Civil Engineer

What They Do

Civil Engineers by profession are actively engaged in designing, building, supervising, operating and maintaining various construction projects as well as systems. They may find this work in public sector or private sector. Their expertise is needed in building buildings, laying roads, constructing airports, tunnels, bridges, dams, and systems for sewage treatment and water supply. Education, research, construction and design are the most common areas where majority of the Civil Engineers work in.

Roles and Responsibilities
Here are the typical role expectations of Civil Engineers:
1. Conduct a deep analysis of survey reports, long range plans, maps and relevant data to arrive at a solid plan for given projects.
2. Assess construction costs that a project would involve. Take into consideration the potential environmental hazards, risks and various government regulations in order to arrive at a clear cut understanding of factors for planning the different stages of the project.
3. Actively get involved in seeking permissions from the local, stage and central government agencies and ensure that the project complies with the regulations laid out by the bodies.
4. Conduct soil test to ascertain the strength for laying the foundations.
5. Test different kinds of building material like asphalt, concrete, or steel to ascertain the safety of their use in the projects.
6. Be able to arrive at a close estimate for the various equipment, labour and material that would be needed for the completion of the project.
7. To make use of design software to come up with plans and designs for various bodies like hydraulic systems, transportation systems and structures as per the standards laid out by the government and the industry.
8. Take care of surveying operations to ascertain grades, elevations and reference points that will act as guide during construction.
9. Present various findings on topics like environmental impact statements, descriptions of property or bid proposals to the public.
10. Engage actively in the maintenance, repair or replacement of the private or public infrastructure.

Civil engineers’ main job is to inspect thoroughly various projects to ensure that the projects are complying with the regulations laid out by the government and industry. It is also their duty to ensure that the work practices followed are absolutely safe in the construction site. The civil engineers hold quite responsible posts in the form of city manager, public works director, site engineer, site supervisor. He may also find work in other departments like teaching, research, construction and design. Civil engineers are also engaged in preparing permit documents that facilitate people to work on projects that are related to renewable energy. He has to ensure that the projects comply with the regulations and guidelines laid out by the district, state and centre governments.

In the solar energy arena, the civil engineers are responsible for conducting structural analysis for the photovoltaic projects that are always large scale in nature. In the wind projects that are again large scale, these engineers prepare roadbeds so that they can handle the large trucks that haul in various turbines. Additionally, it is their duty to prepare the offshore and onshore sites to ensure that the turbine foundations are safe enough to hold them upright regardless of the environmental conditions.

There are a slew of complex projects where the services of Civil Engineers are used. So, it calls for specialization in any one of these several areas:
1. Construction Engineers: He is a civil engineer who manages and overlooks construction projects. It is his duty to ensure a smooth flow of work and the structures are built as per schedule, complying with the plans, specifications and regulations of the government. He is also responsible for the safety and design of the temporary structures that are erected during the construction.
2. Structural Engineers: His job is to get actively involved with the designing and assessing of major projects that encompass bridges, buildings and dams. He needs to ensure their durability and strength and assess the longevity of the structure.
3. Transportation Engineers: These Civil Engineers are actively engaged in planning, designing, operating and maintaining everyday systems. The systems may be highways or streets. They may also become actively engaged in planning projects of greater magnitude like shipping ports, air ports, harbors and mass transit systems.
4. Geotechnical Engineers: The main work of these civil engineers is to ensure the foundation of the structures is solid. Their focus is on understanding how the various structures like the tunnels or buildings interact with the rocks and soil. These engineers also engage in designing and planning for construction of tunnels, slopes and retaining walls.

In short, the work that a civil engineer does can be extremely challenging as well as creatively engaging.


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