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Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 14th Ed

Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 14th Ed

Civil Engineering Reference Manual for the PE Exam, 14th Ed
By Michael R. Lindeburg PE

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Book Description

Comprehensive Civil Engineering Coverage You Can TrustThe Civil Engineering Reference Manual is the most comprehensive textbook for the NCEES Civil PE exam. This book’s time-tested organization and clear explanations start with the basics to help you quickly get up to speed with common civil engineering concepts. Together, the 90 chapters provide an in-depth review of all of the topics, codes, and standards listed in the NCEES Civil PE exam specifications. The extensive index contains thousands of entries, with multiple entries included for each topic, so you’ll find what you’re looking for no matter how you search.

Due to the changes in codes for the 2015 NCEES PE exam, there are some updates to this edition. Though not all of PPI's products reflect the adopted editions of the new  design standards, in most cases the principles change very little. While specific procedures, equations, or values may change gradually from one edition of a design or reference standard to the next, PPI’s books continue to provide an appropriate overview of the design concepts presented, and will prepare you for the upcoming exams.

This book features:

  • over 100 appendices containing essential support material
  • over 500 clarifying examples
  • over 550 common civil engineering terms defined in an easy-to-use glossary
  • thousands of equations, figures, and tables
  • industry-standard terminology and nomenclature
  • equal support of U.S. customary and SI units
After you pass your exam, the Civil Engineering Reference Manual will continue to serve as an invaluable reference throughout your civil engineering career. 

Topics Covered

  • Construction: Earthwork Construction and Layout; Estimating Quantities and Costs; Construction Operations and Methods; Scheduling; Material Quality Control and Bookion; Temporary Structures; Worker Health, Safety, and Environment
  • Geotechnical: Subsurface Exploration and Sampling; Engineering Properties of Soils and Materials; Soil Mechanics Analysis; Earth Structures; Shallow Foundations; Earth Retaining Structures; Deep Foundations
  • Structural: Loadings; Analysis; Mechanics of Materials; Materials; Member Design; Design Criteria
  • Transportation: Traffic Analysis; Geometric Design; Transportation Planning; Traffic Safety
  • Water Resources and Environmental: Closed Conduit Hydraulics; Open Channel Hydraulics; Hydrology; Groundwater and Well Fields; Wastewater Treatment; Water Quality; Water Treatment; Engineering Economics

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #495694 in Books
  • Published on: 2014-07-01
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 11.00" h x 2.25" w x 8.50" l,
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 1584 pages

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael R. Lindeburg, PE, is one of the best-known authors of engineering textbooks and references. His books and courses have influenced millions of engineers around the world. Since 1975, he has authored more than 30 engineering reference and exam preparation books. He has spent thousands of hours teaching engineering to students and practicing engineers. He holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees in industrial engineering from Stanford University.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Structural members subjected to axial compressive loads are often called by names identifying their functions. Of these, the best-known are columns, the main vertical compression members in a building frame. Other common compression members include chords in trusses and bracing members in frames.

The selection of a particular shape for use as a compression member depends on the type of structure, the availability, and the connection methods. Load-carrying capacity varies approximately inversely with the slenderness ratio, so stiff members are generally required. Rods, bars, and plates, commonly used as tension members, are too slender to be used as compression members unless they are very short or lightly loaded.

For building columns, W shapes having nominal depths of 14 in or less are commonly used. These sections, being rather square in shape, are more efficient than others for carrying compressive loads. (Deeper sections are more efficient as beams.) Pipe sections are satisfactory for small or medium loads. Pipes are often used as columns in long series of windows, in warehouses, and in basements and garages. In the past, square and rectangular tubing saw limited use, primarily due to the difficulty in making bolted or riveted connections at the ends. Modern welding techniques have essentially eliminated this problem.

Built-up sections are needed in large structures for very heavy loads that cannot be supported by individual rolled shapes. For bracing and compression members in light trusses, single-angle members are suitable. However, equal-leg angles may be more economical than unequal-leg angles because their least radius of gyration values are greater for the same area of steel. For top chord members of bolted roof trusses, a pair of angles (usually unequal legs, with long legs back-to-back to give a better balance between the radius of gyration values about the x-and y-axes) are used with or without gusset plates. In welded roof trusses, where gusset plates are unnecessary, structural tees are used as top chord members.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful.
5Essential for the PE exam
By J.L. Pettimore IV
If you're reading these reviews undoubtedly you know what this is and why you need this for the Civil PE exam.

That said, as far as I can tell this is pretty much the only comprehensive reference available for the exam so rather than talk more about the CERM itself I wanted to break down some things that helped me use the manual to study and pass the PE exam the first time:

1) Download and print out a copy of the index for the CERM from the PPI website, bind it separately, and use that to look stuff up while studying and taking the exam to avoid constantly flipping around in the manual between the index and the chapters. Saves lots of time and aggravation working from multiple places in the CERM. I learned this from people in my review class and never would've thought of this on my own which is why I wanted to share it here.

2) For the most used equations, write the constants and such in the margins next to the equations. Highlight the equations to make them pop from the columns of text in the book. This did a few things for me: familiarize me again with the equations and constants, help me remember how to use the equations, and also save me time looking for constants in the back or whatever. I did this the month before my review class started, helped me find what's in the manual too before I got into the heavy duty working of problems during my review class for hours on end.

3) Tab everything possible. The exam is all about speed (~5 min/question...) so make sure you can find what you need real fast. I used a combination of heavy duty tabs with paper inserts and the sticky flags. I color coded the tabs by topic and tabbed my manual as follows: tabs across the top for tables of data (e.g. water demands per capita per day, wastewater production per capita per day, etc), tabs down the sides for specific topics/equations (e.g. shallow foundations, water hammer, that CM workflow diagram whose name escapes me right now, etc), tabs across the bottom for the reference tables in the back (e.g. head losses for specific fittings, moments of inertia for generic shapes, the Ten State's regs, etc).

Seemed to work real well, I probably had a few too many flags/tabs but I only needed to use the index to find something a few times during the exam so I guess I did okay there. I left all my tabs and flags in the CERM after finding out I passed since it makes the book look real salty and reminds me of the pain I went through studying and taking the exam.

Bottom line here: Know what's in the book and where to find it. The morning exam was pretty much straight out of the CERM and my review class, quite literally 95% of the questions were pure muscle memory from using the CERM to study. The PM exam was the similar but about 25% of the questions couldn't be answered out of the CERM and needed an outside reference (master's level stuff in my opinion and I don't have an MSCE so I just did what I could and guessed the rest).

4) Use the CERM as much as possible while studying. I know this sounds obvious but I first attempted studying with stacks of textbooks from engineering school in addition to my CERM and quickly realized it would never work. You need to become as familiar as possible with the CERM if you want a ghost of a chance of passing, and you'll be amazed what's in there if you look. Also, you will not have time to flip around between 20 books during the exam so just get used to using the CERM as much as possible while studying. Heck, sleep with your CERM if you have to and take it with you to lunch. Remember, there are many CERMs but this one is mine, without my CERM I am nothing, without me my CERM is a monitor stand.

For the exam, I only brought in my trusty marked up and tabbed CERM, my open channel hydraulics book, and my (undergrad) geotech book along with my notes and sample problems from my review class. I spent probably 80% of my time in the exam using the CERM, my other references were nearly useless save for some rando oddball questions I was able to find during my spare time to get some extra points. The CERM and a few other things were enough to get me through the WR exam and I am neither a water resources engineer by practice nor the kid from Good Will Hunting.

5) Take a review class if at all possible. I was fortunate to find one an hour away on Saturdays. It helped me get into the mode of studying a lot (I kept records and including 56 hours of class I spent about 250 hours preparing for the exam over about 3.5 months, did nothing the two weeks before the test due to burnout and a work trip during which I was not going to study in the hotel at night), helped me realize I wasn't the only one fighting my way through the pain and misery, and helped me learn enough to get by in areas that I had little to no college coursework on (e.g. transpo, econ, etc). The review was kinda costly but I figure I got off cheap passing the PE the first time.

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful.
3I highly recommend buying a separate construction study guide
By Bb
I gave it three stars because I took the Construction Depth exam, and this reference has very little construction information. I highly recommend buying a separate construction study guide. However, this reference was quite useful to me during the morning exam for the non-construction problems.

HUGE reference, and it has way more information than you would need for any PE exam. I do not recommend using this as a study guide (except for the example problems), just a pure reference like the design standards. Once you narrow down the sections specific to your exam, the material is very useful. Some of the problems were representative of the exam, and others were so complex, they could never be solved in the average 6 minutes per problem (at least not by me). It is good to work those more complex problems for your depth area, so you have a better understanding of the topic. For the exam though, you might have to do two or three steps of those really complex problems.

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
3Before I get super critical of this book
By Richard
I am currently studying for the PE (structural depth) (might update after I take the exam), and am also taking a dedicated PE course (EET webinar, in case anyone was interested).

Before I get super critical of this book, its worth mentioning that there does not exist a better alternative that I know of (maybe I should write one). The book is expensive, but given the relatively low demand for such material, I can understand the cost. Also, I will probably keep it after I finish the exam, rather than resell it, but I haven't decided yet.

With that being said, I do not like the book as a whole and I think it can be done better. The book is not a sufficient reference for the PE exam. I think it gives enough information for 75% of the breadth, but it misses a lot of finer details. It is doesn't even get close to being a reference for the depth, and neither does the "SE reference manual" that Lindbergh sells (for the structural depth).

Lindbergh gets on a soapbox at the beginning of this book about how this book has MORE information than you need to pass the exam, and how he doesn't think the PE doesn't sufficiently cover all the information an engineer should know to be a practicing engineer. I whole-heartily agree with him on that point, but his book fails to deliver. This book, while it covers all the topics that will appear on the exam, often fails to provide necessary equations or logical steps needed to solve such problems. Some necessary information is just plain missing. Lindbergh provides too much information where its not needed, and not enough information where it is needed.

For example, in the hydrology section (I'm using hydrology as an example because I'm currently re-reviewing that material), you tell us about the different methods for estimating average rainfall, but don't give the equations or logical steps to solve using these methods. Also in hydrology,

In soils, you don't adequately describe the soil testing procedures (i.e. how they are performed or equations that give the various parameters they provide). Your soil phase relationship equations (i.e. the nomenclature) doesn't match those that are industry standard.

For a ~$300 book that is supposed to be a complete reference for the PE exam, I would like to see the following:

1.) Summary of equations at the beginning of each section. Quit milking us for money by selling a separate (and poorly reviewed) equation book. Just include this at the beginning of every section.

2.) Format the book to better fit the format of the exam. This is readily available on the NCEES website and hasn't been changed in a few years. If you truly want this book to be a PE reference manual, then you should follow the format NCEES provides. Environment Engineering isn't even part of the NCEES breadth, so why would the reference manual cover it and all related topics (such as chemistry)?

The chapters don't follow the format of the NCEES exam either - they should.

3.) Again, certain topics need to be expanded upon while others need to be cut or or at least made more brief.

You could cut out ~1/3 of this book for the stuff that doesn't even appear on the exam, let alone the excessive background information that you don't need (nor will have time to browse during the exam).

So for those reading, you will definitely need a course to pass the PE. You should not rely on Lindbergh's book as your sole PE reference for the breadth.

As for the depth, a course is 100% necessary in my opinion.

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