Civil Engineering

In the mind of the general public, the notion of "civil engineering" seems familiar and vague. In fact, it brings together relatively well-known but quite different trades and fields of activity. Understanding the notion of "public" work is not so simple because some of this work is done for private clients and, in most cases, access to the site or the finished work is not public.

Civil engineering is an activity that, based on the expression of a social demand in a given territory (need for means of communication, buildings of various kinds, infrastructure, etc.), is carried out for private clients:

  • one of a conceptual nature
  • the other of a logistical nature.

In this context, civil engineering appears as the art of construction applied to public works, that is, the construction of roads, bridges, canals, railroads, dams, dikes, ports, airports, underground transportation or sewage networks, and many others.

The genesis of the concept of civil engineering was historically coined in opposition to military engineering. The very term "engineering" has its origin in "gears," which in turn refers to ingenuity, from the Latin ingenium, meaning the ability to invent and maneuver gears.

By the mid-18th century, the term "engineer" was gradually moved away from its military context as specific knowledge developed. In many countries, the architect and the engineer are the same person with the same training. The goal of civil engineering is to develop a territory to make it easier to access, to facilitate its traversal, exploitation, use of the potential resources it contains, to create a living environment better suited to the needs and aspirations of its citizens.

Among the problems that are already present and that future generations will increasingly have to face, we can mention first of all the supply of drinking water and its counterpart, sanitation.

In the field of transport, there is a lot of work to be done, as the demand for ease of movement is constantly increasing thanks to easier opening of borders, the general rise in the standard of living, and technical progress. Hence the need to adapt existing networks to heavier traffic and to provide an increasingly necessary range of multimodal services.

What does a civil engineer do?

Being a civil engineer is one of the most popular professions worldwide. As a result, one in five (20%) engineers specialize in this field. Here are some characteristics.

The tasks of a civil engineer

The role of a civil engineer is to design, operate, plan and supervise works and constructions for private companies or public service. Their work must take into consideration the environmental, social and economic dimensions of a project.

His duties are to help design plans in collaboration with architects, manage major construction, repair or renovation projects, establish safety standards, conduct tests, determine the materials needed to carry out the work, and validate the various calculations required to complete a project.

In short, any engineering work involving infrastructure requires the expertise of a civil engineer. It is also one of the engineering specialties where the engineer's responsibility is greatest, since a bad job can often have serious consequences.


In the United States, civil engineers earn an average annual wage of USD$87,060 in may 2019. In Canada, according to the Engineering Professionals Salary Survey, a civil engineering professional earns an average of C$67,065 per year.

The average salary for a Civil Engineer in UK is £31,404, meanwhile the average salary for a Civil Engineer in Australia is AU$73,760

However, there are a variety of factors that impact salaries such as your location, specialty, education, ambition, and luck.

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