Civil EngineeringFrom Burj Khalifa to the Eiffel Tower, mankind has created several awe-inspiring structures with sophisticated complexities. Achieving this feat requires the dedication, hard work, and vision of civil engineers and architects, among many other professions. Without them, structures of this magnitude can only be fragments in our imaginations.

This post explores the relationship between architecture and civil engineering; how they’re related and the major differences.

What is Architecture?

Architecture is the art or science of building; specifically, the technique of designing and building structures. A person that studies Architecture is referred to as an ‘Architect.’ Architects design buildings and structures like houses and office buildings. They apply their artistic creativity and vision to create aesthetic projects that are pleasing to their clients.

Essential Architecture Skills

  • Design skills

Architects are designers. With their creative imagination, they come up with sketches that are aesthetically pleasing and feasible. These drawings are then developed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) suites.

  • Advanced Mathematics

As a designer of buildings, architects need to have a good understanding of the forces acting on buildings – like strain, stress, and more. This knowledge helps them find the balance between design and practicality of construction.

  • Communication

Architects need to communicate clearly with clients to understand their needs and keep them updated. Similarly, they need to give their employees clear instructions.

  • Computer Skills

Today’s designing world has moved beyond drawing on paper. While freehand sketches are an important part of the creative process, architects need to know how to use CAD suites and Building Information Modelling (BIM) software to bring their ideas to life.

  • Building Code Knowledge

Every jurisdiction has codes that builders need to comply with. Architects need to be aware of those codes so their designs can be in line with what’s accepted.

  • Business Acumen

Although some architects work for major firms, many work as consultations or freelancers. Therefore, understanding the business side of things is an important skill to have.

What is Civil Engineering?

Civil engineering involves the construction, managing, and maintenance of infrastructures that support modern society – like buildings, railways, bridges, roads; mines and airports, ports, dams, and harbors; sewage schemes and water supplies, as well as irrigation systems and flood mitigation works.

As an engineering discipline, it focuses on the application of mathematics, mechanics, and physics to understand the structural elements of systems and structures to determine their limit in terms of load-bearing capabilities.

Essential Civil Engineering Skills

  • Technical skills

Civil engineers must have an adept understanding of advanced mathematics and physics. Moreover, they must know how to make use of important civil engineering software like CAD suites.

  • Communication

Civil engineers must be able to understand clients’ needs and pass on important information concerning construction.

  • Project Management

This includes scheduling, material listing, and logistics. This also means paying close attention to the ever-changing building regulations. Since civil engineers oversee the entire project, they must be able to effectively manage other workers on site.

  • Design and Implementation

Civil engineers also design, but they focus on whole systems like sewer lines, transportation networks, and other infrastructure projects.

  • Critical Thinking

It is the responsibility of the civil engineers to bring the designs of an architect to life. This can only be attained by creating elegant solutions while working within the constraints of the laws of nature, regulations, material availability, public safety, and more. They can anticipate potential problems and devise solutions for them.

Similarities and Differences Architecture and Civil Engineering

The services of architects and civil engineers are extremely crucial to the construction industry. While architects figure out the design and planning of structures, including factories and houses to museums and skyscrapers, civil engineers oversee the design-to-completion of the construction process.

Similarities

  • Architects and civil engineers both have a solid grasp of mathematics and technology, which is required to make accurate and safe construction plans.
  • Thinking in terms of cost, risk, and timeline is important to both professions. That’s why they need strong analytical skills.
  • Leadership and managerial skills are important to both architects and civil engineers. Without these skills, designing and overseeing complex projects would be practically impossible.

Differences

  • While architects focus primarily on building, civil engineers manage a broader range of construction projects, ranging from transportation infrastructure to water systems.
  • Architects are mainly involved in the pre-construction phase. On the other hand, civil engineers oversee the entire construction phase.
  • Civil engineers typically oversee other workers, including architects, construction managers, and mechanical engineers.
  • Architects mostly spend their time in the office, coming up with designs. However, a civil engineer’s job is split between office work and direct site supervision.
  • Although both professions require a bachelor’s degree and licensure, civil engineers tend to opt for advanced studies to attain senior levels.

Future Prospects

  • Architecture

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), architecture jobs is expected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028, which is 3% higher than the average 5% growth projected for all occupations.

This increasing demand is driven by an increase in the construction of offices, homes, hospitals, schools and more. The BLS report also indicated that the median salary for architecture, as of 2019, was $80,750 per year.

  • Civil Engineering

The BLS report indicates that civil engineering jobs is expected to grow by 6% between 2018 and 2028. Due to the aging infrastructures and growing population, there is an increasing need for new roads, airports, bridges, utility projects, and other structures. As of 2019, the median salary for civil engineers was $87,060 per year.

Wrap Up

Both architects and civil engineers are essential to the construction industry. While the architect is primarily focused on coming up with aesthetic building designs, civil engineers are responsible for overseeing the construction project from start to finish.

With the growing demand for new buildings and infrastructures, their role and influence in society will continue to increase.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for more information. We look forward to working with you on your next project.