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Thumb Rules For Civil Engineers

Thumb Rules For Civil Engineers is essential for any civil engineer, Site engineer or civil
supervisor. They play a crucial role while taking quick decisions on site. Thumb rules
help you in finding out the solution using a simple mathematical formula and make
smart decisions whenever needed. But, while using these thumb rules, you must
remember that the thumb rule never gives the exact or accurate results, you just have
used them for approximate results.

There are numbers of thumb Rules For Civil Engineers which we used in construction
work. So, following are some most frequently used Thumb rules on Construction site.

The Thumb rule method is an approximate & comparing method. In thumb rules and
the units are not the same when we compare to get the results. So, ignore units while
performing thumb rule.

Thumb rule for estimating the Concrete Volume with respect to the

The volume of concrete required = 0.038 m3/square feet area


If Plan Area = 40 x 20 = 800 Sq. Ft.

So, for the plan area of 800 Sq. Ft. area the total volume of concrete required

= 800 x 0.038m3 = 30.4m3

Thumb rule for Steel quantity required for Slab, Beams, Footings &

Steel required in residential buildings = 4.5 Kgs – 4.75 Kgs / Sq. Ft.

Steel required For Commercial buildings = 5.0 Kgs-5.50 Kgs/Sq. Ft.

you can also use BN Datta recommendations for the more accurate result:

The following recommendations Thumb Rules For Civil Engineersare given in B N Datta
for the Steel quantity used in different members of the building
Percentage of Steel in Structural Members:

1) Slab – 1% of the total volume of concrete

2) Beam – 2% of the total volume of concrete
3) Column – 2.5% of total volume of concrete
4) Footings – 0.8% of the total volume of concrete


How to calculate the steel quantity of slab having the Length, width, and depth of the
slab is 5m x 4m x 0.15m

Step 1: Calculate the Volume of Concrete

The Total Volume of Concrete for given Slab = 5 x 4 x 0.15

= 3m3

Step 2: Calculate the steel quantity using formula

As per the guidelines are given in B N Dutta reference book the steel quantity of slab is
1% of the total volume of concrete utilized.

Thumb rule to estimate Steel quantity of above slab = Volume of Concrete x Density of
Steel x % of Steel of Member

Steel weight required for above slab = 3 x 7850 x 0.01 = 235Kgs

For accurate estimation, you can refer to Bar Bending Schedule

Thumb Rules For Civil Engineers to estimate the Shuttering area:

Shuttering costs is taken as 15-18% of the total construction of the

building. Shuttering work is done to bring the concrete in Shape. Thumb rule to
estimate the shuttering required is 6 times the quantity of concrete or 2.4 times
of Plinth area.

For example, the concrete quantity is 0.5m3, then

Area of Shuttering is 0.5 x 6 = 3m2

Components of Shuttering:-

The Shuttering plate Ply, Battens, Nails are components of Shuttering.

Shuttering Ply Quantity estimation:

Suppose, The shuttering Ply has a length, width & depth of 2.44 x 1.22 x 0.012

The No. of Shuttering Ply sheets = 0.22 times of Shuttering

Suppose, the shuttering area = 3m

Then Ply required for shuttering = 0.22 x 3 = 0.66m2

Battens Quantity Calculation:

Shuttering batten usually have a length & width of 75mm x 40mm.

Batten Quantity = 19.82 x No. of Ply Sheets

If work requires 25 Ply sheets, the total quantity of Battens are 19.82 x 25 = 495

Nails & Binding Wire Quantity in Shuttering:

Approximately, 75 gams of Nails used in shuttering of 1m2 area.

75gms of Binding wire is used for every 1m2 of Shuttering.

Thumb rule for Shuttering oil estimation :

Shuttering oil is apply on shuttering plate surface used to de-frame or de-assemble

from the concrete easily.

Total required Shuttering oil = 0.065 x Total Area of Shuttering


For every 15m2 of shuttering 1 liter of shuttering oil is consumed.

Example :

If, total area of shuttering is 15 m2, then Shuttering oil Consumption = 0.065 x 15 =

Building Estimation videos

Thumb rule used for Cement, Sand, Coarse Aggregate Quantity in

Different grades of Concrete :

Note: 1 bag of cement = 50Kgs

Thumb rule for Cement required in Brickwork, Cement Masonry & Plastering work in

Thumb Rules For Civil Engineers for Brickwork:

Brickwork for 1m3 Cement Qty in m3 Cement Qty in Bags

230 mm Brickwork 0.876m3 25.4 Bags

115 mm Brickwork 0.218m3 6.32 Bags

Thumb Rules For Civil Engineers for Cement

Masonry Quantity:
Cement Masonry Type & Mix Cement Qty in Bags Cement Qty in Kgs

200mm in Cement Masonry work

0.124Bags/m2 6.2Kgs/m2
of ratio 1:6

150mm in Cement Masonry work

0.093Bags/m2 4.65Kgs/m2
of ratio 1:6

200mm in Cement Masonry work

0.206Bags/m2 10.3Kgs/m2
of ratio 1:4
150mm in Cement Masonry work
0.144Bags/m2 7.2Kgs/m2
of ratio 1:4

100mm in Cement Masonry work

0.103Bags/m2 5.15Kgs/m2
of ratio 1:4

Thumb Rules Plastering Quantity :

Type of Plastering Cement Qty in Bags Cement Qty in Kgs

Rough Plastering 0.09 Bags/m2 4. 5Kgs/m2

Internal Wall Plastering 0.09 Bags/m2 4.5 Kgs/m2

Duct Plastering 0.09 Bags/m2 4.5 Kgs/m2

External Wall plastering 0.175 Bags/m2 8.75 Kgs/m2

Stucco Plastering 0.175 Bags/m2 8.75 Kgs/m2

Lathen Plastering 0.55 Bags/m2 27.5 Kgs/m2

Tips for Civil Site Engineers

Some tips for Civil Site Engineers, this tips can prove important when you don’t hve any
measurement at site or its is not possible to use them every time.

On site measure tricks are important because we do not always have the necessary
measurement tools available. Normally , we required take the measurements of
different objects on daily basis. It is not possible have the measuring tools, such as tape
measure, ruler, or protractor, with us.
For that situation , I will give you tricks for measuring different dimensions such as
length and degrees.

Lets, Consider one example if you see your thumb and your index finger, the length
between them will be roughly 18 to 19 centimeters.

Similarly , if you open the thumb and the little finger instead, you will get additional 2
centimeters for a total of about 20 centimeters. This is important tips for civil site
engineers, site engineer for contactor.

But, it is fact human hands are different sizes, so this method is just a way to measure
the approximate length.

Furthermore, If you want to measure degrees with hand, you can do that also, observe
below photo.

you can see that your thumb and your little finger exactly make 90 degree, when you
spread them on ground.

Calculation F. S. I. of Your House

And if you spre&+ad all other fingers, you can also measure 60 degrees, 45 degrees,
and 30 degrees with this method.

Similarly, If you put 4 finger together you can measure distance of 3 ” (inches) or 8
Centimeters approximately.

And if you put 2 fingers together, you can measure distance of 1 1/2″(inches) or 4

Watch video of Buildings Estimation in excel

Some vital information and formulas for civil

This exclusive construction article is intended for civil engineering students. The article provides
some vital information and formulas regarding weight of steel bars per meter, weight of engineering
materials, standard conversion factors, concrete grades etc.
Weight of steel bars per meter

 For 6 mm dia bar, the weight will be 0.222 kg

 For 8 mm dia bar, the weight will be 0.395 kg
 For 10 mm dia bar, the weight will be 0.616 kg
 For 12 mm dia bar, the weight will be 0.888 kg
 For 16 mm dia bar, the weight will be 1.578 kg
 For 20 mm dia bar, the weight will be 2.466 kg
 For 25 mm dia bar, the weight will be 3.853 kg
 For 32 mm dia bar, the weight will be 6.313 kg
 For 40 mm dia bar, the weight will be 9.865 kg

The following formula is applied to find out the weight of steel bars:-
W= (D^2 x L)/162
Here, D denotes dia of bars and L denotes total length of steel bars for which the weight should be
As for instance, if it is required to work out the weight of 20 mm steel bars, the calculation
will be as follow :-
W = 20^2/162
W = 2.466 kg/meter
A conversion factor stands for a number that is employed to transform one set of units to another, by
multiplying or dividing. While doing a conversion, the exact conversion factor to an identical value
should be applied. As for instance, to transform inches to feet, the exact conversion value should be
12 inches equivalent to 1 foot.
Given below, the details of standard conversion factors:-

 1 inch = 25.4 mm
 1 foot = 0.3048 m
 1 yard = 0.9144 m
 1 meter = 3.28 ft
 1 mm = 0.0394 inch
 1 mile = 1.6093 km
 1 newton = 0.10 kg

Concrete grades are represented as M10, M20, M30 as per their compressive strength.
The “M” stands for Mix design of concrete succeeded by the compressive strength number in
“Mix” belongs to the relevant ingredient proportions which are Cement: Sand: Aggregate or Cement:
Fine Aggregate: Coarse Aggregate.
If we refer to M15 concrete, it signifies that the concrete contains 15 N/mm 2 characteristic
compressive strength at 28 days.
For M5 grade of concrete, mix proportion is 1:4:8
For M10 grade of concrete, mix proportion is 1:3:6
For M15 grade of concrete, mix proportion is 1:2:4
For M20 grade of concrete, mix proportion is 1:1.5:3
For M25 grade of concrete, mix proportion is 1:1:2
Given below, the unit weight of various types of engineering materials.

 Bitumen = 1340 kg/m3

 Cement = 1440 kg/m3
 Cast Iron = 7650 kg/m3
 Steel = 7850 kg/m3
 Ice = 913 kg/m3
 Petrol = 690 kg/m3