structural engineer

Civil Engineer Vs. Structural Engineer: How to know the difference?

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This is commonly confused by many. There is a difference between civil engineering and structural engineering. However, their common denominator is that they play assigned vital roles in building infrastructures. 

If you do not have enough knowledge about the individual roles and responsibilities of the two disciplines it is tricky and confusing. In this article, we will tackle the in-depth comparison between the two disciplines, civil engineering, and structural engineering.

What is the difference between Civil and Structural Engineering?

It is down through history back when civilization began to develop, the oldest engineering discipline in civil engineering. It has a broad spectrum of specializations such as geotechnical engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering, and especially structural engineering. The civil engineer is the one and only specialist who is responsible for designing and supervising the site of the construction of public infrastructures. 

On the other hand, structural engineering is a sub-specialization of civil engineering. However, it has specific roles and responsibilities. A structural engineer is the one who is responsible for analyzing, designing, constructing, and maintaining public infrastructures. 

  • Areas of Expertise

Civil engineering is a specialist in the designing, maintaining, and planning of the infrastructure’s structure, construction, environmental, geotechnical, transportation, water resources, and materials. The infrastructures they maintain and design are the public and private buildings, airports, water systems, and roads.

Structural Engineers are involved in specific expertise for they help design the following infrastructures such as dam walls, bridge structures for the road system, structures for water treatment plans, etc. They also focused on selecting the materials that will be used for constructing the infrastructures. They select the best structural materials like timber, concrete, steel, and masonry. They ensure the structure doesn’t collapse easily when natural disasters hit like earthquakes and flooding. 

Civil and structural engineering are commonly confused by many. However, they are distinguished from one another. Even though structural engineering is under the civil engineering specialization, it still has specific roles and responsibilities. But both disciplines play an important role in building infrastructures. In simple words, structural engineers can be civil engineers but civil engineers can’t be structural engineers for it has specific roles and responsibilities in the ground field.

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