What Does a Civil Engineer Do and Why is Their Role Important in Commercial Construction?

Jan 4, 2024 | Industry Insight, Blog

What does a civil engineer do? 

When it comes to commercial construction, there are a lot of different roles that need to be filled in order to see the project through from start to finish. One of the most important of these roles is that of the civil engineer. But what does a civil engineer do, and why are they so crucial to the success of a commercial construction project?

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the role of a civil engineer and explore some of the ways in which their expertise plays a vital role in ensuring that commercial construction projects are safe, efficient, and successful.

construction planning

What Does a Civil Engineer do? The Planning and Design Phase

One of the primary responsibilities of a civil engineer is to work with architects and other construction professionals to plan and design the various aspects of a commercial construction project. This includes things like designing and engineering the structural components of a building, planning out roadways and access points, and ensuring that the project meets all relevant building codes and regulations. In addition, civil engineers are often responsible for conducting feasibility studies to determine the viability of a potential construction site, and for overseeing the completion of environmental impact assessments.

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What Does a Civil Engineer do? Material Selection

Another important role that a civil engineer plays in commercial construction is helping to select the materials that will be used in the project. This is a vital aspect of construction, as the right materials can mean the difference between a building that is safe, efficient, and long-lasting, and one that is prone to structural problems, leaks, and other issues.

Civil engineers are typically highly knowledgeable about the different types of materials that are available, and can help to select those that are best suited to the specific project in question.

construction design plan

What Does a Civil Engineer do? Unpacking Project Management

What does a civil engineer do in terms of project management? In addition to their design and engineering responsibilities, civil engineers often play an important role in project management. This can include overseeing contractors and subcontractors, managing timelines and budgets, and ensuring that all work on the project is being done to a high standard of quality.

They are also responsible for identifying and troubleshooting any issues that arise during the construction process, and for coming up with creative solutions to address these problems in a timely and cost-effective manner.

safety meeting, construction

What Does a Civil Engineer do? Their Role in Safety and Compliance

Perhaps the most important responsibility of a civil engineer in commercial construction is ensuring that the project is safe and complies with all relevant regulations and building codes. This requires a deep understanding of the complex rules and standards that govern commercial construction, as well as a keen eye for detail and a commitment to excellence.

Civil engineers are often on the front lines of ensuring that buildings are structurally sound, that materials are being used properly, and that workers are following all necessary safety protocols.

planning, on computer

What Does a Civil Engineer do? Understanding their Role in Long-Term Maintenance and Repair

Finally, civil engineers often play an important role in the long-term maintenance and repair of commercial buildings. This can involve everything from conducting regular inspections and tests to identify potential structural problems, to overseeing major repairs and renovations to ensure that the building remains safe and functional for years to come.

By taking a proactive and long-term approach to maintenance and repair, civil engineers can help ensure that commercial buildings remain safe and well-maintained, even as they age and face the wear and tear of daily use.

books on table, tablet

Education Requirements for Civil Engineers

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in civil engineering, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or a related field is typically required. Throughout this education, civil engineers learn about calculus, physics, engineering mechanics, and construction systems through a mix of academic learning and laboratory work.

To increase your chances of landing a job, consider attending a school with a civil engineering program accredited by ABET. Additionally, co-op programs or internships are great opportunities to gain practical experience while pursuing your degree. While a master’s degree may be required for some positions, a bachelor’s civil engineering degree is typically enough to get started in this exciting field.

Civil Engineering Jobs

Civil engineering is a popular field in the United States, with a growing number of opportunities. Many civil engineers work with construction companies, government agencies, and design firms to plan, design, and oversee construction projects. Their main duty is to ensure that all buildings and infrastructure are safe and meet regulations.

Civil engineers typically work in teams and collaborate with other engineers and workers, making sure everyone is on the same page. They may also take on supervisory or administrative positions, overseeing a project and communicating with upper management. With so many options and opportunities, civil engineering is a rewarding career path for those who want to make a positive impact on their communities.


How Much do Civil Engineers get Paid?

According to the bureau of labor statistics, as of May 2022, civil engineers reported a median yearly income of $89,940. The median wage represents the value where half of the workers in the profession make more, and half make less. Those in the lowest 10% of the wage spectrum earned under $61,040, while the highest 10% saw earnings exceeding $138,690.

Civil Engineering Specialities

Civil engineering is a diverse field with many specialties, each requiring unique skills and expertise. The geotechnical engineering specialty deals specifically with the ground on which we build our structures. These engineers must have a deep understanding of soil mechanics and geology to properly assess a site’s potential for construction. Structural engineering, on the other hand, focuses on the design and construction of the physical frameworks that support our buildings and infrastructure. Environmental engineers specialize in mitigating and managing the impact that our built environment has on the natural world.

Coastal engineering, another important specialty, involves designing and planning structures that exist in or near the ocean. Coastal engineers work on projects like sea walls, jetties, or even offshore wind farms, and must understand not just construction but also the dynamics of the ocean’s physical processes and ecology. Finally, construction engineers serve as project managers and oversee the entire process, from planning to execution. The diversity of specialties within civil engineering reflects the complexity and importance of the built environment to our daily lives.

Civil Engineer Skills

Civil engineering is a multidisciplinary field that plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of the infrastructure that we use daily. It encompasses various aspects of engineering, including structural engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, and much more. The duties of civil engineers typically involve designing, planning, and implementing projects to ensure they are safe, cost-effective, and comply with local codes and regulations.

To excel in this field, most civil engineers need to have excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. The ability to think critically is essential, as is the ability to work well under pressure. If you are interested in pursuing a career in civil engineering, you will not be disappointed, as it is a profession that is rewarding, challenging, and always in demand.


In conclusion, the field of civil engineering is a major linchpin in the realm of commercial construction. Civil engineers bring life to architectural blueprints, converting theoretical plans into physical structures that are safe, efficient, and sustainable. Their meticulous planning and design skills, refined material selection, diligent project management, and commitment to safety and compliance standards are instrumental in shaping the urban landscapes of our cities.

Moreover, their long-term vision aids in the maintenance and repair of commercial infrastructure, ensuring that buildings continue to serve their purpose effectively over time. Their in-depth knowledge and multifaceted skill set make them indispensable players in the construction process, contributing to the successful realization of construction projects.

The role of civil engineers extends beyond the construction phase, as they also ensure the long-term sustainability and safety of structures. Through regular inspections, they identify potential structural issues and implement necessary repairs and renovations. This proactive approach ensures the longevity of commercial buildings and their continued safety and utility.

For those contemplating a career in civil engineering, the profession offers a dynamic blend of creativity, analytical thinking, and problem-solving. It is a field marked by continuous learning, innovation, and the opportunity to make a tangible impact on the community and its infrastructure. The work of civil engineers is not just about erecting buildings – it’s about shaping safe and thriving communities.

So, whether you’re an aspiring civil engineer or just curious about the inner workings of commercial construction, understanding the role of civil engineers brings clarity to the intricate process that transforms architectural dreams into concrete reality. We hope this article provides valuable insights into the multifaceted, vital profession of civil engineering.

About South Coast Improvement Company

South Coast Improvement Company sets the bar high in the realm of commercial construction design and management with its expertise in domains like assisted living, senior living, healthcare, and education, spanning both indoor and outdoor projects. Our wide-ranging portfolio showcases diverse projects including office buildings, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and commercial spaces.

We are especially skilled in executing projects within operational facilities, utilizing premium construction techniques to ensure everyone’s safety. Our professional team excels across different markets, guaranteeing thorough readiness for any project. This encompasses a deep knowledge of the subcontractor community, legal regulations, and other key considerations. Reach out to us today and see how our proficiency can drive your forthcoming commercial construction project to success.


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