Civil engineer


Also known as:

  • Coastal engineer

What they do

Civil engineers design, construct and maintain the buildings, bridges, dams, roads and other types of infrastructure that make up our cities and towns. Fremantle Harbour, the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme and the Forrest Highway are all examples of significant civil engineering works in Western Australia. Civil engineers visit building sites and assess proposed plans to determine the environmental impact of large scale projects, and whether the building materials will be sufficient to create a safe and stable structure.

Specialisations include: Airfield Engineer Officer (Air Force), Hydraulics Engineer

Working conditions

Civil engineers work in offices and on building sites. When they are on buildings sites, they may experience all types of weather conditions. They work on projects throughout Western Australia, from building new skyscrapers in Perth, to designing systems to transport and store water at remote minesites in regional areas. Civil engineers generally work regular office hours, however, they may be required to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. Some civil engineers also work on call, in case of emergencies, such as a burst water or gas pipe.

Tools and technologies

Civil engineers cross-check building plans against a range of reference materials to ensure that a finished structure will be strong enough and able to withstand dangerous weather conditions. They must also be familiar with surveying equipment, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), so that they can gather information about a particular site in case special precautions need to be taken during construction. When working on a building site they will also be required to wear appropriate safety equipment including hard hats and high-visibility clothing.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a civil engineer, you usually have to complete a degree in engineering, majoring in civil engineering. You may need to complete postgraduate study to specialise in civil engineering.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.