Job description & work activities of a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers create, improve and protect the environment in which we live. They plan, design and oversee construction and maintenance of building structures and infrastructure, such as roads, railways, airports, bridges, harbours, dams, irrigation projects, power plants, and water and sewerage systems. They also design and build tall buildings and large structures that can withstand all weather conditions.
Generally, civil engineers fall into two types: consulting engineers and contracting engineers. Consultants are responsible for the design work of projects and work predominantly in an office. Contractors then take the designs and implement them during construction. Contractors work on site, managing the construction of the structure.
Depending on whether you are a contractor or a consultant, work activities can include:
- undertaking technical and feasibility studies including site investigations
- using a range of computer software for developing detailed designs
- undertaking complex calculations
- liaising with clients and a variety of professionals including architects and subcontractors
- compiling job specs and supervising tendering procedures
- resolving design and development problems
- managing budgets and project resources
- scheduling material and equipment purchases and deliveries
- making sure the project complies with legal requirements, especially health and safety
- assessing the sustainability and environmental impact of projects
- ensuring projects run smoothly and structures are completed within budget and on time
Working hours for consulting civil engineers are generally normal office hours, with some extra hours and weekend work close to project deadlines. Contractors, on the other hand, often work shifts and weekends and are outside in all weathers.