Have you ever wondered what civil engineering really encompasses?


The truth is that civil engineering has helped to build everything around us – all of the structures that make our lives easier, such as offices, schools and power supply grids.

  • The Carey Group
  • Tuesday 18th June 2019

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In this article, we explore several aspects of civil engineering and find out what civil engineers do. We also provide links to five remarkable projects that truly exemplify what civil engineering can accomplish.

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering refers to the design, construction and maintenance of buildings. Basically, it is responsible for all the structures and infrastructure that surround us, from the longest bridge to the tallest skyscraper.

The second-oldest engineering discipline, after military engineering, civil engineering can be categorised into several sub-disciplines, such as:

  • Construction engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Transportation engineering
  • Municipal engineering

Together all these aspects of civil engineering facilitate a wide range of daily functions and services that we sometimes take for granted.

For example, due to the infrastructure and utilities arm of civil engineering, we have taps with flowing water. Additionally, thanks to civil engineering’s superstructure works sub-discipline, we have crucial institutions, such as hospitals and schools.

Exploring the role of a civil engineer

Civil engineers design, plan and oversee the construction processes for a wide variety of projects – ranging from railways to aviation and from buildings to roads.

They can generally be categorised into two types:

  • Consulting engineers – who help to design projects
  • Contracting engineers – who manage the construction life cycle on-site, making sure that the work sticks to the parameters of the design and construction programme

Overcoming challenges

Unsurprisingly, carrying out complex building projects inevitably poses an array of challenges including delivery programme issues, resource management concerns and financial considerations.

Recent advancements in technology offer phenomenal benefits to the design and delivery process, and often help to overcome some construction-related challenges. Using technology, project programmes can be accelerated, with efficient and effective software and plant.

It can be hard to ensure that the many contractors on a large construction project – all focused on different aspects of the building process – maintain clear communications and deliver their responsibilities on-time and as smoothly as possible. To accomplish that, it’s essential to create clear design plans and delivery schedules, which contractors can follow, as they meet regularly to discuss the state of the project. This will give them the opportunity to make necessary amendments to designs as promptly as possible. Establishing open, well-defined lines of communication between contractors helps to minimise potential conflicts on site and ensures that project designs and programmes can be agilely and efficiently updated, whenever new circumstances or issues arise.

Additionally, the rise of technological innovation in the construction industry has meant that the equipment which is used to carry out building projects has grown ever more effective and advanced.

A bespoke solution of integrated services

At Careys, our unique integration of construction services gives us the unique ability to agilely, rapidly and efficiently facilitate the smooth and successful delivery of construction projects. This self-delivery capability helps to alleviate many of the challenges related to the construction industry, from communication obstacles to equipment constraints.

We deliver an extensive range of engineering, build and construction services, and have helped to construct some of the most prestigious projects in the UK. Through our unique self-delivery model, we offer a diverse range of specialist construction and resource recovery services, which are complementary and enable us to effectively meet a variety of project challenges. Our Group of specialist companies include:

Careys Design Team - Taking projects from digital concept to reality

ION Environmental - Providing safe, bespoke asbestos solutions

Scudder Demolition - Setting the standards for demolition since 1924

Careys Civil Engineering - Thriving on complex and challenging projects

BDL Dry Lining - Unparalleled knowledge, expertise and experience

Careys New Homes - From Our Family To Yours

Seneca Resource Recovery - Recovering energy from waste

Careys Building & Civil Engineering - Pioneering complex civil engineering and building challenges

All of our specialist companies are supported by our in-house Careys Plant & Fleet division, which maintains over 2,000 items of specialist equipment and machinery. It is responsible for the acquisition, deployment and maintenance of key items of plant for our projects.

50 years of excellence

The Carey Group is celebrating our 50th anniversary this year – we’ve come a long way since our formation in 1969. For five decades we’ve helped to create some of the UK’s most recognisable and complex projects, including,The V&A museum, Dundee, 22 Bishopsgate, The Royal Opera House, The West Works and Ford Dagenham.

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