Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Civil engineers: what do they do? Watch

Announcements
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I think civil engineers are split roughly into two categories:

    1) those who are mainly office-based (called consultants I think?)
    2) those who are based on site

    anyway, the question I want to ask concerns mainly officed based civil engineers. Between finsihing on designing the infrustructure, foundation, etc, and the day when the construction of the building/bridge/tunnel/etc is fully completeled, what do they do during the period of construction ?

    I know they go on site visits every now and then, but considering the construction process often takes years, what other things do they do?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Every now and then?

    Depends on the size of the site. They can be representing the client on site, designing changes, checking that work has been done properly as it goes on.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by W.H.T)
    I think civil engineers are split roughly into two categories:

    1) those who are mainly office-based (called consultants I think?)
    2) those who are based on site

    anyway, the question I want to ask concerns mainly officed based civil engineers. Between finsihing on designing the infrustructure, foundation, etc, and the day when the construction of the building/bridge/tunnel/etc is fully completeled, what do they do during the period of construction ?

    I know they go on site visits every now and then, but considering the construction process often takes years, what other things do they do?
    The main distinction is normally between consultants and contractors, along a similar line to that you've mentioned:
    Consultants: generally work in an office. But on a large project they will send a "Resident Engineer" to site who will have an office there permanently and deal with problems as they come up. "REs" as they are known are quite a special type - partway between consultant and contractor, as they are always employed by the consultant but are much more used to being on a site than being in an office.
    Contractors: graduates will start off on site, responsible for ensuring the plans are being followed, but are likely to become office-based as they gain experience and are involved more in the management and planning.

    Your question is about consultants then. Consultants are involved in several projects at once and move their work between offices / people to try and get an even spread of work. So, once the big bits of work for a project are done (i.e. the detailed design) most of the engineers and technicians working on it will be put on to a different project which is just entering the design phase. Those that remain will likely also be juggling their time between the old project and new ones.

    As for work remaining for the consultant once construction is going on, well quite a lot (just spread over a long period of time). It may include:

    • Approving any temporary works designed by the contractor.
    • Approving any changes to design suggested by contractor to make it easier to build.
    • Some detail drawings (e.g. reinforcement detail) may be contracted out to, say, the concrete subcontractor. In which case each of these needs to be checked and approved.
    • When the contractor screws up, working out the implications. (It's easy to say "break that out and do it again" - but best avoided if possible as it will cause budget and time problems.)
    • Trying to accomodate any changes of mind by the client.
    • Visiting site and making sure it all looks nice.
    • Going to meetings.

    Of course once the structural frame is up and the building is being decorated and fitted out, their role is pretty much over.

    Also it sometimes isn't as simple as "design building. build building" - sometimes clients want their building in a hurry and will do things like start building the foundations before the rest of the design has been finalised. And will sometimes change their mind, a lot. So even once construction has started, it's rarely plain sailing!
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Will you be richer or poorer than your parents?
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.