What is civil engineering?
Civil engineering is a branch of engineering that aims to plan, design, organize, build, supervise, and maintain sites and infrastructures carried out in a city, region, or country. Civil works may be large-scale, such as roads, railways, canals, ports, bridges, or airports, or they may be smaller-scale projects, such as designing a building structure or developing and executing water distribution systems and channels in a city.
Regardless of the scale, what all civil engineering projects have in common is that they aim to provide a solution to a need and improve the quality of life for the citizens of a particular society. To this end, the field draws on calculus, physics, and mechanics to design and build infrastructures.
Civil engineering professionals not only have technical skills: they also monitor administrative areas for compliance with the relevant legal requirements in carrying out civil works.
What purpose does civil engineering serve?
Civil engineering implements infrastructures for developing a society in the most sustainable way possible while also considering technical, economic, and social factors. This is what makes it so important in the urban growth of a city, country, or region.
A project’s infrastructure will have a direct impact on how well human needs are met, ranging from health and food to transportation, housing, and recreation, ensuring communities’ well-being and safety.
What are the main areas that civil engineering addresses?
Civil engineering usually spans several fields or areas of action, depending on the requirements of the project in question, which can be residential, industrial, commercial, or public. These are classified as:
- Hydraulic engineering, all projects related to managing water and water resources.
- Construction engineering, which oversees studying and managing the programs and resources for carrying out construction projects.
- Structural engineering, which is responsible for the construction and maintenance of large infrastructures and buildings, ensuring their durability and resistance even in the face of natural phenomena like earthquakes.
- Transport engineering, for the construction and maintenance of means and ways of transportation and mobility for both people and goods. In addition, it aims to develop and apply technological tools to address problems related to the road environment.
- Geotechnical engineering, which is studying and working with materials from the ground, evaluating their resistance to determine the ideal foundation for a site.
- Environmental engineering, which oversees resource management and treating solid materials to care for the environment, as well as preventing contamination of the surrounding area.
What is the role of civil engineering in sustainable development?
Project management that ensures the balance between economy, environmental care, and social welfare is a priority for any multidisciplinary civil engineering team today. This is where the term sustainability comes into the picture, according to the following principles:
- Considering the project’s Life Cycle Assessment, its usefulness in the present, and its changing use in the future, reducing the environmental impact in case of its deconstruction, for example, and effectively managing the materials used and the waste generated.
- Considering the social and economic setting where the civil engineering project is located, getting the community that will live in space involved.
- Actively participating in improving public policies related to renewable energies in developing civil engineering infrastructures.
- Restricting the use of fossil fuels in building projects, instead opting for sustainable materials and committing to alternative energies.
- Using new technologies in the design, planning, and execution of smart buildings and smart cities.
At Ferrovial, we have over 90 years of experience in developing civil engineering projects. You can see our projects here.