action verbs used to describe duties and functions in prior jobs and
experiences
administer
demonstrate
implement
participate
reorganize
analyze
design
increase
perform
supervise
complete
direct
initiate
found
review
conceive
evaluate
launch
program
revise
conduct
establish
create
propose
schedule
control
expand
lead
prove
reduce
coordinate
organize
motivate
provide
solve
a. We are a survey to find out what our customers think of their local bus service.
b. The UN is the distribution of aid to those areas worst affected by the fighting.
c. Although a job-sharing scheme was a year ago very few people have shown any
interest in it.
d. The meeting has been for tomorrow afternoon.
e. I that we wait until the budget has been announced before committing ourselves to any expenditure.

D. Write the resume for the job opening you have chosen
Go to the following address to write your CV online. After writing your resume you can send it to your own
computer using e-mail.

http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/es/home

4. Write a cover letter


A cover letter introduces you and your resume to an employer, and you should send a coyer letter with every resume
you submit. In your cover letter, state why you are writing, why you are the best person for the job, and when you
plan to contact your prospective employer.
A. Parts of a cover letter
Your letter should include:
Opening Paragraph
- State why you are writing.
Main Paragraph(s)
- Personalize your qualifications to the companys needs.
Explain why you are interested in working for the company.
Refer them to your resume.
Closing Paragraph
- Request an interview.
Suggest a date for the interview.
Thank the reader for their time.

English for Civil Engineering

59

Cover letter outline


Student's/Applicant's Address
Date of Letter
Employer's Name/ Employer's Title
Employer's Address
Dear (Mr, Ms, Dr, To Whom It May Concern):

Paragraph 1
Identify the position for which you are applying, where you saw the ad and/or how you learned of the
position. Clear information ensures that your resume gets to the right person.
I'm responding to your posting on www.website.com for the Multi-access Representative position
at your New Jersey headquarters.

Paragraph 2
Explain that you can perform the job, as you understand it, from details given in the job description.
Do this by outlining related assignments or accomplishments, and similarities to your current position.
Hit them with hard facts such as numbers, programs established, significant achievements, etc.
My qualifications appear to fit the position you've described:
I have over four years experience as a customer service rep in a multi-access center.
I have completed contact center courses in VoIP, Web call back, page push and more. I am fluent
in Spanish and English.
I have received Manpower's Circle of Excellence award for quality service in both 2003 and 2004.

Final Paragraph
Time to wrap it up. You can include any of the following in your final paragraph.
* Salary range you seek --only if the ad requested specification
* Geographic preferences, if appropriate
* Convenient interview times or when you can't be reached
* Necessity to keep your search confidential
Your final sentence should request an interview. For example:
I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss how my background and experience could benefit
your organization. My salary expectations range from the mid- to high-twenties. A resume is
enclosed for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely,

English for Civil Engineering

60

B. Language in cover letters


a. Paragraphs
The paragraphs in the following letter are out of order. Order them, taking into account the information that should
go in the opening paragraph, in the main paragraph(s) and in the closing paragraph.
13356 Eldridge Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342
December 1,2004
Ms. Karen Smith
Human Relations Department X
Xerox Company
P.O. Box 134
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Dear Ms. Smith:
As you can see, I have been working as a Computer Troubleshooter for several years. and in
addition have been taking courses at Los Angeles Mission College in the Computer Science
Department. I have now completed my courses and will graduate in January with my Associate
Degree and am interested in working for the Xerox Company.
I would like to schedule a meeting with you, and will call you next week to set up an
appointment.
In response to your ad for a Computer Technician in the November 30, 2004 edition of the Los
Angeles Times enclosed please find my resume for your consideration.
My previous experience includes computer networking, installation of software and
troubleshooting and repair of hardware. In addition, I am very well organized and have excellent
communication skills.

b. Key phrases
These are some useful key phrases to use in your own cover letters.
I believe I possess the right combination of skills.
As you will see from the enclosed resume/price list/etc. ...
I am hard-working/efficient/reliable/etc.
I am willing to learn/eager to develop/etc.
I am writing to apply/inquest/etc. ...
I can work efficiently/learn quickly/etc.
I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your review.
I look forward to your reply.
I would welcome the opportunity to personally discuss my potential contributions to your company with
you.
My current position has provided the opportunity to ...
My experience has given me a good command of English.
In which part of the letter would you place each of them?
a Opening paragraph
b Main paragraph
c Closing paragraph:

English for Civil Engineering

61

c. Adjectives
To describe your skills the following adjectives are useful:
accurate
active
adaptable
adept
broad-minded
competent
conscientious
creative tactful
determined
diplomatic
efficient
energetic
logical
loyal mature
enterprising
enthusiastic
experienced
firm honest
innovative
methodical
motivated
objective
outgoing sincere
pleasant
positive
practical
sensitive
reliable
resourceful
self disciplined
successful
Which adjectives correspond to the following definitions:
a. Friendly and energetic and finding it easy and enjoyable to be with others .
b. Able or deserving to be trusted .
c. Correct, exact and without any mistakes .
d. Someone who is good at thinking of and doing new and difficult things, esp. those that will make money
.
e. Working or operating quickly and effectively in an organized way .
f. Certain that you are going to do something, esp. when what you want to do is difficult; with your mind clearly
decided on a particular plan of action .
Which five qualities would you stress for the following jobs?
Design engineer .....
Manufacturing engineer
Computer instructor ......

5. Practice the job interview


Finally you have an appointment for an interview for the job you applied for.
A. General Job Interview Advice:
Before your interview find out everything you can about the company (for example read their annual report).
Read through your application form again, thinking about the questions they might ask you.
You should also prepare some questions to ask them.
To do well at the interview you will need to convince the interviewer you are qualified to do the job.
You will also need to show that you are sufficiently motivated to get the job done well and that you will fit in with
the company and the team in which you will work.
You should dress smartly for the interview and should leave home earlier than you need to on the day of the
interview -you may be delayed by traffic or for other reasons.
Be polite to all employees of the company.
At the interview itself you must be positive about yourself and your abilities - but do not waffle.
Job interview body language: When you are being interviewed it is very important that you give out the right
signals.
- You should always look interested -so do not slouch in your chair .
- Never lie to anyone in an interview, your body language and tone of voice or the words you use will probably
give you away -classic body language giveaways include scratching your nose and not looking directly at the
other person when you are speaking to them.
B. Questions you may want to ask an interviewer
The interview is a two-way process. The company interviewing you will want to find out whether you are suitable
for the position and you will want to find out if the company and position are right for you. You should therefore
ensure that you have enough information to make up your mind whether you want the job.

English for Civil Engineering

62

What will be my responsibilities?


Where will I fit into the overall organisational structure?
Who will I report to?
Where does he/she fit in the structure?
Who will report to me?
How experienced are they?
What do you expect me to do in the first 6 months?
What level of performance do you expect from me?
What are the chances of advancement/promotion in this position?
When?
What will be my salary, benefits and hbonuses?
Will travelling be required in this position?
Will relocation be required now or in the future?
What training do you provide?
When will you decide on the appointment?
What is the next step?
C. Interview Questions you may be asked:
Before attending an interview you should think about your responses to the following questions. Your answers may
depend on the job or company in question, so you should go through your responses just before each interview.
Why do you want this job?
Think carefully about this question. Talk about the positive aspects which have attracted you to applying for this
position. Do not mention the negative aspects of your current job or the job in question.
What qualities do you think will be required for this job?
Their advertisement for the job may help you a little bit, but you should also think of the other qualities that may
be required. These may include leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills,
problem solving, analytical skills, etc.
Why do you want to work for this company?
Emphasise the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or
shorter hours.
What do you know about this company?
This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Give them a run down of
their products or services, sales figures, news, company figures, customers, etc.
What interests you about our products (or service)?
Again, your research into the company should aid you in answering this question.
What can we (the new company) offer that your previous company cannot offer?
Do not mention money. Talk about opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, etc.
You have not done this sort of job before. How will you cope/succeed?
Say that you are the sort of person who aims to succeed at everything you do and that you are very determined
and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Why should we employ you?
The answer to this question will be based on your previous experience and achievements which relate to the
company. At the end you could add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job, and do ask the
interviewer for their opinion.
How ambitious are you?
Depending on the position you are applying for you may want to sound fairly ambitious, but do not look as if
you are after the interviewer's position.
What do you like and dislike about the job we are discussing?
Likes: stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company.
Dislikes: Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested.

English for Civil Engineering

63