Skip to main content

What is Civil Engineering?

What is Civil Engineering?

The field of civil engineering is crucial to modern life. The buildings in which we reside, the roads and sidewalks we travel on, and the sewage and water networks on which we rely were all carefully designed by a civil engineer. The field is so broad, in fact, that many laymen find it confusing and ill-defined, and don’t consider hiring an engineer when constructing a new home or commercial building. That is why we at Carolina Services Inc. have composed this brief guide to answer the question, “what is civil engineering?”.

Simply put, civil engineering is a field of disciplines that work to design, build, and maintain both natural and man-made structures that can withstand the forces of gravity (such as the weight of people and furnishing) and lateral forces (such as wind and seismic activity) that may act upon the structure. Civil engineers can work on privately owned and public structures as well as in the engineering of construction materials. These areas are explored below.

Civil Engineering and Publicly Owned Structures

Privately owned structures refers largely to buildings such as homes, stores, and restaurants, whereas publicly owned structures includes not only buildings but bridges, dams, roadways, water distributions systems, and public transportation routes. Civil engineers are intimately involved with city planning with the goal to design, build, and maintain a lasting and sustainable urban environment.

Civil Engineering of Natural Structures

Engineers may be involved with the preservation or conservation of a natural environment or structure. For example, some civil engineers work to design concrete or natural rock defenses against erosion and flooding in coastal areas. Other civil engineers are concerned with the remediation of polluted bodies of water. In any case, an engineer is tasked with the job of assessing possible damage if no work is done to prevent erosion, flooding, or contamination as well as the possible effects of any proposed human interference with natural processes. The goal is to protect human and environmental health.

Civil Engineering of Materials

Some civil engineers study materials such as ceramics, metals, and polymers to determine the strengths of each material. They may even be involved with alloying to create more useful metal materials. Knowing the strengths of each material allows for more efficient design and structural integrity.

Civil Engineering and Privately Owned Structures

The role of a civil engineer in the designing and construction of a privately owned structure shouldn’t be underestimated. An architect’s primary focus is the overall appearance of a structure, while a civil engineer will be concerned with the structural integrity and the efficiency of construction, ultimately saving the property owner time and money. In many areas, civil engineers may also perform crucial land surveys so that they may design sturdy foundations that won’t be damaged by flooding or seismic activity. A civil engineer may use a cadastral land surveys to ensure that new structures are within property boundaries, preventing future legal disputes.

At Carolina Services Inc, we are proud to offer the vital service of civil engineering. Combined with our other services, including space planning and design as well as metal frame-work, drywall installation, custom millwork, we can help make your next construction process safe, efficient, and suited to your unique needs. Contact us today for more information.

Photo Courtesy of: U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers