Structures, Soils and Construction
Structural engineers plan, analyze, and design a wide variety of large-scale structures including bridges, high-rise buildings, concrete dams, transmission towers, and special offshore and space structures. Structural engineers incorporate various materials in their designs, such as steel, concrete, timber, and composites, which also requires these engineers to fully understand the behavior characteristics under loads as well as the mechanical, thermal, and elastic properties associated with these materials. Structural engineers also estimate strength as well as deflection and acceleration response of structures under extreme environmental factors, such as wind, earthquakes, temperature, vibrations, and in a post 9/11 world, structural engineers are currently examining the survivability of structures under extreme impact and explosion, so that evacuation of inhabitants is possible in a safe and secure manner.
Geotechnical engineers analyze the properties of soil and rock that affect the performance of buildings, dams, pavements, and underground facilities that support above ground constructed facilities and public works. Geotechnical engineers evaluate the potential settlement of buildings, the stability of slopes and earth fills, the effect of earthquakes, and the seepage of ground water. Geotechnical engineers analyze, design, and construct earth systems, such as dams, foundations for high-rise buildings, and highway and railway tunnels. These engineers also analyze soils used in containment of hazardous wastes and off-shore oil platforms. Often geotechnical engineers are involved in the entire phase of constructed facility or public works project, from field investigations to computer-aided design to construction operations.
Nearly all Civil Engineering projects require the management skills of a construction engineer. The administration, scheduling and erection of constructed facilities is the responsibility of construction engineers. Construction engineers analyze constructed facilities based on function and economics; they determine the construction schedule, erection methods and equipment used, and they estimate the total labor and material costs of the constructed facility. Proper quality control procedures used by engineers during construction will increase performance and productivity and reduce the risk of construction failure and deficiencies.