What Is Civil Construction?

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Civil construction is a segment of the broader construction industry focused on building core infrastructure like pipelines, telecommunications, sewers, water treatment systems, highways, roads, bridges, subway tunnels and light rail transit lines. Companies operating in this field design, build and maintain physical assets that support economic growth and development and public health and safety.

Construction engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering that solves society’s problems by applying scientific and physical principles. Civil engineers typically hold four-year bachelor of science degrees with coursework in physics, mathematics, project management and design. After taking basic courses, students move onto specialize in one or more sub-disciplines at advanced levels. In addition to construction engineering, other sub-disciplines include land and construction surveying, materials science and earthquake engineering.

Civil construction brings together a number of these sub-disciplines, and is the means by which the goals of civil engineers are realized. It involves the planning and execution of construction projects, transportation of materials, and site development based on hydraulic, environmental, structural and geotechnical engineering. Construction firms have higher business risk than other types of civil engineering firms, so construction engineers often engage in more business-like transactions, like drafting and reviewing contracts, evaluating operational efficiencies and monitoring prices of supplies.