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Civil Engineering Technology Technical Report: Planning, Design, Construction and Maintenance - Guid


The Civil Engineering Technology Technical Report is to be based on the planning, design, construction, operation and/or maintenance of civil engineering works in which you have been involved on your co-operative work term(s). Ideally it is based on some new development, technique, technology or information you have learned about and experienced outside the classroom. The purpose of the Technical Report (TR) is to challenge you to write and present a report in a clear and concise manner. The TR provides you with the opportunity to develop your analytical skills, your report writing skills, and your critical thinking skills. It is an opportunity to apply the technical knowledge that you have acquired through your academic studies and your co-op work experiences.


Your report must be well-organized, and written clearly, concisely and coherently, to demonstrate your ability to communicate technical information. It must follow technical report standards for structure, referencing, content and writing level. It must demonstrate your knowledge and understanding, your ability to access and arrange information, to think critically, to make value judgements, to solve problems and to develop plans of action.

  • Informational Report – usually concentrating on the presentation of data without any analysis or comment on its significance. These types of reports tend to handle details sequentially without implying the importance or value of the information. This type of report is not acceptable for this course.
  • Analytical Report – includes data, description, process, analysis, conclusions and recommendations for the reader. Analytical writing clearly distinguishes among details; it compares, contrasts, synthesizes, evaluates, summarizes, sorts, critiques, concludes and recommends. This type of report is acceptable.

Students should choose a topic that will enhance their graduate employment opportunities, that will fit topically within their co-op work term experiencespotentially benefiting them and their employers, and for which there is readilyavailable information needed to do the report.

The topic should be chosen as soon as possible into your work term so that you will have the maximum available time for the collection of data and the preparation of the report.


Most co-op employers are aware of the need for students to select a topic for their TR. You should discuss what projects your employer plans for your work term experience and whether any of them would be appropriate. You need to obtain permission from your employer to use any data, photos, contract information, daily logs, etc. that could potentially find its way into your report.

The topic should be clearly defined in both objective and scope. Choose a topic that has a starting point and a defined ending point. You must be able to draw conclusions and make recommendations in your report, so consider these requirements before selecting your topic. Some students select projects that are too large to manage. Some students will neglect selecting topics because they feel that they are too “small” in scope. Even a single construction activity that lasts for a few days, may be appropriate for the report.

A good example of this is an emergency water main repair. The student can investigate the reasons for failure, the immediate damage caused by the failure, the immediate response to shut down the main and temporarily supply potable water to residents, traffic control during the shutdown and repair, the short-term and/or long-term repair procedure, and the restoration of the area after the repair. Out of this report can come conclusions and recommendations tied to the entire process of water main design, materials, and failures through to restoration/replacement work.

Do not proceed with detailed work on your topic until your proposal is approved by the School of Building and Construction Sciences. Once approval has been granted, you may begin to work on your report. Quite often students will find the need to change or modify their original proposal. Such a change will require consultation with the Professor assigned to the course and the submission of a second topic approval request.

The work involved in preparing the report and presentation should be commensurate with the work done in an average course. The average course involves three (3) hours per week over a 14 week semester. For each hour of class a student will typically spend one hour of studying, doing assignments, and reviewing course material. Thus the report and presentation will normally entail a total of 80 hours of work. The bulk of this work should be done during the coop work term, taking advantage of the resources provided by the co-op employer wherever possible.

In order for the report to eventually satisfy the requirements for certification as a Certified Engineering Technologist (C.E.T.) with the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) the minimum length must be 3000 words (body of report).

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