Civil Engineering is the development of infrastructure projects
This can be on a huge scale, such as the development of nationwide transport systems or water supply networks, or on a smaller scale such as the development of individual roads or buildings.
All aspects of building a structure fall under the remit of a civil engineer. This can include planning, design, budgeting, surveying, construction management and analysis, and often civil engineering careers encompass a combination of all these elements.
Civil engineering skills are strongly rooted in mathematics and science, and a high level of proficiency in these subjects is required in order to predict the performance and capability of the structures they create. For this reason, students with strong backgrounds in physics and mathematics who are also interested in designing functional structures, from bridges to hydropower systems, are prime candidates to study civil engineering.
The great thing about civil engineering in the real world is that it’s an industry that perpetually adapts to the demands and desires of society. In recent years civil engineering has adapted to consider many contemporary environmental concerns, helping to address issues of pollution and scarce water supplies, while considering the potential of sustainable energy within the industry.
As a civil engineer, you could work in any one of the following specialist areas of engineering:
- structural – dams, buildings, offshore platforms and pipelines
- transportation – roads, railways, canals and airports
- environmental – water supply networks, drainage and flood barriers
- maritime – ports, harbours and sea defences
- geotechnical – mining, earthworks and construction foundations.
These branches sometimes overlap but your regular tasks could include:
- planning requirements with the client and colleagues
- analysing survey, testing and mapping data using computer modelling software
- creating blueprints using computer aided design (CAD)
- judging whether projects are feasible by looking at costs, time and labour requirements
- assessing the environmental impact and risks connected to projects
- preparing bids for tenders, and reporting to clients, public agencies and planning organisations
- managing, directing and monitoring progress during each stage of a project
- making sure that sites meet legal guidelines, and health and safety requirements.
You would normally work on projects alongside other professionals, such as architects, surveyors and building contractors.