What Are the Five Main Disciplines of a Civil Construction Project?

Posted on: 27 August 2020


In Australia, the engineering consulting sector employs in the region of 138,000 people, by far the majority of them highly skilled and well paid. Although not all of the engineers involved in consulting work will be involved with civil construction projects — some are involved in Australia's mining industries, for example — a good many of them are. There are five disciplines needed for the sort of civil engineering projects that are carried out in the country. What are they?

1. Civil Construction Management

When most people think of civil engineering, they will imagine a large civil construction job, such as building a bridge, a road or a skyscraper. Of course, all of these are perfect examples of civil construction. That said, what some don't realise is that such projects often have ongoing management requirements that civil engineers will need to take charge of. For example, a tunnel may need to be under fairly constant monitoring by a civil construction expert to ensure it remains safe and useful over the lifespan of the project.

2. Geotechnical Engineering

This is a specialist service that will often precede a large civil construction project. Geotechnical consultants will establish how the soil and what is in it will affect the construction phase of a project. No two tracts of land are ever the same, so careful work is needed in this field for construction projects to be a long-lasting success.

3. Structural Engineering

This is a mathematical part of civil construction that attracts number crunchers. Essentially, structural engineers do the work required to establish how much material might be needed to ensure a foundation will be adequate and how far spans can reach sustainably, for example. Part of this discipline also involves meeting a design brief which frequently means balancing aesthetic considerations against safety ones.

4. Transport Engineering

This discipline is needed in civil construction jobs that deal with transportation hubs. Flyovers, canals, railway embankments and airports are all treated as particular types of civil engineering projects that need specialist skills. The idea is to make transport systems that improve efficiency as well as the experiences of passengers as they interact with transportation infrastructure.

5. Water Engineering

Finally, water engineering is the discipline that deals with things like coastal erosion, harbour building, flood protection and sewage systems. Understanding how water flows and what can be done to control it is key to many civil engineering projects. Bear in mind that water engineers will deal with some of the largest of all civil construction projects, the design and delivery of hydro-electric dams.