ThinkCrete Series

Concrete: The Skills Inventory

ConcreteBasics.org thanks Mr S.M.Vaidya, for contributing this article for benefit of our readers.  Considered an authority on Concrete Theory & Practice, Mr Vaidya has written a Series of thought provoking articles on Concrete. Click Here to access complete list of articles under “ThinkCrete Series” 

In the arena of training, we focus on three inter-related aspects of human competence called Knowledge, skills and attitude. Without adequate knowledge, right skills cannot be acquired and good attitude does not work. Knowledge without skills is theoretical and right knowledge and skills can be wasted if not applied to the right end (attitude). Thus each has its own significance in making the holder of these traits as truly competent. However, in this article, I wish to focus on ‘skills’ and propose an inventory of skills related to concrete construction.

Skill, simply defined, is the ‘ability’ to carry out a task. It emphasizes action and not mere knowledge. Since concrete technology is an eminently practical science, skill plays an important role in the ability of an individual or an organization in producing good concrete. Not everybody needs to be able to do everything; we all have specific roles to play. Here is my view on who should be able to do what. Look at the list and depending on what you are [or what you aspire to be] make a self assessment. Organizations could use this frame work to assess skills available with their Engineers and develop training workshops for bridging the gaps.

The Concrete Skills inventory: Specific Skills required by construction officials for 8 main areas

1. TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
Specific Skill Required by
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
Ability to write technical specs Yes May Be No No
Ability to understand tech specs Yes Yes Yes Why Not
Ability to identify difference between tech specs & applicable codes Yes Yes Yes No
Ability to decide applicability, change specs. Etc. Yes May Be No No
2. CONCRETE MIX DESIGNS
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
Decide requirement of properties & select materials as in put to mix design Yes Yes Yes No
Carry out mix design calculations Yes Yes No No
Carry out lab trials of the designed mixes Yes Yes No Yes
Approve mix design Yes Yes No No
Translate design mix into batch quantities & adjust for moisture No Yes Yes Yes
3. PLANNING
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
Ability to develop detailed pour plans concrete pours Yes Why Not Yes May Be
4. CONCRETING RESOURCES
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
To calibrate batching plants No Yes Yes No
To test batching plants / mixer efficiency No Yes Yes No
Inspect and pre qualify RMC vendors Yes Yes Yes No
5. Materials
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
To test / select / approve source of materials Yes Yes Yes No
To conduct routine test on materials No Yes Why Not Yes
To conduct special advance tests No Yes No No
To develop sampling and testing plans Yes Yes No No
6. PRODUCTION
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
Ability to inspect pre pour arrangements and approve pour (pour card ) No Yes Yes Yes
Ability to supervise concreting operations from mixing till finishing & curing No Yes Yes Yes
Ability to troubleshoot mistakes/unexpected events Yes Yes Why Not No
Ability to draw samples, conduct slump test Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ability to interpret slump test resultand take required action Yes Yes Yes No
Ability to conduct test of concrete temperature Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ability to develop compressive strength test sampling plan Yes Yes No No
Ability to sample concrete and prepare cube samples No Yes Yes Yes
Ability to troubleshoot in case of any untoward incident Yes Yes Why Not No
7. POST PRODUCTION
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
Ability to decide stripping time Yes Yes Yes Why Not
Ability to test cube samples Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ability to interpet test results Yes Yes Why Not No
Ability to troubleshhot in case of inadequate strength result Yes Why Not No No
8. General
Concrete Expert QA/QC In-Charge Site Engineers Foremen / Lab Technician
To promote all round improvement in concrete construction by training Yes No No No
To generate new ideas and test/assess new applications related to concrete technology Yes No No No

The inventory most probably is not exhaustive; readers may add any specific requirement that has been missed out or add another group of Engineers. If one wants to complicate the matter, each skill could also be graded to have different levels of abilities! Finally, everyone may have their opinion on who should have what skill. If indeed those practicing concrete production have such diversity of views, the basic idea behind this article would have been served; that is to bring the subject in focus and provoke thoughts about it!

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