What is Civil Engineering?


Civil Engineering
In simple words it can be said that civil engineering is the process of design and construction, but sometimes also refer to the maintenance of buildings that will be used by the public. The work done in the civil engineering field may refer to the design and construction of houses, civil buildings, roads, dams, bridges or tunnels. If we talk about civil engineering we may include in our discussion many sub-disciplines that sometimes are less known by the general public. Disciplines like earthquake engineering, coastal engineering, geotechnical engineering, materials engineering or environmental engineering play a major role in the history and development of modern civil engineering.

Also transportation engineering is part of our lives, because the infrastructure helps us travel from one place to another. The engineers involved in this domain are responsible for the design and construction process of airports, tunnels, bridges, highways and streets. Without their work and commitment it would be hard for people to live on this earth. Trying to understand their work and commitment may be difficult at the beginning, but in the end, when we look at their achievements we will have to appreciate their job. We can say that civil engineering was first mentioned thousands of years ago, in the ancient time. During that period of time people used to have a nomadic existence but finally they abandoned the idea of living in this way and they started to build different types of shelters. I believe that this kind of change in their existence had a major role in the development of modern societies.

When we talk about civil engineering we may include in this field, the architecture. We are not wrong if we believe that architecture is strongly related to civil engineering. The only thing is that architects play a different role in the design process of a building. They do not take into consideration the stresses and efforts that occur in a building element because the major aspect they take care of is the general and physical appearance of a building. They are responsible of the beauty and glamour of the buildings that surround us. Therefore we cannot imagine civil engineering without architecture. Even though there are many differences between them, at the same time they are strongly related.

Civil engineers are not mainly interested about the physical appearance of a building because they are more interested to design something that withstands the environmental factors like earthquake, wind or snow. The world would be more unsafe without the job done by civil engineers. They always try to calculate the amount of stresses and efforts that occur in every building element of a building. Sometimes due to a single mistake, the entire building may collapse and this may lead to catastrophic consequences. That is why they play a major role in the development of modern societies.

We cannot say exactly how an earthquake occurs, we do not know the magnitude or the intensity of it, but the civil engineers must take into consideration every single possibility and judge exactly how the earthquake may occur at a certain time in the existence of the building. Besides the earthquake occurrence, civil engineers must take into consideration in the same time the occurrence of strong wind and heavy snow fall that may affect the structural stability of the building. The soil where the construction will be built plays another important role. Therefore, if the foundations of a building are not well designed and built they may affect and decrease the lifetime of a building. Even though we cannot see the foundations because they are located in the ground, they are the most important structural element of a building. If the foundations are not properly designed the safety of people that live in a building may be seriously endangered.

As a relevant conclusion we may say that the best way to define civil engineering and civil engineers is the following one: they improve the quality of life for millions of people and the environment that surrounds them.

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice