Civil engineering is the term that is used to incorporate a number of different engineering disciplines such as structural and construction engineering. It can be defined as the field of designing and creating manmade structures so that they work well within the environment that they are being built in. This means that the civil engineer needs to take into account a number of factors to ensure the structural integrity of a building.
One of these factors is water which comes in different forms and therefore can affect a structure in a variety of ways. For example, ground water can affect the foundation of a building and needs to be diverted away from a prospective building site before building can begin. Civil engineering can use channels and pipes to divert the ground water away from the structure both during the building process and once the construction project has been completed.
Underground aquifers can also create problems when they occur to near the surface. This water is far more difficult to divert and a site where these aquifers occur is normally not considered ideal for a building to be erected. A range of pumps and pipes can be used to drain the underground aquifers but it is more than likely that the aquifer will re-occur as it has all the natural qualities that are ideal for a water collection point.
Rain is the next factor that affects construction through the practice of civil engineering. We all saw how much damage rain and wind can cause from the media images of Hurricane Katrina. Flooding is the greatest risk to be taken into account with rain and a number of different drainage techniques are used by engineers to ensure that rain water flows safely away from manmade structures.
Civil engineering is necessary for the building of any and all structures. This includes structures such as bridges, roads, parking lots etc. The placement of these structures within an urban environment is very important to the way in which a society functions. A civil contractor is therefore very involved in the planning of cities and towns to ensure the optimal functioning of the society as a whole.
Town planning with regards to roads must take into consideration the flow of traffic and the amount of cars that are currently on the roads. However, future growth of the city or town also needs to be taken into account and how many cars will be on the roads in the future and in what way this will affect traffic flow. For instance, where a single lane road may suffice in a specific urban area at the moment, in ten or twenty years the amount of cars may increase to such an extent that a second lane will need to be included.
The civil engineering contractor in conjunction with the town planning committee will need to evaluate whether it would be more cost effective and convenient to lay the double lane at the beginning of the project or if a lane could be added at a later date and when this addition should be made. They also need to ensure that enough space is left for the addition and that no buildings or other structures encroach on future plans.
This is why any plans for additions or alterations that are made to any house or building need to be evaluated by a professional in the civil engineering field and then submitted to the town council. The town planning commission will then decide whether the plans fit in with the overall strategy for the city or town over the long term.
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