Civil engineering is one of the most popular and oldest disciplines of engineering. It deals with design, construction and maintenance of structures and facilities such as buildings, roads, airports, harbours, bridges, channels, irrigation projects, dams, etc.
A civil engineer is an integral part of modern civilization. You can see the art of civil engineer in almost every activity you do from drinking water to taking shower, commuting on the road or bridges, flyovers, travelling in the train, aeroplane or any other mean of transport. He is involved in manufacturing, construction, and maintenance of solar power materials and solar power plants too. He also contributes to cleaner environment by introducing various technologies.
A civil engineer basically specializes in one of the following technical areas to gain expertise:
- Coastal engineering
- Engineering mechanics
- Architectural and many more
A civil engineer is entrusted by the society to build a sustainable world and improve the global quality of life. He can be employed in a private or government company as:
- Planner, constructor, designer and operator of economic and social engine of the society – the built environment;
- Protector of the natural atmosphere, environment and its resources;
- Innovator and integrator of plans, ideas and technology across the private, public and academic sectors;
- Administrator of risk and uncertainty due to accidents, natural events and other threats; and
- Leaders in discussions, negotiations and decisions determining public ecological and infrastructure policy.
Apart from the above-mentioned profiles, a civil engineer can start his own business in various fields including the following:
- Construction Industry
If you are looking to start your own business, you may seriously consider investing into or setting up your construction firm. The reason is pretty obvious, as the real estate industry is one of the fastest growing industries today. There is a wide scope for you given the high demand for various types of buildings such as hospitals, hotels, commercial and residential buildings, restaurants and fast food outlets, entertainment centres, schools, colleges, universities recreational centres, etc.
- Freelance Project Manager
If you have done civil engineering, you may work as a freelance project manager either with the government or private organisations or construction companies. As a freelancer, you may work upon several projects. As a project manager, you would require supervising and scrutinizing construction projects and ensure quality and cost-effectiveness of the project. There are various types of projects including residential and commercial real estate, roads and bridges, setting up of telecommunications transportation, repairs and modification services, safety installations, demolitions, excavations, and a host of other activities too.
As a construction civil engineer, you may combine your engineering and leadership skills in order to ensure that building projects are completed on time and within budget. You may hire other engineer/s to work as construction manager and coordinate the efforts of the team of engineers and labourers to meet the rigid production schedules. You may guide the construction manager to act as a visible hub of connection between developers, architects, and construction specialists.
Alternatively, you may work as the construction manager yourself. Since you have the degree of civil engineer, you have a better and thorough idea of the entire construction project. A civil engineer is responsible to manage the communication with the project owner, team of engineers, government officials and labourers, etc. and develop positive work relationships amongst each other. You should also be watchful to spot potential blunders and rectify those before any implementation.
- Construction Site Cleaning Business
You may also start your own business for cleaning the construction site. Post the completion of the construction job, there would be a lot of unused or waste materials which may need to be removed or recycled before the construction job is fully accomplished. Most of the construction companies outsource this critical service to other companies. This business has a lot of scope as with the growth of construction business, the need of cleaning the site is also growing constantly. As a civil engineer, you may set up your own construction site cleaning business and the best part is that this business doesn’t require any big capital. Also, it doesn’t require high expertise or knowledge, thus you may get the manpower with not much difficulty.
- Freelance Transportation Civil Engineer
As a freelance transport civil engineer, you may help everyone in the society to move around the communities and countries. You may be required to work with the local and regional planning boards to recognize areas of growth and development. You may also look for opportunities to lessen traffic grumbles. Once you understand the needs of drivers in a particular region, you may design plans and improve cost estimates for the construction projects. Once a new business plan has been sponsored, you may oversee a variety of subcontractors who would build new highways and roads, bridges and flyovers, metros, etc.
- Environmental Engineer
As an environmental engineer, you may set up your own plant and work towards cleaning and purifying the water and air for people in the society and around.
You may work closely with business leaders and government officials to establish new air pollution standards which reduce the harmful discharge from the factories without impacting the industrial output negatively. You may consider designing multifaceted treatment systems which eliminate contaminants from the air, water and wastewater. Environmental engineers are also responsible to examine the quality of our soil, assuring that harmful toxins do not rise up in the ground and harm us when we walk on. You may also work with the agricultural businesses and assure consumers that soil nutrients and pesticides do not impact the quality of the food we eat. Environmental engineer also assures the residents of new developments that the homes they live in have not been constructed on contaminated land.
- Freelance Engineering Services for Water Resources
As a freelancer, you may work for a private company or government organisation and construct dams which generate crucial electricity and opening up potential new package of land for development. You may design pipelines that transfer fresh water to distant and isolated areas safely and allowing new communities to flourish. You may also oversee projects aimed to protect and preserve the environment; develop intricate soil drainage systems and prevent new development from impacting the existing societies downstream negatively. You may provide your services along with the government agencies and help conserving water by installing refined rainwater collection systems for grounds keeping purposes and irrigation, etc.
- Freelance Geotechnical Civil Engineers
As a freelancer, you may help builders take up underground projects and work with other experts who manage challenging land renewal projects. This service is highly in demand. Basically, when the cities want to develop their underground mass transportation system, they seek the services of geo-technical engineers to supervise the tunnelling. Since majority of the real estate developers are constructing large buildings and skyscrapers in urban areas; your responsibility as a geo-technical engineer would be to ensure that the foundation can safely sustain the stress of new buildings and structures.
As freelance geo-technical civil engineers, you may work with the emergency management planners to strengthen the banks of flood-prone rivers near new housing developments. You may also help plan dams and to control the flow of water through the area. As a freelance geotechnical civil engineer, you may synchronize the placement and the layout of landfills and minimize the environmental impact on neighbouring homes and businesses.
- Structural Civil Engineers
You may also start your own business by providing services on contract basis to private companies or government organisations or projects as a Structural Civil Engineer. Here, you would be required to work with the architects, builders, etc. and assure that steel and other materials employed in the construction projects meet the requirements and expectations of the given project. With the development in technology and a profusion of creative and innovative building materials, structural civil engineers are working on a broader variety of projects than ever before.
You may also provide your services to the entertainment companies and design state-of-the-art rides and slides in the amusement parks and ensure the safety of rides. You may also consider working in the petroleum industry and developing innovative offshore oil rigs in the areas that were previously declared unstable. Structural engineers also contribute their services and efforts to other big construction projects like metro-rail, inner-city light rail systems or underground supports for new skyscrapers, etc.
- Commence a Cement Manufacturing Plant
This is yet another construction related business that a civil engineer may consider starting. Commencing a cement production business might be capital intensive, but the fact is that you don’t have to struggle too much to sell your cements, especially if you are also the project manager for the construction site and selling your product at a competitive price. If you have a strong capital base, then you may consider starting your own cement manufacturing plant.
- Electrical Wiring Business
You may consider starting an Electrical Wiring Business as any building is not complete without proper electrical fitting and wiring in and around the building. Your engineering qualification and knowledge would prove to be an added advantage because electrical fitting is all related to technology. You may consider hiring a team of electrical engineers who would do the necessary fitting, etc and you may just oversee the entire project. It is highly profitable and prosperous because the demand for electricity and energy is never going to decline.
- Energy Auditor
Demand for the energy auditor profile is increasing every day as there are several people who are searching for the effective methods to make their homes energy efficient. Energy Auditor keeps a watch on how the energy gets created, transportation and movements of energy and its management. He also checks the areas where energy gets wasted. You can start your own freelancing business of an energy auditor and provide your services to the government agencies, energy companies, or for the consumer watchdog groups.
- Plumbing Services Provider
You can start your own business as Plumbing Service Provider and manipulate the sustainable features, water efficiency, fire protection, pollution systems and energy of a building or facility. You may also be required to perform the calculations, size the equipment, and prepare the plumbing design during the construction of the building, etc.
- Property Valuer
You may provide freelancing services as Property Valuer to banks and other lenders. As a Property Valuer, you will measures the value of the property and conduct evaluations to establish the value of property when one makes the application for loan, etc.
A degree in civil engineering is highly advantageous because there is a lot of scope in this area. Most of the civil engineers get hired either by private companies or the government sector. Construction site alone has a lot of requirements which present abundant business ideas to a civil engineer. It just requires investment of some capital, interest, risk-taking attitude and hard work and you can start your entrepreneurship any day.