Civil engineering is one of the oldest jobs in the world. Civil engineering deals with constructing, designing, and maintaining a physical environment. This includes structures such as airports, roads, bridges, dams, sewerage, railways, and many more. As you can see, a civil engineer has an impact on the things we use every day and our surroundings. As such, there are five main types of civil engineering projects.
What are the different branches of civil engineering?
The five types of civil engineering projects are construction and management, geotechnical, structural, transport, water, and architecture. Each of these projects requires extensive knowledge of math, mechanics, and physics as well as the ability to solve problems creatively.
Construction and Management Engineering
Construction and management engineering is about creating things like bridges, buildings, roads, and railways. The purpose of engineering construction is to build these structures in the most efficient, safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly way possible. Following the construction phase is an asset management phase. In this phase, you outline the maintenance, operation, and refurbishment over the lifespan of the project. These things need to be managed so that the owner of the project can make sure that there is value in return for money spent on the project.
Out of the five types of civil engineering projects, geotechnical engineering is concerned with understanding how a project interacts with the ground out of the five types of civil engineering projects. People in the geotechnical engineering field deal with structures such as tunnels, bridges, roads, railways and more. Geotechnical engineers deal with a different type of ground for every project. Whether it’s made out of soil or rock, it is the job of the geotechnical engineer to figure out how it will interact with the project. This excites most geotechnical engineers because no two grounds are the same.
Analyzing and designing the construction of bridges, towers, buildings, dams and more is the job of a structural engineer. These structures need to built in a way that makes them safe, sustainable, economical, and somewhat pleasing to the eye. Just like construction and management engineering, structural engineering uses math and physics to do the job. Using math and physics, engineers can see if all parts of the project have enough strength to take loads, determine the structures service life, and see if the structure is stable. Of 5 types of civil engineering projects, structural engineering plays the biggest part in designing and selecting materials for a project.
To no surprise, transport engineering is the planning, designing, and operation of large transport systems. Whether public or private, everybody needs to have access to some form of transportation to get around in the world we live in. We have many ways of transportation today such as air, water, road, and railway. A transport engineers job is to make sure these forms of transportation meet certain standards. Standards like sustainability and safety need to be met. With the technology we have now, transport engineers are trying to reduce emissions and energy use with the goal of becoming environmentally friendly. Of the five types of civil engineering projects, transport engineering is about always looking for a way to improve our transportation systems.
How does water interact with our environment? Water engineering is about understanding why natural water systems such as rivers and coasts behave the way they do. Water engineering also involves designing ways to store or direct water. Understanding how water works can create a way for us to conserve water. Right now, water engineering is focused on dealing with floods, groundwater, and the nature of coastal waters.
What types of projects do civil engineers work on?
Standard Analysis or Design
In a standard analysis or design project, civil engineers write up reports and create a few drawings for the project. Although not always asked for, civil engineers might go the extra mile and draft up more than one idea. This is so there can be a proper discussion on which design or idea is more suitable for the project and why. Examples of this kind of project are water main designs, capacity analysis of highways, and improving storm drainage. Of the five types of civil engineering projects, structural engineering would fall into this category the most.
Developing New Solutions
In a project about developing new solutions, you have to understand what the initial problem is, write a proposal on how to solve this problem, test your proposal, and see if the problem has been solved. Out of the five types of civil engineering projects, geotechnical engineering is a perfect example of this because the ground is never the same for a project.
Civil engineering made many of the structures we see every day. Bridges, roads, dams, railways, highways, and more have all been created by civil engineers. To say they have a huge impact on our lives would be an understatement. There are many types of civil engineering projects, but each one has an important role to fill. Without these projects, our society would not come close to being as advanced as we are now.
Arya Hojati is a content marketing intern at eSUB. He is currently a student at San Diego State University pursuing a bachelor’s in Marketing.