A Look at Different Types of Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is perhaps the oldest of the classic engineering disciplines. It is focused on the design and construction of infrastructure elements such as roads, buildings, bridges, railways, water conveyance systems, etc. Civil engineers fulfill various professional roles that require education and experience in various sub-disciplines that make up the different types of civil engineering. Here are a few of the most common types.



The structural components of a building or a bridge are usually designed by structural engineers. To be a structural engineer, you have to understand how external and internal forces or loads act on structural members and design them to withstand all loads and stresses. Whereas architects focus on the aesthetics of a facility, structural engineers use math, design principles and knowledge of material performance to make sure these built elements are structurally sound.



Geotechnical engineers bring a knowledge of materials science, foundation design, soils, rocks and hydraulics to provide guidance on foundational support for various infrastructure elements. Other types of designers consult geotechnical Professional Engineers North Vancouver BC for recommendations on the type of loads that the soils in a particular area can support. Geotechnical experts often provide direction as to the soil remediation needed to support a planned facility.



Transportation engineers are primarily focused on getting people from here to there. Some of the practice areas that fall under transportation include the design and development of roads, bridges, railways, airports, transit systems and traffic operations. Civil engineers who work in transportation may also specialize in urban planning, environmental science and infrastructure maintenance.


Water Resources

Also referred to as H&H for hydraulics and hydrology, water resources engineering is focused on the handling of water systems. This includes the design and processing of water for human use, processing of wastewater and drainage handling. These designers are experts in fluid mechanics and conveyance design to direct water as necessary.

Civil engineering also includes other sub-disciplines such as construction, environment/sustainability, surveying and land development.  The field provides many opportunities for education and experience. It is a crucial element of modern civilization.