Civil Engineer (Episode 49)


They design everything from roads
to hydroelectric dams. Let’s meet the civil engineer. Hi. I’m Viviana. Hi. Charles. The responsibilities of a civil engineer are to plan, design, and manage infrastructure projects: pipelines, roadways, buildings, bridges, waterworks. So, this is one of the options for one of the bridges that you and your team have been
working on for the last little while. This is a four-span steel option for a 120 metre bridge. There’s lots of different software packages for three-dimensional seismic modeling that we use. The renderings really show what’s going to happen and what you can expect when,
when it finally is built. A typical day is standard hours: 8 to 4:30. When a construction is happening,
we generally will be out there. And the reason we’re out there is to make sure the right materials are going in the right place, grades are correct, the sizes are correct,
that connections are correct to make sure what’s on the plans is being built. I was in the army for six years,
right out of high school. And then I was looking for a job
that I could get anywhere in the world, so engineering was very obvious. There’s always going to be a need for engineers. So, then I went to university
and then I stayed on for a master’s degree. You do need a four-year engineering degree. And many places, now, a master’s
is not required, but ah, but preferred. So, while we do use computers for a lot, we still do go back to the old tools
like the light table. Ooh. So, the light table is very useful
when you have the plans made and you need to see something
on the second floor. Take it, overlay it on the first,
line the grid lines up, and we know immediately if our columns are lining up, if our structure is working. You have to be very detail-oriented. Every design you go through,
you have to make sure it works, first of all. Make sure it’s constructible. If it’s not correct, it’ll get built that way and then you’ll have to come back and fix it. Working with the hands is important. The best engineers can sketch up
details, designs, drawings that can be put directly onto paper
and can be built directly from that. You have to be very organized to make sure your projects are staying on track
and you’re covering all the bases. You’re doing the design properly, doing the calculations and following up with the other team members. Three-quarters of the work is interacting with people, communicating with team members,
especially clients. Hearing what they want
and then doing what they want to see. So, how did the ancient Romans and ancient Greeks get away with building such massive structures, not having the technology that we have today? Well, they didn’t have the technology,
but physics haven’t changed. The concepts are the same. And the way they got away with it
was they massively overbuilt. They would use enormous structures that would take the weight that would stand up forever. So, it took a lot longer,
it took a lot more people. Now we use computers. We use technology. We try to get down to a
manageable size that will do the work— —in a shorter period of time. Shorter period of time,
more economical. There are a huge number of areas
a civil engineer can work in: road, construction, reconstruction,
design, marine engineering, docks, harbours, mining engineering. There are dozens and dozens of specialties. If there were advice to offer, it would be to do as well as possible in school. It just keeps the options open. Engineering wasn’t my path, it never,
all the way through high school and for quite a few years afterward. But without having gotten decent grades in high school, it would never have become an option. We do quite a bit of work for small communities
that don’t have a huge budget. And the most rewarding part is completing a job for somebody who really needs it. Thank you so much, Charles.
I learned a lot, today, about civil engineering. You’re welcome. Once again, this is Career Trek and I’m Viviana, reminding you that this career could be yours. We’ll see you next time.

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