Are construction managers engineers

What does a civil engineer actually do?

Civil engineers design, plan, develop, measure and monitor structures and ensure their maintenance, serviceability and demolition. You have the greatest responsibility in construction projects. Find out more about the civil engineering profession.


Residential houses, office buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airports, factories, churches, power plants and sewage systems - there is almost no structure for which one Civil engineer cannot be responsible in any way. Civil engineers do not build the buildings themselves, but they plan and develop them. The profession is carried out in close cooperation with architects who design the objects. It is then up to the civil engineer to ensure that the architect's plans are carried out in such a way that the buildings remain standing. Your task is therefore to check the technical feasibility of the construction plans and later also to implement them.

The tasks of civil engineers are very diverse. That's one reason why they often specialize and only work in one or two areas - something in bridge building, house building, or road building. In addition, in the construction industry between Building construction and civil engineering differentiated. Civil engineers specializing in civil engineering are responsible for building tunnels, roads or foundations. Civil engineers in structural engineering, on the other hand, are responsible for buildings and bridges. The cities with the most open positions for civil engineers are Munich, Berlin and Hamburg. Building construction is a sub-area of ​​civil engineering. Buildings are planned that are mostly above the surface of the earth. In addition to residential buildings, these are, for example, cinemas or football stadiums. Civil engineers in this field often work for private construction companies.

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Civil engineers also work as Appraisers, site managers or building experts. They are also responsible for the safety of buildings and construction sites and also for the profitability of a construction project. In addition, the planning of the construction operation and the supervision of the subsequent equipment of the construction site belong to the activities of the civil engineer. Does the civil engineer end when the building is finished? Not at all. The activities have expanded over the past few decades. The renovation, energy management and the operation of buildings are now increasingly part of the professional tasks of civil engineers. Below is a list of the Duties of a civil engineer represents:

  • Plan construction projects
  • Calculation and dimensioning of the structure taking into account all possible effects (building construction)
  • Calculation and dimensioning of the structure taking into account the nature of the soil and drainage (civil engineering)
  • Check tenders
  • Create and review offers
  • Project management of construction measures
  • Create construction accounts
  • Prepare reports, for example on noise, environmental influences, energy and statics
  • Implementation of the building inspection
  • Planning the renovation of existing buildings
  • Project management for renovation measures
  • energetic renovations, if necessary in cooperation with energy engineers
  • Maintenance, for example of bridges and rail structures
  • Development and implementation of digital processes in building management
  • Coordination of external service providers and craftsmen for building operations


How do you become a civil engineer?

In order to take up the profession of civil engineer, a degree in engineering is essential. Civil engineering is a separate course of study. In addition to electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, it is one of the three classic engineering courses. Anyone interested in studying civil engineering should meet the following requirements:

  • Understanding of technical relationships
  • Interest in science
  • analytical thinking and spatial imagination
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Enjoyment of analysis
  • safe handling of numbers and IT
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Organizational talent

In addition, those interested in a job must meet a number of formal criteria. This includes the general university entrance qualification or technical college entrance qualification, i.e. high school diploma or technical diploma, as well as internships, if these are required by the selected university. Many universities have restricted admission to civil engineering, the so-called numerus clausus (NC). If you don't want to wait several semesters for the start of your studies, you should achieve this average grade with the Abitur. It varies from university to university and can change every semester.

The course itself is structured into a bachelor's degree and a subsequent master's degree. In the bachelor's degree, the basics are taught, including engineering basics in mathematics, physics and mechanics. In addition, building materials and construction theory are part of the basic knowledge. In the master’s degree, prospective civil engineers can then specialize, depending on the area in which they want to work later.

For example, it is possible to specialize in structural engineering, which includes the classic activities related to all building structures such as residential and office buildings, bridges and the like. Those who see their professional future in management can focus on construction operations in the master’s degree. The tasks of civil engineers who specialize in traffic and spatial planning include everything that has to do with mobility in their later professional life: for example building roads, airports and operating railway systems.

Anyone who wants to build dams or dykes later on or who would like to deal with wastewater and waste management will focus on hydraulic engineering, water, wastewater and waste management. At some universities, this department is also referred to as environmental technology.

Where do civil engineers work?

Civil engineers can work as independent engineers with their own engineering office or as employees. You will then either work for surveyors or in the construction industry. Suppliers of prefabricated houses are also always looking for civil engineers. When civil engineers work in the public sector, their tasks are primarily focused on urban development and compliance with building regulations and legal regulations.

The construction industry is one of the largest employers in Germany with 2.6 million employees (more than 6% of all employees). The largest companies in the construction industry, where numerous civil engineers also work, include:

  1. Hochtief in Essen
  2. Strabag in Cologne
  3. Züblin in Stuttgart
  4. Goldbeck in Bielefeld
  5. Zech Group in Bremen
  6. Kaefer insulation technology in Bremen
  7. Farmer in Schrobenhausen
  8. Max Bögl in Sengenthal
  9. PORR in Munich
  10. Leonhard Weiss in Göppingen


That's what you earn as a civil engineer

The importance of the construction industry in Germany is great. Around 10% of the German gross domestic product is used for construction work. What civil engineers earn also depends on their employment. Self-employed civil engineers with their own office must adhere to the fee schedule for architects and engineers (HOAI) when billing. Civil engineers in the public service are sometimes even civil servants and then paid according to the appropriate tariff. More on this: Civil service engineering salary

Civil engineers who are employed in industry earn less at the beginning of their careers than other engineers, and the salary increases with years of experience. Whether the civil engineer only has a bachelor's degree or a master’s degree also decides at the beginning on the amount of the salary. Civil engineers with a bachelor's degree can expect an average starting salary of 40,300 euros per year. Master’s graduates achieve starting salaries of just under 45,000 euros. In addition, degrees from universities and technical colleges initially ensure a slightly higher income than degrees from technical colleges. After the first two years of work, the salary increases on average every five years of work by around 9,000 euros annually, up to around 60,000 euros for civil engineers with at least 10 years of work experience.

You can read more about the salary of civil engineers in the article "How much does a civil engineer earn?"

Digitization in civil engineering

Robots on the construction site, concrete and building parts from the 3D printer - these are things that are becoming reality faster and faster in the construction industry. While many industries are already fully covered by digitization, this does not yet apply to the construction industry in all areas. A person who has lived in the wild for 20 years and is now coming back to civilization would be amazed at the new machines and digital interfaces when visiting a factory. If, on the other hand, he visited a construction site, he would probably think that everything was still the same. This is also due to the fact that the pressure of globalization in the construction industry is lower than, for example, in mechanical engineering. Building projects are mostly shaped by local conditions and local culture as well as by the respective technical building regulations.

The industry is correspondingly skeptical about the automation of process flows, for example. The reason: While many processes are always the same in car construction, for example, it is different in construction because most projects are individual. Full automation with robots on construction sites is therefore still a long way off, if something like this ever happens. However, partial automation in which robots support humans and not replace them is conceivable. And that should be implemented in the medium term. Not only so that the German construction industry can compete in a global comparison, but also for image reasons. Because the construction industry currently has a dusty image among young engineers. Young people are used to integrating technology and online tools into their everyday lives as a matter of course - and the construction industry still has some catching up to do on this point.

One thing is certain, however: the construction industry will catch up in the wake of advancing digitization around the world. Many companies are still hesitant to use digital "helpers" such as big data or cloud computing. Even smartphones and tablets are rarely used as support. Most of the time, construction plans are still drawn on paper in the traditional way. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is in the starting blocks, with which planning objects can be digitally constructed in all details. The potential of the BIM method is still underestimated, say experts, but that will change with every young civil engineer who comes from university with fresh knowledge.

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