Civil engineer services run our modern society, though we may often not think about their impact. From Lidar detection to transportation infrastructure to structural design and watershed management, civil engineering plays a crucial part. However, as the United States ages, so too does its infrastructure. Over a third of the major roads in America are listed as being in poor or mediocre conditions and data shows that by 2020, as much as half the assets in wastewater facilities might be past the midpoint of their useful lives, so repairing and replacing those will have to be a major consideration. Strong civil engineering management will need to be brought in to help keep us safe and American infrastructure running well.
What Does Civil Engineering Cover?
One might be surprised by how much civil engineering actually encompasses. In essence, civil engineers are responsible for designing, constructing, and keeping up with our transportation infrastructure, our drinking water and energy systems, our sea and airports, and building the road towards a cleaner environment. From the daily commute to mass transit or recycling and powering our technologies, civil engineers are behind it all. We couldn’t live the way we do without them.
Many civil engineers specialize in certain areas, like transportation, geotechnical, architectural, coastal engineering, or more structural in nature. Civil engineers work both in the private and public sector. In the public sector, they might assist municipal and national governments alike, and in the private sector, work with homeowners and companies that span the globe.
Are We at a Crisis Point?
We’re not quite at a crisis point, but we’re certainly heading there. Civil engineering management will be needed more than ever over the next few decades.
Over a quarter of bridges in the United States need important repairs or handle more traffic than they were designed for and over half of the interstate miles in the country are at 70% capacity, with almost a quarter at 95% capacity and struggling.
But it’s not just the roads. Over 4,000 dams were listed as “unsafe” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It’s estimated that by 2020, every single major container point in the United States will be processing double the volume (at least) that it was originally designed for.
Currently, over one trillion gallons of untreated sewage is spilled every year because of our aging sewer systems. Though the number is already high, even more toxic waste could be leaked if our sewer systems aren’t updated. And the United States Environmental Protection Agency predicts that almost $350 billion will need to be invested over the next 20 years to handle the aging infrastructure.
However, there’s not quite need to despair yet. With the right funding, planning, and collaboration with all levels of government, civil engineers can help turn these issues around and bring us safely into the modern era and beyond.
How Can Civil Engineering Management Help?
Civil engineering management combines both the technical and the non-technical when it comes to civil engineering projects and systems that are put in place. As more and more of our world is influenced and controlled by technology, civil engineers need to know how to plan and manage accordingly.
From training newcomers to cross engineering disciplines and working with a variety of professions and people, civil engineering management skills are crucial. The field of civil engineering has changed enough that a civil engineer is often called upon to be a project manager as well as a designer or builder, and management skills are key to carrying this out effectively.
It’s a necessary blend of both construction management and civil engineering; the fields give a civil engineer a more holistic and informed view of every situation and what needs to be done. This will allow civil engineers to plan, communicate, and execute the steps that need to be taken today.