Civil Engineering FAQ

What is a civil engineer and what do they do?

A civil engineer is someone who specializes in planning, designing, constructing, supervising, and maintaining both public and private infrastructure projects. These projects can include roads, developments, airports, tunnels, bridges, dams, sewage systems, and water supply systems. Civil engineers typically specialize in one of multiple areas — construction, transportation, geotechnical, or structural. They are also responsible for obtaining permits, testing, environmental impact, and ensuring that projects comply with state, local or federal regulations.

When should I call a civil engineer?

For homeowners or property owners, hiring a civil engineer can be a valuable asset in various steps during the construction process. If you’re looking to build on a piece of property but aren’t sure what is feasible for the land, a civil engineer can perform a pre-design study where they determine what regulations are in place, what features the land has, and make recommendations for the next steps. Even if you already have an idea of what structure you plan on building on your property, a civil engineer can uncover opportunities and limitations in developing the property.

Beyond the research and preparation process, civil engineers can help property owners in the planning and design of site development. These engineers prepare the site plans for construction and plan the overall layout of the land and structures. Civil engineers can also point homeowners in the right direction of other specialists, such as architects or structural engineers, who can aid in the process of construction and give property owners the best results.

Why should I hire a civil engineer?

Civil Engineers have extensive knowledge and experience that can assist project owners with construction documents that are efficient, timely, and cost-effective. Sometimes, certain projects need special licensing or certification to complete, and hiring a civil engineer can ensure that your project is following proper state or federal regulations.  Civil engineers can add value to a proposed project.  They do this by studying the topography of the land and designing the efficient layout of the infrastructure to serve the project.  They provide project construction documents for permit approval and construction.

What questions should I ask a civil engineer before I hire them?

Once you’ve determined that you need to hire a civil engineer for your project, there are important factors to consider and questions to ask to help you choose the right one. One of the most essential things to determine is your communication with your engineer. Not only should you consider the response times to phone calls or emails, but also the feedback on how your project is progressing and any updates they have on the status of your project. You should also consider how much input you wish to contribute to the project and how much your engineer is willing to welcome it.

As with any project, it is important to consider factors such as pricing, timeline, and overall experience. You should also discuss any potential challenges that civil engineers foresee and what quality control measures they plan to implement to ensure a quality project

What is the difference between an EIT and PE engineer?

With all the different levels and titles of engineers, it can be confusing to determine the difference between them all. An EIT– Engineer-In-Training– is someone who has completed 4 years of schooling and has passed a Fundamentals of Engineering exam. EITs work as apprentices under a professional engineer. A licensed PE– Professional Engineer– is someone who has accumulated enough experience as an EIT and has passed a state-sanctioned professional licensure exam.

I want to become a civil engineer, where do I start?

Becoming a civil engineer begins with getting a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or one of the related fields such as construction or civil engineering technology. After getting the proper education, the next step is to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and become an EIT. Most EITs spend about 4 years working and gaining experience in the field under the supervision of a professional engineer. Licensure varies from state to state, but most states require them to take and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam to officially become a licensed engineer.

How do I become a licensed civil engineer in Washington state?

In Washington state, in order to become a licensed civil engineer, you have to take and pass the EIT exam, and the PE exam, and have 8 years of experience under the administration of a professional engineer. 4 years of education from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology can count towards these requirements.

Looking for a civil engineer for your next project? Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help!



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