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December 26, 2016

Civil Engineer

Civil engineers design, plan, organise and oversee the building of structures such as dams, bridges, gas and water supply systems, sewerage systems and roads.

Current job prospects

Chances of getting a job as a civil engineer are good due to a shortage of people in the role and increasing construction activity.

What you will do

Civil engineers may do some or all of the following:

  • consult with clients, government officials and other professionals on the requirements of each project
  • evaluate the suitability of proposed construction and development sites
  • plan and design structures such as roads, drainage systems, buildings, dams or wharves
  • work out whether structures will be able to withstand the loads that will be placed on them by people, weather and other natural forces
  • prepare reports, working drawings and specifications
  • prepare cost estimates and evaluate the cost efficiency of projects
  • assess environmental impacts of proposed developments
  • get plans approved by relevant authorities and obtain building permits
  • supervise construction to ensure structures are built correctly
  • ensure assets such as water plants and roading are efficiently managed.

Skills and knowledge

Civil engineers need to have knowledge of:

  • civil engineering and surveying methods
  • relevant legislation such as the Resource Management Act, the New Zealand Building Code, by-laws and town planning regulations
  • building materials, and how they work.

Working conditions

Civil engineers:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may need to work evenings and weekends or be on call
  • work in offices and in fields at locations such as construction sites.

Personal requirements

Civil engineers need to be:

  • skilled at analysing and interpreting information
  • practical and logical, with good problem-solving skills
  • safety-conscious
  • good at planning and organising
  • creative and innovative, with good design skills
  • able to work well under pressure
  • able to work independently and in a team.

It’s a really rewarding career for people who enjoy problem-solving, and who enjoy working with people. I think those two things are important if you’re interested in a career in engineering.

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