3D PRINTING -REAL REVOLUTIONIST IN CONSRUCTION INDUSRTY

 

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Some few months ago I had an appointment with Moi University Radio station (MU FM) to discuss 3D printing. Even though I had some commitment and failed to attend the interview, the 3D PRINTING IDEA (an idea that is still new to many) drew my interest. The result of my curiosity proved terrific and eye opening to where the world is HEADING, in all dimensions of life.

3D printing, or rather Additive manufacturing, the very idea of one Chuck Hull was founded in 1984. And ever since, the world’s technologies that is aligned to presentation and visualization have been changed a great deal. The technology has been used in offices and homes for creating models, and recently, the Construction industry.

The idea of printing 10 housing units within 24 hours leaves one wondering how this is even possible.

This fete is no longer a dream.

Thanks to WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co., that used a massive 490-foot-long, 33-foot-wide, and 20-foot-deep 3D printer to print cheap concrete.
The various structural components can be fabricated either on site or off-site then joined together with the highest level of accuracy. Currently Winsun’s approach is the most efficient. Time will tell if it will stand the test.

The question then becomes. Can we scale down a building, and model it with a material/ material whose engineering properties are similar to those of the building to be erected? And if so, subject it to simulated forces and characteristic loads that are to be expected in that given environment?

For example, in a wind tunnel test, simulated earthquake loads, and if necessary internal loads? If the building then meets its structural integrity, then it can simply be called a structural analysis and design by experimental verification method.

Or something of that sort.

That’s my thought.

3D printing in construction has been tested, and proven an economic and time efficient method of construction, and should be adopted in engineering faculties in Africa and the world over to prepare future engineers for this technology in industry.

This is just a shift from classical methods of construction into the modern futuristic era, where time, structural integrity and cost are becoming a must have for every construction project.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A CIVIL ENGINEER?

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Here’s a little tale of four young interns who are working for a reputable company here in our great city of Nairobi. As you may assume, all are students doing Civil Engineering from the “Big Three” in Engineering Studies. In order of superiority these are Moi University, Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology (JKUAT) and University Of Nairobi (UON).

Anyhow onto serious business, I happened to ask these four why they chose to pursue this degree and the answers were as baffling as they were interesting, but before that let me give some highlights on Civil Engineering.

There has been a myriad of definitions spewed around about this profession. Some of them (with some hidden truth) are:

Mechanical engineers build weapons; Civil engineers build targets.

• The existence of vowels is one of the important facts of civil engineering. It helps them change bulldogs (bldg) into buildings and many other miraculous feats! All engineering students should know how to include vowels in their work.

• Most civil engineering projects are very mundane. Subdivision grading, drainage projects, roadway design, retaining walls… creative and really cool bridge projects (the sexiest part of civil engineering) are very, very, very few and far between.

• If you get pleasure in designing the ordinary things that everybody needs and you never knew then – civil engineering is for you!

Civil engineering is a practical discipline whose application is easy to see. This is because the discipline is everywhere.

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I mean let’s take an example of the President of Kenya. He has woken up from his beautiful sleep in his palatial home in which an engineer had designed.
He then proceeds to the bathroom where he relieves himself, takes a shower, brushes and maybe drinks some water for that good old morning rejuvenation exercise. All those four activities would not have been done if the waste and water system that operated the appliances had not been designed by an engineer.

After dressing up he gets a phone call from his fellow president of Buganda, who happens to be camping by the road for some good old network. As for the people who are second guessing the relevance of this tale of civil engineering being omnipresent, my answer is…. Wait for it…. A big cookie for the person who said yes to a civil engineer promoting communication.

Later on ,he heads to JKIA to board a plane that has to use a runway for ‘Rais’ and join his fellow African honourables for an AU summit in Rwanda at 11 am! All these wonderful inventions of Mr Engineer has enabled Mheshimiwa to run the country comfortably and it’s not even noon yet. This Engineer guy needs a Nobel prize, eh?

The point I’m trying to pass across is that Civil Engineering is as easy as saying ABC.

It is everywhere!

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It’s soaring in the air in the form of dizzying skyscrapers, as it is on the grounds in the form of roads and below the earth in terms of foundations, underground tunnels and retaining walls.

However as easy as it is to understand its application, it is also quite overwhelming to explain what Civil Engineers do. It’s like trying to feed a whole cow to a baby. It simply is too much to consume all at once.

So the baby has to be patient for the cow to be slaughtered, its parts stored in the refrigerator where it will be fed slowly to the very last bite. 

In the coming articles, I will introduce you to the world of Civil and Structural Engineering and show you why it’s the most interesting thing. Ever!

Now back to the four guys I’d asked for their justification on pursuing Civil Engineering. All of them gave confused answers.
The first one wanted to show his utmost love to the car of his dreams by constructing a beautiful and comfortable paved road.
The second wanted to emulate Michael Schofield (of Prison Break) who was a Civil Engineer in the show. The third simply confused Civil Engineering with Architecture.
However, the last gave the most interesting reason: ‘My marks guided me there’. Is that too much power you’ve given to two digits to determine your entire life?

As confused as my colleagues were about the awkward answers they’d given, I asked another question: ‘Do you regret your choice?’

In unity, they all sang ‘NO!’

Don’t mind the critics and the confusion you may have about this profession. If you are willing to take a chance of a lifetime and have a wanderlust for adventure then Civil Engineering is a fine bet.

Sam

Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS)

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Kenya has once again been ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, with the newest Transparency International (TI) report ranking it at position 139 out of 168 countries.
According to the 2015 Corruption Perception Index released by TI on Wednesday, Kenya retained the same score, 25 points of a possible 100, it had in 2014.

Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) was launched in Kenya in 2003 by the Kenyan government,to bring into light the procurement process undertaken for most government projects  and an effort to curb the runaway embezzlement of funds that was being experienced in government at the time.

This however only introduced limited modules with other financial operations remaining manual. Which later lead to the re-engineering of  IFMIS in 2011 to include a full cycle end-to-end integrated approach.

IFMIS is an automated system that enhances efficiency in planning budgeting, procurement, expenditure management and reporting in the National and county governments in Kenya.

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What exactly does IFMIS do?

An IFMIS stores, organizes and makes access to financial information easy. It not only stores all the financial information relating to past and current years spending, but also stores the approved budgets for those years, details on inflows and outflows of funds, as well as complete inventories of financial assets and liabilities.

The core of the system is general ledger. Every transaction entered into the system posts on the general ledger.

Benefits of IFMIS

1. Enables efficient resource allocation mechanism.
Improves management information for decision making.

2.Establishes effective links between key players in accounting and financial management.
3. Enhances development partners confidence.
4.It accelerates the pace/scope of economic growth.

How IFMIS enhances transparency

• Automated identification of exceptions to normal operations.

• Patterns of suspicious activity.

• Automated cross referencing of personal or vendor identification numbers for fraud.

• Cross referencing of asset ownership with tax return entries for local tax payments, identifying scofflaws.

• Identification of ghost workers.

• Cross reference asset inventories with equipment purchase to detect theft.

• Automate and strengthen cash disbursement rules to minimize risk of theft of public funds.

Challenges of using IFMIS.

The system assumes the corruption is detectable. Corruption which arise from abuse of office, where employees take bribes to perform public duties or for special consideration, is outside IFMIS.
It assumes, data entry and incentives for accurate recording are in place. In 2013 the ministry of energy was asked to explain discrepancies in its 2010/2011 expenditure worth about 12 billion. The only explanation that the officials could come up with was that they had resulted from errors in the governments IFMIS.
New corruption opportunities arise from the implementation of IFMIS. This is due to the monopoly of information access and control. IFMIS requires knowledge and skills of ICT in operating and maintaining the system,locking out those without I CT skills.

The mythical image of computers as objective, all-seeing, all-knowing machines, may cause some staff to refrain from corrupt behavior. However those who understand computers with corrupt motive will take advantage of the vacuum of surveillance.

There is also concerns of the system being hacked either from inside or outside. This is very evident in the situation of Malawi, where IFMIS was used to steal billions.

In conclusion, the system is only as good as the people handling it. IFMIS is a good financial tool for developing countries. It can limit corruption to some extent.
A country founded on corruption like Kenya has alot to improve on.

We can change a financial system but we can’t change the morals of the people handling it.

IFMIS is a call to arms against the decadence that is corruption and embezzlement. A very small yelp, but a call none the less.

Vera.

CHOOSE YOUR FUTURE

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It could just be a day’s weather forecast or it could be a climate change to affect the generations to come. Either way, we have seen it early enough and as things stand,the African winter is here.

However, unlike the El Nino, if this trend is maintained, we could hit sub-zero in 14 months, maybe less.
It doesn’t take a political analyst to notice that shots have been fired and if the issue is left unattended to, we are bound to plunge into war, a war within our borders, the second of its magnitude within a decade.

This consistency could prove detrimental especially given that we are a nation in its infantry and a dent acquired during childhood could be hard to erase, even in adulthood. The only difference in this case is that this is no dent. Instead, it is a deep cut through the chest to the spinal cord.

Our ‘leaders’ are making careless utterances that could be the trigger. The next thing will be sending us to the battlefield, fighting amongst ourselves.

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We stake our lives,they gain political capital.They stand a chance of winning themselves a reputation among their ‘peers’ in the ‘African Olympics of most inefficient democracy’ while we juggle higher costs of living and slain friends and relatives. It’s like tossing a coin. Only difference? They win everytime

They stake their reputation, we stake our lives.

We could sit back and play as  pawns on a chessboard. We will take their orders like trained  dogs and do whatever we are told without any rationalization.
We go to war and destroy property, kill that neighbour who gave us a loan, when all the banks sought security we did not have, and our ‘leaders’ had gone abroad to offload their hefty salaries.
That awesome kid whose brain has the cure of cancer in it might be your first victim. When the pangas are finally too blunt to chop, they sit round a table and dine then declare peace.

We go to work but there is nobody to work with or work for, they are either mourning or being mourned. You go back home to your family, your siblings were killed in the ‘unfortunate’ clashes and now you have to cater for your nieces and nephews too.

People did not just wake up to find civil wars in their countries. It all came gradually. A lot of warning signs were overlooked and when they came to fruition, they could not stop it. We may end up being the citizens being sent from other countries citing insecurity, or influx of our kind. Our neighbouring countries might even erect a wall at our boundaries.
Alternatively, we could choose to be tribe-all and opt not to be divided along  ethnic lines. We could boycott rallies hosted by the warlords and watch their divisive minds react to our decisive minds.
On the day when our opinion really matters, we could weed out the seeds of ethnicity, development redundancy and the intellectually primitive amongst the ranks of our leaders.

Alternatively, we could choose to be tribe-all and opt not to be divided along our ethnic lines.

Choose peace, choose your future.

Freak.