What is Civil Engineering?

Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering is a branch of engineering that encompasses the conception, design, construction, and management of residential and commercial buildings and structures, water supply facilities, and transportation systems for goods and people, as well as control of the environment for the maintenance and improvement of the quality of life. Civil engineering includes planning and design professionals in both the public and private sectors, contractors, builders, educators, and researchers.

The civil engineer holds the safety, health, and welfare of the public paramount. Civil engineering projects and systems should conform to governmental regulations and statutes; should be built economically to function properly with a minimum of maintenance and repair while withstanding anticipated usage and weather; and should conserve energy and allow hazard-free construction while providing healthful, safe, and environmentally sound utilization by society.

Civil engineers play a major role in developing workable solutions to construct, renovate, repair, maintain, and upgrade infrastructure. The infrastructure includes roads, mass transit, railroads, bridges, airports, storage buildings, terminals, communication and control towers, water supply and treatment systems, storm water control systems, waste water collection, treatment and disposal systems, as well as living and working areas, recreational buildings, and ancillary structures for civil and civic needs. Without a well-maintained and functioning infrastructure, the urban area cannot stay healthy, grow, and prosper.

Because the desired objectives are so broad and encompass an orderly progression of interrelated components and information to arrive at the visually pleasing, environmentally satisfactory, and energy-frugal end point, civil engineering projects are actually systems requiring the skills and inputs of many diverse technical specialties, all of which are subsets of the overall civil engineering profession.

Some of the subsets that civil engineers can specialize in include photogrammetry, surveying, mapping, community and urban planning, and waste management and risk assessment. Various engineering areas that civil engineers can specialize in include geotechnical, construction, structural, environmental, water resources, and transportation engineering.