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When we think of a civil engineer it is very common to imagine the building or the finished civil work, we even go so far as to think that everything is done by a single engineer. Carrying out this type of work involves a large number of functions and activities. In this post I want you to be clear about what does a civil engineer does?

Most of this is what you find about civil engineer activities on the Internet is, ¨He is the professional in charge and, managing civil works or building projects¨, but the truth is that this definition by itself does not tell us much about what they actually do and the functions they perform on a day-to-day basis.

Before deciding to study civil engineering, you should make sure you know the activities that you can carry out once you finish your university studies.

I wanted to write this post because there is a belief that these types of professionals are limited only to supervising works, however, civil engineering is one of the most activities carried out within a project, these are the most important:

  • To plan
  • Organize
  • Lead
  • Control
  • Supervise

This includes all the processes that can be executed applying technical knowledge, based on current regulations and all in compliance with the legal framework in the stipulated time.

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Of course, the supervision of works plays a very important role, however, there are many activities that we did not imagine before studying civil engineering, for example, the calculation of structures, which is one of the most complex fields.


Any civil engineer must know how to prepare plans (using computerized programs or drawing on paper) that become the basis of projects such as buildings, houses, bridges and roads, as well as perform calculations to define the design and sections of structural elements.


It is important to highlight that the Civil Engineer must possess a series of qualities and  characteristics  which will allow him to carry out his activities successfully, the most important characteristics are:

  1. Ability to detect the activities that require a higher priority in the work: since occasionally eventualities arise and it is necessary to carry out the activities with the greatest importance or feasibility of execution first.
  2. Possess a general knowledge about the materials, tools, and machinery present in the workplace: in this way, it is easy to carry out an optimal inventory according to the needs of the project.
  3. You need authority and leadership to coordinate and control a workgroup: it is the safest way to carry out activities according to the work schedule.
  4. You must be updated to the current criteria: to discuss with your colleagues regarding decision-making and to choose the most favorable options for the project
  5. Organization: Being an organized and methodical person when controlling documentation processes of all the actions described in the project, including structural calculation activities, budgets, and plan modification.


The civil engineer must be trained to perform  functions  both in the administrative area and in the technical area of ​​work since when exercising the career he has to navigate both worlds, that is why for you to understand what he does exactly you must know both and understand that it’s not about you on one side or the other

The level of complexity of your duties as a civil engineer depends on years of experience and level of knowledge. Each engineer performs a different task but all in order to meet the project guidelines.

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The number of functions that an engineer performs is very wide, from project approval to the technical details applied in the work, is essential that each task meets the requirements and results are achieved in a timely manner, although administrative tasks vary with Regarding those in the field, an engineer must have general knowledge and be competent to undertake any activity.

Remember that machinery, tools, work personnel, and details of the work that correspond to the legal area are at stake and that should not go unnoticed.


Remember that the administrative area is very necessary for the proper functioning of the work, as I told you at the beginning, sometimes we tend to forget about these activities or we do not take into account that they are necessary to finish the project:

  • Have absolute knowledge about the specifications established by the work project.
  • Safeguard all project documents (plans, descriptive reports, requests for materials) to facilitate them to the working group when the situation warrants, either to give directions or report any modifications made.
  • Maintain accurate and constant communication with the Contractor’s representative in the Work (that is, the Inspector Engineer), preparing the minutes and requests required by the applicable contracting conditions.
  • Verify that the work valuations are met daily and avoid delays in the project.
  • Ensure and ensure strict compliance with hygiene and occupational safety standards on site.
  • Update the planning of the work, informing colleagues and superiors of eventualities such as requirements for equipment and materials, delays in execution, unforeseen expenses, payments to personnel, among others.
  • Keep the workbook updated with each procedure performed in the field.
  • Supervise and coordinate the preparation of the construction or final plans for the work, and also update the information on modified budgets.
  • Check the Quality of the Materials and Equipment to be used in the work, verifying that they meet the conditions and are sheltered in safe places.


The truth is that I like the most since this is where the most interesting and difficult functions are:

  • Understand and explain in a very didactic way to the workers of the work, certain specifications of the project which require greater attention and are priorities to advance in the field activities.
  • Check that the materials and tools that enter the work comply with the Technical Specifications for their use and ensure that the work has adequate spaces to store such materials.
  • Make sure that the activities carried out on-site meet quality and quantity standards, thus facilitating the progress stipulated in the work schedule.
  • Carry out testing and testing according to the requirements of the project to ensure that the activities comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Immediately report any failure or breakdown that the equipment and machinery located on the site present, thus avoiding accidents and ordering their immediate repair.
  • Suspend or pause the execution of activities that do not comply with regulatory requirements and immediately communicate them to your colleagues and inspection engineer, thus avoiding material losses.
  • Specify and specify the most appropriate execution methods according to the activity being carried out, this accelerates the schedule of activities without reducing the quality of work.

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If you were thinking of applying to pursue a degree, you already know what are the functions that an engineer must fulfill, and if it is indeed a career that adapts to your vocation, then do not wait any longer, sign up and become a professional.

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