Civil vs Structural Engineering

Civil vs Structural Engineering
November 2, 2020 admin

Are you wondering whether to hire a civil or structural engineer? Actually, you’ll need both of them! They work together at a construction site, although they have very different roles. While the job of a civil engineer is to do the planning and designing, the structural engineer needs to make sure that all the structures are strong, durable and crafted from quality materials. In other words, structural engineering is simply a branch of civil engineering. But let’s go into finer details and explain the process of building infrastructures and the difference between various types of engineering services.


The 6 Steps of Creating an Infrastructure


From drawing a plan to fabrication and CNC machining, Perth infrastructure projects involve a large number of professionals working on the construction site. The six key steps of creating most infrastructures include:


  • Design and planning
  • Geotechnical and earthworks
  • Sub-structure and superstructure
  • Drainage and utilities
  • Finishing touches
  • Maintenance


Civil and structural engineers are involved in all of these stages, ensuring that every aspect of the infrastructure is planned and executed properly. And now let’s speak about their roles!


Who Does What?


Engineering services Perth constructors normally include everything from planning to building and maintenance. But whether you want to build a bridge, an airport or block of buildings, you need to work with civil engineers first. They are in charge of the design, and their job is to plan what is going to be constructed.


Ok, but where do the structural engineers jump in? Their primary role is to advise contractors and architects to make sure everything is planned and executed properly. They will work with civil engineers side-by-side, but they will also do some planning. They have to check whether specific materials are adequate to support the design. For example, a structural engineer should make sure that a building or a bridge does not collapse due to insufficient design or poorly chosen materials. It is also his job to analyse how flood levels caused by climate change might affect a certain structure. Drawings of footings and slabs are also the structural engineer’s responsibility because they must ensure that the materials are compatible with designs and meet Australian Standards. On the other hand, civil engineers are focused on creating detailed drawings of drainage, falls and earthworks.


Design, Structure, Materials


So, what is the difference between the two types of engineering services then? To make it super-simple, let’s see what each of them is actually in charge of at the site. Civil engineers are responsible for planning whole infrastructures such as:


  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Railways
  • Water systems
  • Dams


At the same time, structural engineers are testing materials and designing structures within these projects. Their job is to take care of:


  • Road systems
  • Bridge structures
  • Dam walls
  • Reservoirs
  • Signs over freeways


While civil engineers are painting a big picture, structural engineers are focusing on separate elements!  The latter are responsible for structures and for the inspection of materials used at the site. Their key role is to make sure that buildings, bridges, dams, canals, pipelines and other constructions are safe, sturdy and resilient.