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Civil engineers are responsible for overseeing the development, planning, construction, maintenance, and repair of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure projects (including bridges, tunnels, railways, and sewage systems). They can work as private contractors or for construction and engineering firms, although it’s also common for civil engineers to work for government agencies or specific industries as well.
An individual who opts for a career in civil engineering can choose between two general career paths; either contractor or consulting. The consulting civil engineer generally works in conjunction with a team of architects, land surveyors and other specialists to collaborate on a construction related project. A contracting engineer is that is responsible for the designing the structure and planning the construction of major projects.
To gain a big-picture perspective on the common tasks complete by a civil engineer, here is a general overview:
The society we live in today is a combination of sustainable living sites and urban, concrete-enhanced metropolitan areas. Our modern civil engineers must find creative ways of combining technology and advanced construction techniques with environmental considerations and constraints to ensure sustainability and functionality for the long-term. It’s a challenging task, but those who have the training and skillset can tackle these tasks head-on.
On the surface, today’s civil engineers are essentially professional problem solvers. They are tasked with the challenge of transitioning yesterday’s fiscal or durability-first philosophy to a more holistic and environmentally sustainable framework. Whether it’s infrastructure or private residential development, government projects or private manufacturing, long-term strategic planning is the key to succeeding in this industry.
Most of the GDP generated by the civil engineering field is generated in metropolitan areas. With the highest percentage of Australia’s population living in large cities, civil engineers must densify and meet the needs of a growing civilian population, while also considering environmental and sustainability concerns.
It is generally expected that the professional civil engineer will assume a leadership role within this new, sustainable and environmentally conscious industry philosophy. They will account for the environmental impact of various materials, techniques, and location to build hospitals, schools, and public facilities that will sustain a growing population in urban environments.
The innovators of Green construction and development depend on civil engineers to help them create sustainable living solutions that positively contribute to the growth of communities and societies. A great example of this philosophy is the development of green hospitals, which help patients and healthcare providers in multiple ways. A Green facility helps to create an environment that is less stressful for healthcare providers, which in turn improves their ability to deliver better health care to patients. They also foster improved patient and caregiver emotional and mental well-being. Green hospital development also helps to reduce dependence on natural resources, reduces energy consumption, saves money, and creates a more hospitable environment. Not only does this improve the quality of care, but it also increases hospital staff retention.
Because of this new civil engineering philosophy, the next ten years for Australia will provide a collaborative effort for the engineering, architecture, and construction industries. New projects may be able to secure investments exceeding a billion dollars, as Australia continues to grow and make improvements to existing infrastructure, and redesign outdated facilities for improved energy efficiency. Each of these projects will be managed and led by professional civil engineers, with the support of advanced technology such as drones, 3D printing, BIM, and cloud computing. Civil Engineers should also consider insurance cover options, including Professional Indemnity insurance.