become a civil engineer

What does a Civil Engineer do?

Are you looking to become a civil engineer and not sure of the potential job prospects? One potential position is to become a civil engineer at a civil contracting company. But what’s involved in the job? You might not notice it, but it’s likely you’ll see civil contracting companies at work throughout your local community all the time. They could be working on earthworks, trenching or even water infrastructure.

Civil contractors are often seen as a jack of all trades when it comes to construction (link opens in a new window), maintenance and design. They are often working with and providing solutions to problems involving earth, water, mining or transport. Civil contractors will design, organize and manage a whole project from start to finish and provide all the resources and machinery required to carry out the job.

Want to learn more about what’s involved with being a civil contractor? Here are some of the most common tasks that civil contracting companies carry out on a regular basis.

Pipeline Construction

Civil contracting companies are involved with numerous pipeline constructions. They work with water pipes, gas mains, sewerage mains and more. This involves digging up an area to check existing pipelines and assessing what might need to be done to repair or replace the pipes.

As time goes on, constant advancements and improvements in best practices and products are found. Therefore, civil contractors are called in to replace old pipelines (such as old cast iron pipes) with poly pipes to ensure a more reliable flow for future years. They are also contacted to deal with urgent issues (such as a burst pipe) or for regular maintenance and scheduled assessments of the infrastructure.

Land Development

Civil works are performed by contracting companies for residential and industrial land development projects. Civil contracting companies help create sustainable future communities by carrying out sewerage, drainage and waterworks. They also assist in building retaining walls, noise walls and stormwater solutions.

Civil contractors are usually called in before home development begins on the land, to ensure all utilities and earthworks are completed with minimal effect on local residents. If there are residents living in the area, the company will put necessary safety precautions in place to reduce the inconvenience they could cause, such as managing dust from earthworks.

Water Infrastructure

Water infrastructure design and maintenance is a key component of the services provided by civil contractors. Even state government companies such as the Water Corporation (link opens in a new window) entrust civil contracting companies for water infrastructure and maintenance. Water pumping stations, wastewater treatment plants and dam upgrades are just some of the water infrastructure projects that civil contracting companies usually complete.


Trenching for mining operations and residential and commercial plumbing and pipe works can also be carried out by civil contracting companies. Experienced contractors also have access to trenchless technology (link opens in a new window) to get the job done with minimal ground disturbance in the area. Contractors use a range of boring, drilling and rock cutting techniques to efficiently install infrastructure. Trenchless technology also helps to reduce the environmental impact of trenching operations.

Mining Infrastructure

Civil contracting companies provide their services to mining operations to help connect rural areas to pumping stations, providing water to help with ore extraction. Civil contractors also assist with complete pond creation and refurbishment and sewerage and pressure mains. Due to the harsh weather and environment usually experienced in rural country areas, they also perform protection works to increase the strength and durability of piping and machinery.

Machinery Hire

Some civil contracting companies also offer the hire of trenchers, excavators and trucks to be used in site works, piping and excavation. You can also hire trained staff to operate the machinery on location.

As you can tell, the tasks performed by civil contracting companies are usually quite varied, but they usually incorporate a few key areas being excavation, piping and construction. Experienced civil contractors will always keep up to date with the latest industry trends and carry well-maintained machinery and have qualified and experienced staff.

Author Bio

This article is written by Alex Hamilton, on behalf of DM Civil – Professional civil contractors based in Perth, Western Australia. You can catch him on Google+.

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