Civil engineers are involved with the design, development and construction of a huge range of projects in the built and natural environment. Their role is central to ensuring the safe, timely and well-resourced completion of projects in many areas, including high way construction, waste management, coastal development and geotechnical engineering.
Consulting civil engineers liaise with clients to plan, manage, design and supervise the construction of projects. They work in a number of different settings and, with experience, can run projects as a project manager. Civil engineering offers many opportunities as well as the satisfaction of helping to improve and enhance public quality of life in many settings.
Typical work activities
With civil engineering, consulting engineers are the designers whereas contracting engineers turn their plans into reality. Consulting civil engineers provide a wide range of services to clients. During the earlier stages of a career, work will involve taking responsibility for minor projects, but the size of the projects may increase as experience is gained. Typical work activities include:
- Undertaking technical and feasibility studies and site investigations;
- Developing detailed designs;
- Assessing the potential risks of specific projects, as well as undertaking risk management in specialist roles;
- Supervising tendering procedures and putting together proposals;
- Managing, supervising and visiting contractors on site and advising on civil engineering issues;
- Overseeing the work of junior staff or mentoring civil engineers throughout the chartership process;
- Communicating and liaising effectively with colleagues and architects, subcontractors, contracting civil engineers, consultants, co-workers and clients;
- Thinking both creatively and logically to resolve design and development problems;
- Managing budgets and other project resources;
- Managing change, as the client may change his or her mind about the design, and identifying, formalizing and notifying relevant parties of changes in the project;
- Leading teams of other engineers, perhaps from other organisations or firms;
- Compiling, checking and approving reports;
- Reviewing and approving project drawings;
- Using a range of design computer packages for designing projects and undertaking complex and repetitive calculations;
- Scheduling material and equipment purchases and delivery;
- Attending public meetings to discuss projects, especially in a senior role;
- Adopting all relevant requirements around issues such as building permits, environmental regulations, sanitary design, good manufacturing practices and safety on all work assignments;
- Ensuring that a project runs smoothly and that the structure is completed on time and within budget;
- Correcting any project deficiencies that affect production, quality and safety requirements prior to final evaluation and project reviews.