Civil Engineering Technicians
Civil engineering technicians help civil engineers plan and design the construction of highways, bridges, utilities, and other major infrastructure projects. They also help with commercial, residential, and land development.
Civil engineering technicians typically do the following:
- Read and review project blueprints to determine dimensions of structures
- Confer with their supervisors about preparing plans and evaluating field conditions
- Inspect project sites and evaluate contractorsí work to detect problems with a design
- Help to ensure that projects conform to design specifications and applicable codes
- Develop plans and estimate costs for installing systems and operating facilities
- Prepare reports and document project activities and data
Civil engineering technicians must work under the direction of a licensed civil engineer. For more information, see the profile on civil engineers.
Civil engineering technicians generally help civil engineers, often doing many of the same tasks as the engineers. However, because they are not licensed, civil engineering technicians cannot approve designs or supervise the overall project.
These technicians sometimes estimate construction costs and specify the materials to be used. Other times, they prepare drawings or survey land. Civil engineering technicians may also set up and monitor various instruments for studies of traffic conditions.
Civil engineers design and supervise large construction projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.
Civil engineers typically do the following:
- Analyze survey reports, maps, and other data to plan projects
- Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors in planning stages
- Test soils to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
- Test building materials, such as concrete, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
- Provide cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a projectís economic feasibility
- Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
- Oversee, or participate in, surveying to establish reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
- Present their findings to the public on topics such as bid proposals, environmental impact statements, or property descriptions
Many civil engineers hold supervisory or administrative positions ranging from supervisor of a construction site to city engineer. Others work in design, construction, research, and teaching. They work with others on projects and may be assisted by civil engineering technicians and technologists.
The federal government employs about 12,100 civil engineers to do many of the same things done in private industry, except that the federally employed civil engineers may also inspect projects to be sure that they comply with regulations.
Civil engineers work on complex projects, so they usually specialize in one of several areas.
Geotechnical engineers work to make sure that foundations are solid. They focus on how structures built by civil engineers, such as buildings and tunnels, interact with the earth (including soil and rock). Additionally, they design and plan for slopes, retaining walls, and tunnels.
Structural engineers design and assess major projects, such as bridges or dams, to ensure their strength and durability.
Transportation engineers plan and design everyday systems, such as streets and highways, but they also plan larger projects, such as airports, ports, and harbors.