Modelling some civil engineering-related problems using spreadsheets and VBA

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Spreadsheets are becoming increasingly popular in solving engineering-related problems. Among the strong features of spreadsheets are their instinctive cell-based structure and easy to use capabilities. Excel, for example, is a powerful spreadsheet with VBA robust programming capabilities that can be a powerful tool for modelling civil engineering problems. Spreadsheets can do basic calculations such as cost estimating, schedule and cost control, and markup estimation, as well as structural calculations of reactions, stresses, strains, deflections, and slopes. Spreadsheets can solve complex problems, create charts and graphs, and generate useful reports. This paper highlights the use of Excel spreadsheet and VBA in modelling some civil engineering problems and creating useful applications. The focus is on problems related to construction management and structural engineering ranging from simple cost estimating problem to advanced applications like simulation using PERT and the analysis of structural members. Several spreadsheets were developed for time-cost tradeoff analysis, optimum markup estimation, simulating activities with uncertain durations, scheduling repetitive projects, schedule and cost control, optimization of construction operations, and structural calculations of reactions, internal forces, stresses, strains, deflections, and slopes. Seven illustrative examples are presented to demonstrate the use of spreadsheets as a powerful tool for teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-380
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Scientific Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Civil engineering
  • Engineering education
  • Spreadsheets
  • VBA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Mathematics
  • General Materials Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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