Name: Teo Wei Ywin Matriculation No.: E0202166 Module: CE1102

Name: Teo Wei Ywin

Matriculation No.: E0202166

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Module: CE1102

 

Week 1 Summary

 

Importance of
Infrastructure to Nations

 

Infrastructure enables trading, business, the
connection of workers to their jobs, creation of jobs, boost for developing
communities to occur. As the backbone of a healthy economy, it also protects
the country from the rapidly changing and increasingly volatile natural
environment.

 

Resource depletion, population growth, water,
energy, food and biosecurity, urbanisation, poverty, and climate change all
imply that the society now has to have sustainable infrastructure that is fit
for purpose. The development of countries need to contribute to the needs of
the population without compromising the interests of future generations. It has
to respect environmental limits, enhance lives for people and also contributes
broadly to the economy.

 

Over the years, some developed nations have
focused on restoration projects. However, the scale of most restoration
projects is comparatively smaller than the degradation of the global
environment. The combination of infrastructure decay and the demand for
environmental restoration has since raised infrastructure decommissioning as a
key issue in environmental policy development in some developed nations,
particularly in the United States and western Europe.

 

Emerging Trends for
Infrastructure

With political unrest rising in many parts of
the world, the physical and cyber security of assets will only increase in
importance, particularly to individuals and users.

 

Amidst of the technological era, technological advances
will continue to drive ef?ciency in infrastructure operations and should lead
to better productivity, longer asset lives, fewer catastrophic failures and
improved safety.

 

Thoughts: Innovative way of construction such as
Pre-fabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) is an evidence for
game changing technologies occurring in the construction industry to boost
productivity to as high as 50% in terms of manpower and time-savings. In
Singapore, it is predicted that by 2019, 35% of newly launched housing board
projects will be built using PPVC.

 

 

Roles of Civil Engineers

 

The roles of civil engineers are to minimise
cost, deliver quality service and build sustainable infrastructure that have
acceptable environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Hence, systems thinking and
holistic approach to projects are increasingly being valued.

 

As the built environment is adapted to cope with
climate change, the low carbon economy, new technology and society’s
expectations, civil engineers will have to innovate (creating new products and processes).

 

Infrastructure projects can be carried out to
promote sustainability through:

1.    
New and better systems
(Using clean energy, co-generation plants, water reclamation plant)

2.     Rehabilitation and expansion of existing systems (Replacement of
leaking water pipes, development of Newater distribution system)

3.     Restructuring existing systems (Deep Tunnel Sewage System, New
windows and insulation for buildings)

4.    
Better management of
existing systems (Road congestion pricing, building management system)

 

Context: Singapore

 

Problem:

With the continuous increase in our population,
how are we going to make a long-term plan to accommodate people with no loss in
the quality of life, while in the meanwhile, think of new MRT lines and new bus
routes.

 

Consideration:

Consequences of climate change such as flash
floods cannot be avoided due to land constraints, it is vital to build the
infrastructure to a certain level of capacity. It is also pivotal to consider
the possibility of prolonged drought.

 

As the climate has been changing rapidly, it is
essential for authorities to take the necessary actions to reduce the risk of
flooding in Singapore even without the conclusion from scientists.

 

While developing infrastructure to boost the
economy, countries must also take in concern of the people’s interests by
carrying out the infrastructure development via a responsible and sustainable
way, such as taking caution not to deteriorate the natural environments. There
is an immense potential for countries to collaborate to improve economic and
social issues. Sharing of different infrastructure construction techniques
would help to solve the common problems faced by many countries more
efficiently.

 

Thoughts: To cope with the rising population,
there is an increase construction in concrete infrastructure. However, that also
implied that lesser water can be absorbed into the ground, leading to more frequency
of flash floods. Therefore, it is important for authorities to plan ahead and
increase capacity of the infrastructure and facilities to meet the rising
challenges.

 

Context: The United
States

 

Background:

In the upcoming years, infrastructure such as
seaports, air hubs, freight rail, border crossings and track routes will grow
increasingly importance to move the increase in exports efficiently daily.

 

Infrastructure is also important in the era of
energy diversification, to cater to specific types of energy and their
different needs. For instance, natural gas needs new trucks, pipeline and rail
networks for transportation purposes, rooftop solar panels would require
infrastructure for energy storage and the development of electricity grids.

 

Natural disasters drew attention to water
infrastructure. The nation’s system is now being rebuilt to capture storm and
rain water rather than diverting them away.

 

A number of cities are using several market
mechanisms to finance new or existing transportation projects. Some techniques
include impact fees where land developers are assessed a charge to support
associated public infrastructure improvements. The lease or sale of air rights
is another practice used to finance development around transit stations for
decades. Some developments are around the
Grand Central Station in New York, and in Boston and Dallas. Another
growing trend is the use of tax increment financing districts.

 

The government also came up with the public-private
partnerships (PPP), a complex agreement that collaborates both the public
sector and private enterprises to share the risk and costs of design,
construction, maintenance, financing and operations.

 

However, even PPP is not a one-size-fits-all solution,
especially for green infrastructure or public parks that are not profitable
enough.

 

Problem:

 

1.    
Increasing Urbanisation

Infrastructure in urban
areas must be able to not only serve numerous new customers, but also provide
job opportunities for the poorer, jobless residents.

a.    
Inadequate and ageing
infrastructure

 

Age is one of many factors that affect the
performance of infrastructure and its robustness against threats posed by
common environmental conditions, extreme natural hazards, and terrorism.
Infrastructure age often acts together with other factors such as design,
maintenance, and operation in increasing the vulnerability of infrastructure to
these threats.

 

The first step in understanding the role of age
in infrastructure resiliency and vulnerability is an analysis of the causes of
failure and the extent to which these causes can be related to age. It is well
known that some of the more devastating bridge collapses were not due to age
but rather to combinations of design, maintenance, operation, and the
environmental stresses.

 

Environmental factors can reinforce or perhaps
override age as a contributor to infrastructure failure. Examples of
environmental factors often cited as affecting underground infrastructure
include soil movement and pressure created by seasonal freeze-thaw cycles and
attack by biological or chemical agents in the underground environment.

 

Other environmental factors related more to
human actions include construction interference involving inadvertent breakages
of utility lines (backhoe failure), failure to back fill supporting material
for other infrastructure after construction, and breakages in water lines
during winter months that can cause freezing of water around other utilities
lines. Infrastructures that are in poorer condition due to age can be more
vulnerable to such environmental intrusions.

 

As bridges age, it is common to post bridges for
load limits and/or adjust the posted clearance of a structure. While these
limits are imposed with public safety in mind, these limits impede mobility
therefore emergency response capabilities. In addition to the potential
degradation of emergency response capability, a region could experience
negative economic effects due to the inability of vehicles to traverse a
certain route. These impacts are a threat to the security of the region because
it makes an otherwise benign target significantly more attractive to the
adversary.

 

 

b.    
Poor development plans
and growth

 

2.    
Increasing Environmental
Impact

a.    
Pollution from both
domestic and industrial waste

b.    
Urban sprawl

c.     
Catchment degradation

d.    
Traffic congestion

e.    
Air pollution

 

 

 

Causes of Infrastructure Failure:

 

1.    
Hazardous Liquid
Distribution Pipelines (External and internal corrosion)

2.     Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution

3.     Electric Power

4.     Bridges (It is well known that some of the more devastating bridge
collapses were not due to age but rather to combinations of design,
maintenance, operation, and the environmental stresses.)

5.    
Dams (The designated
hazard level and the presence of an emergency action plan for dams are
important in addressing vulnerabilities that may adversely affect the values
for measures of consequences, such as fatalities and injuries and economic
losses in case of a terrorist attack or a natural hazard.)

 

Consequences:

Although infrastructure increases economic
growth in a region as accessibility and its attractiveness boost, ill-planning
of infrastructure development can impede these development:

 

1.    
Inadequate
infrastructure maintenance results in an increase in costs to producers.

2.     Infrastructure affects the type of social structure developed for
a prolonged period.

3.    
Infrastructure
development and use have a prolonged impact on both the urban and natural
environments.

 

Context: China

 

Background:

Infrastructure
is the priority in China. It has transformed the China’s landscape and lifted
the economy by creating millions of jobs and demand for materials like cement
and steel. It’s airports, highways and railways have unlocked potential to do
business in China and make the lives of the people more comfortable for the
entire population.

Problem:

Infrastructure
debt is piling up. In Wenling, to fund the $1.5 billion highway project, it
uses the Industrial Fund. Traditionally, local government taps banks to fund on
their projects.

However, in
Industrial Fund, the city and the bank pull fund and the fund gets an indebted
city-run business or a contract to do construction. Then the fund seeks
industrial investment from the public to pay for the labour by promising them a
high return. The deal is supposed to pay for itself by creating economic
growth, but it is just a new way of borrowing and shifting risk to the public.
The government team with state-run banks and insurance companies to build. The
government calls it using social capital; the people’s money.

Now the
question increasingly is, how is the infrastructure construction paying for the
work and how is it necessary?

Thoughts: The government is coming up ways to
fund the huge infrastructure projects that require huge capital. For the United
States, the PPP; for China, the Industrial Fund. The governments recognise the
importance of infrastructure development, economically and socially. However,
they must also keep in mind an additional factor in infrastructure development;
its sustainability. Since most of the world is experiencing the problem of
depleting resources and the increasing population, it is vital for civil
engineers around the globe to share their game changing techniques to help
solve the 21st century problems.

 

 

 

 

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