By Jessica Marcotte, Director of Build ON 

Morning Duties
As a civil engineer working in construction, your day typically starts early. After arriving at the construction site or office, you begin by reviewing project plans, specifications, and timelines. This involves studying architectural drawings, structural designs, and other relevant documentation to gain a comprehensive understanding of the project's requirements.
Next, you collaborate with the project team, including architects, contractors, and subcontractors, to discuss progress, address any issues or challenges, and plan the day's activities. Clear communication is crucial to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the project's goals.
Once the team meeting concludes, you head out to the construction site. Here, you monitor the progress of ongoing construction activities, inspect the quality of workmanship, and ensure compliance with safety standards and building codes. As a civil engineer, you play a vital role in overseeing the construction process, ensuring it aligns with the project's specifications and meets the client's expectations.
During the morning, you may also conduct site surveys and measurements, analyze soil samples, and assess the environmental impact of the construction project. This data gathering and analysis informs the decision-making process, allowing you to provide expert advice and recommendations throughout the project lifecycle.
Afternoon Tasks
In the afternoon, you continue your responsibilities as a civil engineer, which may include:
  • Design and Planning: Back at the office, you work on designing structural elements, preparing construction drawings, and developing project plans. This involves utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) software and other specialized tools to create accurate and detailed blueprints. You ensure that your designs are feasible, cost-effective, and compliant with building codes and regulations.
  • Project Management: As a civil engineer, you are responsible for managing budgets, schedules, and resources. This involves coordinating with contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to ensure timely delivery of materials and equipment. You monitor the project's financial health, track expenses, and make necessary adjustments to stay within the allocated budget.
  • Documentation and Reporting: Throughout the day, you maintain detailed records of project activities, progress, and any changes or issues encountered. You prepare reports, including daily progress reports, site inspection reports, and documentation for client review. Accurate and organized documentation is vital for record-keeping, legal compliance, and future reference.
  • Problem Solving: Construction projects often present challenges that require your problem-solving skills. You analyze complex issues, propose innovative solutions, and collaborate with the project team to implement effective strategies. Whether it's resolving design conflicts, addressing structural concerns, or managing unexpected obstacles, your expertise as a civil engineer is instrumental in keeping the project on track.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Throughout the day, you engage in constant communication and collaboration with various stakeholders. This includes coordinating with architects, contractors, suppliers, and government officials. Effective communication ensures smooth workflow, timely decision-making, and successful project completion.
End of the Day
As the workday draws to a close, you review the progress made, ensuring that the day's objectives were achieved. You update project schedules, document any changes or challenges encountered, and plan for the next day's activities. Before leaving the site or office, you take time to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges faced throughout the day. This reflection allows you to continuously improve and enhance your skills as a civil engineer in the construction industry.
Being a civil engineer in the construction industry is an exciting and dynamic career choice. From overseeing construction activities to designing structures and managing projects, your role as a civil engineer in construction is vital to shaping the physical landscape of cities. By gaining insights into a typical day in the life of a civil engineer, newcomers to Canada can better understand the responsibilities, challenges, and rewards of pursuing a career in this field. So, if you have a passion for construction, problem-solving, and making a lasting impact on the built environment, consider embarking on a fulfilling career as a civil engineer in construction.
Remember, continuous learning, staying up-to-date with industry standards, and building a strong professional network will help you thrive in your construction career. With dedication and passion, you can play a significant role in shaping the skylines and communities of Canada through the field of civil engineering.
*The above is an example of what a day in the life of a civil engineer may look like; however, it may not represent all situations.  The roles and responsibilities may vary with the job title and company.