What Does a Civil Engineering Company Actually Do?

10/24/2016 07:46 am ET Updated Oct 25, 2017

When one thinks of civil engineering, the first things that spring to mind are bridges and buildings.Of course this is true; however, to someone that is aspiring to become a civil engineer,it is important to understand that there is a lot more to working as a civil engineer than just bridges and buildings. In summary, "civil engineers have to come up with solutions to complex problems and implement them; they literally shape the world we live in."

A civil engineering company can specialize in one kind of engineering or offer several different aspects of various engineering fields, usually ones that tie up with each other in some way or other.

So if you are looking at a career as a civil engineer, what sort of engineering work/projects could you possibly be involved with if you work for a typical company?

1) Commercial

This includes buildings:

• Banks
• Office buildings and blocks of office buildings
• Parking lots and garages
• Restaurants and cafes
• Shopping centres, both the closed and open air structures

2) Institutes

You could be involved in building the following institutes:

• Schools and universities
• Corporate buildings and big business buildings
• Clinics and hospitals, private or government run
• Retirement villages and old age homes, whether subsidized or not

3) Industry

Civil engineers have a say in the design and building of the following industrial buildings:

• Manufacturing facilities and factories
• Utilities
• Industrial parks and business parks
• Warehouses and factory storage areas
• Communication towers

4) Residential

No matter how small or large a house/apartment block you build, a civil engineer has to ensure that the

• Individual homes on small or large acres of land.
• High rise apartment blocks
• Housing estates, whether funded through big corporations, or not.

5) Water management

A civil engineering company is involved in the design and development of the following water management works:

• Drinking water supply, storage and distribution
• Storm water and watershed management
• Wastewater treatment and collection

6) Environmental and Geotechnical Services

There is a lot to a modern civil company and many extra services are provided, some of which are:

• Subsurface exploration reporting
• Geology and Hydrogeology
• Soil treatment and recommendations
• Foundation recommendations
• Site evaluation and feasibility studies
• Retaining wall design and recommendations
• Slope stability analysis
• Excavation recommendations
• Pavement recommendations (flexible or rigid)
• Settling analysis and monitoring
• Seismic response and documentation

7) Environmental Services

In our environmentally conscious society, a civil engineering company that does not take heed of environmental issues is in for a rough ride; however, most companies take cognizance of the need to ensure that the projects they are involved in are environmentally friendly. Some of the services that the civil engineering company provides are:

• Phase I and II environmental assessments
• Excavation supervision and contaminated soil removal
• Monitoring the installation of wells and the maintenance thereof
• Environmental sampling and testing
• Environmental consulting and compliance
• Wetland determination and confirmation
• Jurisdictional stream evaluation
• Permits and mitigation
• Lead and Asbestos identification and safe removal
• Corp of engineers and EPA permitting
• Evaluate sites based on the new Risk Based Corrective Action Evaluation Requirements
• Sampling and oversight for UST closures

Elements of a civil engineering project

There are many components to civil engineering projects that a civil engineer might be involved in.

Some of these elements are:

• Land surveying
• Development plans
• Utilities evaluation and design
• Site selection and planning
• Property and right of way acquisitions
• Construction layout and staking
• Drainage and grading
• Storm water management
• Parking lot design
• Pavement management
• Signage
• Shopping centre site engineering

Final Words

A civil engineers job is quite a lot more involved than one would initially imagine.The good news is that civil engineers are highly trained and experienced professionals and technicians who are able to deliver an important and exacting service to a wide and diverse client base.Thus a civil engineering company is involved in every aspect of a construction project, right down to the last drop of cement.