About Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is engineering discipline that deals with planning, design, construction, and operation of various physical and naturally built environments or infrastructures that are essential to our modern life. Examples of civil engineering projects include offshore drilling platforms, bridges, highways, buildings, transportation systems, dams, irrigation systems, water supply and treatment systems, flood control facilities, solid and hazardous waste management, and environmental restoration. Historically, civil engineering is the oldest engineering profession established around late 18th century to distinguish it from military engineering. As science and technological revolution expands, several sub-disciplines in civil engineering are defined. This includes constructing engineering and management, environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering. All these sub-disciplines are taught in most of civil engineering undergraduate programs including at PMU. The following is a brief description of each sub-discipline.

Construction engineering

is concerned with execution of planning and designs performed by transportation, site development, hydraulic, environmental, structural, and geotechnical engineers. Project management skill is essential in the construction engineering sub-discipline. Typical work includes in the construction engineering includes drafting and reviewing contract, evaluating construction logistics, monitoring prices of necessary supplies, and coordinating project plan and execution with owner and other civil engineering sub-disciplines.

Environmental engineering

is civil engineering sub-discipline that deals with the treatment of chemical, biological, and physical nature of waste (water or solid), the purification of water and air, and the remediation of contaminated sites. Among the topics covered by environmental engineering are pollutant transports, waste management, and air pollution control. This sub-discipline also deals with environmental feasibility study of a project including gathering information on the environmental consequences of the proposed project for the purpose of assisting society and policy makers in the decision making.

Geotechnical engineering

deals with behavior of rocks and soils that civil engineering structures are supported by. It is an important part of the overall structural system that is normally hidden under soil or rock. Without knowing the characteristics of soils beneath, it would be difficult to design safe and reliable structural systems. This civil engineering sub-discipline plays an important role in designing retaining wall, tunnel, underpass, road, and of course foundation of various structures.

Structural engineering

deals with behavior of structural systems and components when subjected to various forces (loads). Example of structures are buildings, bridges, dams, off shore platform for oil or gas production, tunnels, telecommunication or electric towers, etc. Major exercises in structural engineering sub-discipline include: finding designed loads generated from gravitational load and lateral loads such as wind or earthquake, performing structural analysis due to these loads using analytical or numerical (computer) methods, and designing or sizing structural members and connections.

Transportation engineering

is concerned about moving people and goods in efficient and safely manner. This involves specifying, designing, constructing, and maintaining transportation infrastructure which includes streets, highways, mass rapid transits, airport, and sea ports. It also covers transportation system design and planning, traffic design, road pavement design, and transportation management. Surveying, theory of queuing, operational method, and management are some of the important topics studied in the transportation engineering.

Water resources engineering

is concerned with the collection and management of water as natural resources. Example projects in water resources engineering are developing dam for generating electricity, building irrigation canals for watering farmlands, developing city drainage systems, etc. It is a multidisciplinary areas involving knowledge of hydrology, geology, meteorology, hydraulic, environmental science, and natural resource management. Major knowledge explored in this sub-discipline is prediction and management of both the quality and the quantity of water in both underground and above ground (lakes, rivers, and streams) resources.