Civil Engineering

General Overview

Civil engineering encompasses the design, construction, maintenance and management of natural and manmade structures and buildings. These include bridges, buildings, roads, dams, canal systems and many more. Civil engineering is often considered one of the oldest and most fundamental fields of engineering. This is because the fundamental principles that make up civil engineering assisted with building some of the oldest and most technologically advanced structures (with respect to time), such as the great pyramids of Egypt and the Roman aqueducts.

 

Civil engineering is a broad subject that can be broken down into many discipline and sub fields, with job opportunities in a range of industries; structures, energy, environment, transport, tunneling and water. The main responsibilities of a civil engineer are to look at the environmental impacts of building a structure, how that structure will interact with the environment, ensuring structures can withstand any loads that they may experience and ensuring the structure performs its functions. Civil engineers must also ensure the safety of infrastructures and must be thorough in their work to ensure high standards are met. Risk analyses are performed along with tests throughout the project to do this. Structural analyses are also performed before parts are manufactured to refine designs and discover any potential failure modes to be avoided.

 

Day to day civil engineers will often oversee the testing of materials and structures during projects, often requiring them to work outside of the office. Site visits enable civil engineers to understand progress and advise on any issues the project is facing whilst design work will be done in the office. Engineering designs are formulated by studying drawings, maps and reports on soil composition, material specifications and geological information.

An arch bridge mid way through construction. Source: www.italianbusinessguide.com

Required Knowledge

Skills and Expertise

  • Project Management (Including scheduling, planning and cost estimation)

  • Knowledge of structural mechanics

  • Knowledge of materials science in particular metals, ceramics, concrete composites and timber.

  • Knowledge of mathematics and physics at a first principles level.

  • Supply chain management

 

Software Understanding

  • Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages (E.g. CATIA, Solidworks, Autocad, Inventor, PTC Creo, Revit)

  • Ability to understand and apply Building Information Modelling (BIM) Software to help with the design and management of construction. 

  • Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations (E.g. MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint; Google Docs, Sheets and Slides)

  • Microsoft Project or other project planning software

Example Jobs
  • Structural Engineer

  • Civil Engineer

  • Rail Engineer

  • Quantity Surveyor

  • Project Planner / Manager

  • Architectural Engineer

Institutions

UK: Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES), Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)

USA:  Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

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