Civil Engineering profession is a discipline concerned with design, construction, and maintenance of building. According to Robinson (2007), civil engineering is defined by (Davis 1998) as the art of directing the great sources of power in Nature for the use and convenience of man (p. 29). Work related to civil engineering includes; roads, construction of bridges, canals, dams and buildings. Historically, civil engineering is second oldest and was established to differentiate it from military engineering, which the oldest.
While elaborating on the genealogy of civil engineering, Grigg and American Society of Civil Engineers (2001) states that, “as a profession, civil engineering is about 200 years old and shares a common heritage with engineering, science, and management” (p. 14). The concept of civil engineering has been there since time immemorial. People used to design and construct structures, even before the term civil engineer began to be used. Grigg and American Society of Civil Engineers (2001) argue that, early civil engineers were scientist, managers, entrepreneurs, and general engineers; just like other disciplines, civil engineering began to emerge as a distinct profession during the industrial Age (p. 14).
Civil engineering profession, like any other disciplines it has ethics. As Robinson (2007) explains, engineering developed with time, to start at the Europe there was a move away from engineers as royal employees to a group of experts who had skills that required training (p. 29). These developments continued, with establishment of schools, and nineteenth century full focus of engineering was attained in England. Robinson (2007), with these developments came the first UK engineering society, the technological of civil engineers in 1818 (p. 29).
Harris, Pritchard, and Rabins (2009) say, civil engineers as professionals are expected to commit themselves to high standards of conduct (p. 23). The goes on and states the preamble of the code of ethics of the National Society for professional Engineers (NSPE), which states the following;
Engineering is an important and learned profession. As a member of this profession, engineers are expected to exhibit the highest standards of honesty and integrity. Engineering has a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all people. Accordingly, the services provided by engineers require honesty, impartiality, fairness, and equity, and must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct (p. 23).
To build their reputation civil engineer should adhere to the code of ethics. Compliance to the code of ethics also helps in keeping the standards of performance and buildind trust. “Standards of responsibility expressed in engineering codes typically call for engineers to approach their work with much more than the minimalist dispositions” (Harris, Pritchard, and Rabins, 2009, p. 25). They continue to argue that, keeping these standards endorsed by codes, does not require civil engineers to necessarily operate at a supererogatory level, however, if taken seriously, the standards are quite demanding (p. 25).
According to Johns (2002), “Civil engineers are responsible for devising economic practical solutions to satisfy the needs of the community for roads, bridges, water supplies and other major works” (p. 110). Therefore there is great need for civil engineers to have effective communication skills. As Johns (2002) stipulates, to remedy this, a new course of communication studies was introduced some years back in Manchester University (p. 110). This aimed at setting all the communication topics in the context of civil engineering practice.
In order to perform effectively, civil engineers need to have current technologies. Every field is advancing with time, and civil engineering field is believed to grow at astonishing rate. As Hagerty, Cohn, Perry, and Cosgrove (1996) states, “New engineering graduates must possess a very sound background in the physical sciences, in mathematics, and in communication skills” (p. 28). They continue to explain that, it is essential for civil engineers to have a good command of written and spoken language (p. 28).
Lloyd and Association of European Civil Engineering Faculties (1999) say, “the ICE in its review of the future of civil engineering recognizes that transferable skills such as communications, IT and business understanding should be included within the engineer’s foundation learning” (p. 78). As stipulated in the Engineering: Oral and written evidence book, communication skills are essential in civil engineering because, engineering makes an essential contribution to the society, with engineers being involved in solving some of the most prominent issues affecting society currently (p. 255).
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Civil engineering uses procedural information acquired from other sciences, and with superiority in all kind of technologies. Due to this fact civil engineering has extremely benefited. However, the future of civil engineering is predicted to be improved by the new technologies such as design software applications, GPS, GIS systems and other modern technical expertise in different areas. Choi (2004) is of the view that, the understanding of construction methods and constructability, gained through experience and observation, is very essential in the production of a sound civil design (p. 26).
In conclusion, I concur with Hagerty, Cohn, Perry, and Cosgrove (1996), who say with other fields in civil engineering, technology has transformed a field that was always considered essential to society, but was perceived as decidedly unglamorous (p. 72). As the technological changes advances civil engineering continue to be demanded throughout the world.