When to Hire A Civil Engineer Over a Structural Engineer

There are many different types of engineers. When it comes to a construction project, civil engineers and structural engineers are among the most important. Some projects require the services of a civil engineer while others may require the services of a structural engineer. Still, others may require the services of both. Read on to learn the differences between the two so that you can make an informed decision for your next construction venture.

What is civil engineering?

Civil engineering is the oldest form of engineering. It includes a broad spectrum of engineering disciplines that includes dealing with designs, maintenance, and construction. Most construction projects need the services of a civil engineer.

Civil engineers oversee the construction of residential and commercial properties as well as infrastructure like highways, airports, and a whole lot more. Civil engineers play a crucial role in site design, drainage, utilities, and site grading.

What is structural engineering?

Structural engineering first evolved as a specialization within civil engineering. Now, it is considered to be a discipline of its own. However, all structural engineers first study civil engineering before moving on to more advanced degrees in structural engineering. As the name suggests, 

this discipline is concerned with the structural aspects of buildings, working closely with architects to ensure that the buildings are structurally stable in terms of design along with their load-bearing capacity.

While some structural engineers also carry out the tasks of a civil engineer, they go a step further and focus on structural design elements like load-bearing columns, beams, girders, and a whole lot more. They also look at the structural and load-bearing capacities of the materials being used in a project.

Most new builds require the services of both. 

What is civil engineering?

Site Feasibility Studies

Many projects need the services of both civil and structural engineers. However, there are a few different tasks typically carried out by civil engineers. Before any project can begin, the site needs to be assessed for its suitability for the project. Civil engineers test the soil, stormwater patterns, computing load, grade requirements, ground stability, groundwater conditions, and a whole lot more to make sure that it is suitable for your construction project.

Their analysis can play an important role in determining how to carry out a safe and successful build.

Do I need a civil engineer or a structural engineer?

Whether you need a civil engineer or a structural engineer or both depends on the project at hand along with where it is being carried out.

Type of Construction

If you are building any of the following, you can be sure you need a civil engineer on site. Some of them may also require the services of a structural engineer.

  • Airports
  • Bridges
  • Buildings
  • Dams
  • Pipelines
  • Retaining walls
  • Roads
  • Tunnels
  • Wastewater treatment plants

Where Your Project is Located

Laws and mandates differ from region to region. Some places may require a structural engineer to be involved for any kind of build while others may mostly require that the services of a civil engineer be engaged.

As you can see, there is no one size fits all answer to whether your project needs a civil or structural engineer. 

As a leading Vancouver construction company that offers end-to-end construction services, North Construction has the ability to build and manage the most challenging of construction projects in all environments.

We can provide the construction project management expertise you need on your new or existing projects, get in touch with us to discuss your project today.