In general, it is perceived, that the main focused responsibility of a Civil Engineer is to create infrastructure that will ensure safety and durability till the service period. However, the natural as well as man-made disasters pose a continuous threat and challenge to the built environment. The early age civil engineers accepted these challenges, conceptualised, designed and built the structures utilising their own resources and with time attained the social acceptance for their projects. Their aim entirely was focussed and directed clearly towards the benefit of the wider social good. The vital role of Civil Engineering endeavour is the art of directing the natural sources of power for use and convenience of mankind, plan transportation network for internal and external trade through the construction of roads, rails, bridges, flyovers, aqueducts, canals, river navigation, fuel supply, railway network, airports, harbours, inland shipping, moles, breakwaters etc.
With time, the introduction of computers and computation techniques has eliminated the drudgery of arithmetical calculation leaving the designers free to concentrate on more important aspects of Structural engineering. The better hardware configurations provide better speed and larger storage, making it possible to develop and use sophisticated softwares for modelling more precisely the structure, loading, structural behaviour and material characteristics. The future lies in large multidisciplinary inputs for planning with urgent need for innovation and creativity in developing ‘leapfrog’ solutions to meet existing and future demands in energy, water and infrastructure, in ways which do not degrade our limited natural resources and the ecological systems on which we all depend. Big infrastructure schemes are seen as the bread and butter of civil engineering and invariably as vital to the Nation’s future. Environmental degradation due to increased carbon footprints is direct implication of emission from buildings, transport, waste, energy and industry.
Over the coming decades there will be unprecedented pressures on infrastructure, especially related to transportation and the need for housing, huge increases in the volume and complexity of waste, including hazardous e-waste, and quite extraordinary demands for energy, which cannot possibly be met through current fossil-fuel resources.
For Civil engineers it is the time to embrace the challenge and put your passion and expertise in to play. Every discipline of civil engineering contributes to solving critical infrastructure and systemic challenges that impact the lives of citizens. From water resource engineering, transportation engineering, environmental engineering and geotechnical to structural engineering, each discipline features its own unique responsibilities and duties, providing newer innovative solutions that are sustainable, as planners, designers, constructors, operators, managers or educators.
Over a period of time the Civil Engineering profession is witnessing a decline in the values. There is some evidence of today’s civil engineers providing services to clients with only limited challenges, without putting in technical deliverance, latest know-how and encouraging over-engineering and not delivering value for money. The availability of the services at lower cost is problem of plenty. Therefore providing quality services but also economically can be key to sustainable development. This last aspect is the biggest threat to the shapers of the economy of the country.