Category Archives: Construction

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, in the Quechua language means ‘old peak’, is one of the most famous tourist destinations all over the world. It is a 15th century Inca site located 2,430 meters above sea level in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru. It is situated on the mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 km northwest of Cuzco and through where the Urubamba River flows. The natural setting on the eastern slopes of the Andes encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but was abandoned during the time of Spanish Conquest. Locals knew the city, but Spaniards weren’t able to reach the place and remained unknown. However, it was introduced to the world by an American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981. In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

machu picchu

machu picchu

This historical site is the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire during the peak of its power and achievement. Several archaeologists believe that it was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472). Landscape engineering skills are in strong evidence at Machu Picchu with the site’s buildings, giant walls, terraces, and ramps that reclaim the step mountainous terrain and make the city blend naturally into the rock escarpments on which it is situated. Some of the buildings included palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms, and some 150 houses. In addition to these structures, the city also has 700-terraces that preserved the soil, promoted agriculture, and served as a part of an extensive water-distribution system that conserved water and limited erosion on the steep slopes. All of the structures were carved from the gray granite of the mountain top, which is a wonder for both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the insertion of even a thin knife blade. The Inca’s achievements and skills are very impressive because some 500 years ago they had no iron, no steel, and no wheels. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. Until today, restoration continues to be done in the city.

The most important structures at Machu Picchu are:

machu picchu

machu picchu

  • Temple of the Sun: This is also called the Torreon. It has an elliptical design similar to a sun temple found at the Inca capital of Cuzco. The rock inside the temple could have served as an altar.
  • Temple of Three Windows: This is an important structure because it is near the main Plaza, which is one of the points with greater spiritual value for civilization.
  • Temple of the Condor: Inside the temple, there is a rock carved in the shape of the condor’s head and neck feathers. Historians speculate that the Inca used the head of the condor as a sacrificial altar.
  • Intihuatana Stone: It means “Hitching Post of the Sun”. It was an astronomical observation device used to determine the exact periods for different festivals and celebrations of importance in the Inca religion.

Machu Picchu is one of the greatest architectural designs in our history. Furthermore, Incas were able to build the city without using mechanical devices that we have now. The enchanting city is definitely in everyone’s list of places that they want to visit. So if you are planning to go here, you can read about other people’s trip through their blogs and learn how you can fully enjoy your vacation in Machu Picchu. If you have your own blog, you can increase your visitors by buying website traffic. There is information about website traffic on

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Types Of Foundation In Construction

deep foundations

deep foundations

Construction of building definitely involves foundation because it transfers the weight of the building to the ground. The term “foundation” is a general word with every building having a number of individual foundations called as footings. Since the weight of the building rests on the soil or rock, engineers have to study first the properties of the soil very carefully to ensure that it can carry the loads imposed by the building by determining the ‘safe bearing capacity’ or SBC. Different depths of soil have different capacity. Generally, the greater the depth, the greater SBC there is. The soil must be very firm and strong to properly support a building. Thus, building contracts will dig until they reach a very firm, strong, soil that cannot be dug up easily before constructing a foundation.

Foundations are divided into two categories: shallow and deep foundations, which refer to the depth of soil which the foundation is made. Shallow foundations can be made in depths as little as 3 feet or 1 meter, and is used for small, light buildings. While, deep foundations can be made at depths of 60 up to 200 feet or 20 to 65 meters, and are used for large, heavy buildings.

• Shallow Foundations

These are also spread footings or open footings. The term ‘open’ is used due to the fact that the foundations are made by first excavating all the earth materials until the bottom of the footing, and then constructing the footing. In the early stages of work, the entire footing is visible to the eye, therefore called an open foundation. In cold climates, it is important to protect the foundation from freezing because the water in the soil around it can freeze and expand, thereby damaging the foundation. Shallow foundation should be built below the frost line, the level in the ground above which freezing occurs. As an alternative, the foundation can be protected by insulation. It can be done by providing little heat from the building that will permeate into the soil and prevent freezing. Examples of this type of foundations are: individual footings, strip footings, and raft foundations.

• deep foundations

One example of this is pile foundation, where a pile or a long cylinder of a strong material like concrete is pushed into the ground so that the structures can be supported on top of it. This kind of deep foundation is used when: there is a layer of weak soil at the surface and the layer cannot support the weight of the building; or when a building has very heavy, concentrated loads like in a high rise structure.

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Ancient Architectural Wonders

1. Gobekli Tepe

gobekli tepe

gobekli tepe

Back in the 1960s, surveyors in Turkey found an ancient buried complex composed of huge stone pillars arranged in a circle like Stonehenge, some of them 30 feet tall.

So those massive, ornate limestone pillars were carefully carved from a nearby quarry using hunks of flint rock and their bare hands.

Having been dated to around 9000 B.C., Gobekli Tepe is thought to be the oldest human construction.

2. Puma Punku

puma punku

puma punku

Pumapunku is a city built by the Tiwanaku people of ancient Bolivia. What sets it apart from just any old ancient city is the almost weird precision of the stonework that would make modern builders envious.

Using an unknown technology, they pioneered a kind of construction that used hundreds of large, identical building blocks to make buildings like you and I would make a house out of LEGO.

To keep the buildings structurally sound, they even used a form of metal I-cramps similar to what we would use today to keep the giant blocks in place in case of an earthquake.

3. The Ancient Marib Dam

the ancient marib dam

the ancient marib dam

Yemen is a country rich in dust and poor in water, which is why in ancient times the empire that controlled it, the Sabaens, built a great dam in 750 B.C.

The dam was regarded one of the greatest feats of engineering of the pre-industrial age. The Sabaens managed all this before the existence of concrete, and their dam stood for over 1,000 years.

The Great Dam of Marib was about 2,000 feet long and while it stood, it converted ancient Yemen into a fertile oasis.

4. Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni

hypogeum of hal-saflieni

hypogeum of hal-saflieni

On the island of Malta is a prehistoric underground megalithic structure known awesomely as the Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni. It was discovered by accident in 1902 when some workers were digging a hole and broke through the ceiling.

The three-level underground structure is made entirely out of megalithic stones. What surprised people even more was when they found out that male voice could reverberate throughout the entire complex if the person was standing in a certain spot.

5. Derinkuyu’s Massive, Ancient Underground City

derinkuyu's massive, ancient underground city

derinkuyu’s massive, ancient underground city

Derinkuyu’s underground city was discovered in the 1960s in Turkey, when a modern house above ground was being renovated.

Hidden for centuries right under everyone’s noses, Derinkuyu is just the largest of hundreds of underground complexes built.

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Construction Engineering

Construction engineering is a professional discipline that involves the designing, planning, construction, and management of infrastructures, such as: highways, bridges, airports, railroads, buildings, dams, and utilities.

Construction engineers are like a combination of civil engineers and construction managers. They learn the designing aspect like civil engineers and the construction site management functions like construction managers. Construction manager specifically focuses on construction procedures, methods, and people management. Their primary concern is to deliver the project on time, within budget, and its desired quality. On the other hand, civil engineer concentrates more on the design work, essentially requiring them to take a multitude of design courses.

construction engineering

For a construction engineer, they have the ability to take the Professional Engineer licensure exam that will give them the title of engineer. They take design courses as well as construction management courses. Therefore, construction engineer should understand both the design function and the building requirements needed to design the build an infrastructure at the same time. They should be able to create infrastructure that best meets the unique demands of its environment, understand infrastructure life cycles, and have the perspective to solve technical challenges with clarity and imagination. Therefore, a construction engineer should have a strong understanding of math and science, and other skills that include critical and analytical thinking, time management, people management, and good communication skills.

If you wanted to pursue a career as a construction engineer, the entry-level position is typically called project engineers or assistant project engineers. They are responsible for preparing purchasing requisitions, processing change orders, preparing monthly budgeting reports, and handling meeting minutes. For this career, it is not necessary to acquire a Professional Engineer license, but it can be good for your career and will make you more preferable than other candidates for the job. Note that it is strongly advised to sit for the Engineer in Training exam or EIT while you are in college because it takes four to five years post graduate to obtain the PE license.

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