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2023-08-22

Building? Sustainably, please!

Today, Moritz Menge is our guest again! We talk about the second edition of his book and important topics in the construction industry. How can we avoid mistakes on a construction site? You can find out that and much more in this new episode of the Dlubal Podcast!

The topic of civil engineers and, in general, engineers in the construction industry is requested by you over and over again: Understandable, as it is really exciting! For this reason, our today's guest is in our podcast for the second time, and we are really happy about it. You can read the first interview with Moritz Menge in our blog.

Blog 000022 | Bridge Construction Begins in the Mind

Moritz is a civil engineer in bridge construction and is passionate about his job. He would also like to pass on this enthusiasm to other colleagues in the industry. Therefore, he wrote a book, which we talked about in our last interview. Now, a second edition has been published and we are already excited: Tell us something about it!

Passion in Second Edition

His twenty years as a civil engineer predestined him to build bridges in engineering. His main concern is that the planning and construction itself are becoming more and more digital, however, people still work with each other. People make mistakes, and it comes to tensions and misunderstandings. At the same time, the footprint of the construction industry is devastating for the climate, and thus for our planet.

  • We build great structures together with other professionals. Due to their qualification and approach, these colleagues often tick differently than we are used to as engineers."

So we can assume a general communication problem between the individual people involved in the construction. Engineers in particular are asked to take a leading role and to gather all these different people, who bring different knowledge into an ultimately successful project team.

Young engineers are often more far-seeing, especially with regard to the climate compatibility of the construction industry and cooperation in a team. However, they often lack the experience to implement their plans and ideas. Moritz would like to help here.

His book was selling quite well, and therefore, the publishing house proposed a second edition of the non-technical book: It's understandable, as non-fiction books for engineers are rather a rarity. For fans of our podcast, it is interesting that an audio book will also be included.

Civil Engineers with Great Responsibility

When we ask Moritz what responsibilities a civil engineer has on a project, he takes a deep breath. Because there are some. Above all, an engineer is responsible for his own work, of course. He must be able to guarantee the quality of his own actions:

  • "What do I do with what I have learned? How do I use this?"

However, he is not only responsible for his own job and the construction project. He also has to keep an eye on society. Large construction projects are usually paid for by the public sector, that is, tax money. Of course, nothing should be wasted here in order to end up with a building that really serves a community purpose.

Furthermore, there is the much-discussed influence of the construction industry on our environment and climate, of course. The CO2 footprint of the construction is a major problem worldwide. However, this is often forgotten or ignored: There is also a great lever to take in the opposite direction.

Bridge Construction Begins in the Mind

Now, we discuss some interesting chapters of his book. There are exciting topics already being addressed, which we have already encountered in our podcast: It's right, because talking about it is essential for our industry.

Engineers as Managers

In the construction industry, we have the particularity that executives, also managers or managing directors, are usually engineers themselves. This has many advantages. For example, they can go ahead with their own knowledge in direct contact with the customer and set the course for a successful project without having to seek advice from outside. Furthermore, an engineering manager knows the tasks of his or her engineering colleagues much better.

  • A passionate engineer can also passionately lead his company or department from the inside."

However, a manager has to be trained first. They master their own technical expertise without any problems, but some soft skills are often missing for the successful management of employees.

Engineers and Error Management

Mistakes happen, it's normal. In engineering, however, serious mistakes can have dire consequences. It is often about safety of life, health, and the financial aspect. Moritz explains to us how engineers can deal with mistakes:

  • Creating quality loops
  • Open dealing with mistakes without blaming each other
  • Recognizing the sources of error and limiting possible consequences
  • Learning from mistakes and developing further

Structural Engineering is Incompatible with Stress

Moritz heard this phrase from a client and adopted it himself. A good planning quality is always the most important, especially in the case of safety. Time pressure and stress are counterproductive, of course. When a team is in danger of slipping into a hectic rush, it is necessary to act to set realistic goals.

Engineers and Lawyers in Construction and Planning Process

Lawyers are very important for planning and construction of building projects. Engineers, building contractor representatives, and lawyers are often only sitting at the table together when it comes to blaming each other.

Here, Moritz recommends that lawyers should be involved in the planning processes as early as possible. In this way, any later problems can be prevented in advance with the preventive knowledge of a lawyer.

Mediator in Construction

In his role as a mediator, Moritz wants to help ensure that conflicts are avoided or moved towards a solution at an early stage. As an impartial supporter, he proactively helps all disputants to work out the process for a solution structure together.

Above all, it is important to him that everyone takes a step back and look at the big picture in order to communicate successfully with each other. This is the only way to find a common solution, which is to create a win-win situation.

Future of Construction

He thinks that dealing with the climate change and digitization are the important topics today. He also touches them in his book. As is the issue of the shortage of skilled workers.

Since the construction industry often seems and is rather conservative, it attracts fewer young people than other industries. It is necessary to create such structures that further promote enthusiasm for a profession in the construction industry.

In the future, he would wish that the planning of construction projects would be given more attention, space, and time. Changing or remodeling something subsequently takes not only time, but also energy and costs. Cost, personnel, and time pressure not only make planning ineffective, but can also cause subsequent problems during the construction that should not arise.

  • If we put more energy into careful design, our construction projects could be better in many ways."

Working out solutions requires diverse approaches. After all, a construction site is most efficient when the planning could be done clearly and thoughtfully beforehand. Moritz sees the planning of a building as a kind of work preparation for the implementation on the construction site. The more has been considered in advance, the less overwork has those who should implement this planning in the end.

Moritz, what is your favorite building?

The answer is still the same. His favorite building is the bridge in Mostar, the world-famous Stari most. It leads over the Neretva River and connects the Christian and Muslim districts of Mostar.

When he saw it in 1986, the original was still standing before it was destroyed and rebuilt. In 2006, he had the opportunity to look at the faithful replica again. Bridges connect people and it is a memorial against war. A really impressive structure. Thank you for being with us, Moritz!


Author

As a copywriter in marketing, Ms. Ruthe is responsible for creating creative texts and gripping headlines.

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