The Difference between Structural Engineering and Civil Engineering

Structural and civil engineering involves almost the same things. For instance, both deal with designing and constructing buildings, bridges, roads, and other infrastructure projects.


But when we examine more closely, there are many key dissimilarities between, i.e. structural engineering and civil engineering.


Differences between structural engineering and civil engineering

Structural Engineering mainly focuses on designing and inspecting structures, including buildings, bridges, and towers.


To make sure that the structure built is firm, safe, and will be able to endure the forces it might face in its lifespan, structural engineering takes helping hands from mathematics calculations and physics principles.


While making the structural design, they consider environmental conditions, material type, and construction techniques.


Civil Engineering handles matters involving the design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure projects, such as roads, airports, and water supply systems.


The civil engineers working on the project ensure that the architect is safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly.


Not only that, but also keep up with the factors such as traffic flow, environmental impact, and public safety while designing and giving life to the infrastructure project.


No denying that both structural engineering and civil engineering require a good grip on mathematical calculations and physics principles.

However, apart from that, structural designing mainly concentrates on designing and examining the infrastructure.


Civil engineering emphasizes working more on larger and more complex projects, including multi-structural and multi-system infrastructure.


Structural Engineering

Structural Engineering, a branch of engineering, deals with designing and analyzing structures involving towers, edifices, bridges, and other man-made construction.


Using their in-depth expertise in mathematics, physics, and material science, they build stable, sound infrastructures that stand strong amid facing the forces and loads in their coming lifetime.


As the name suggests, structural engineering takes care of work related to designing the structural framework of the projects, which may include beams, columns, foundations, and many other load-bearing infrastructures.


To get a precise and error-less drawing of the design, they use computer-aided design (CAD) software and other tools to create 3D models of structures and analyze their strength and susceptibility to various natural calamities, such as earthquakes, wind loads, and heavy snow loads.


Structural engineers collaborate closely with architects, contractors, and other professionals who participate significantly in the construction process. The whole point of the collaboration is to ensure the building satisfies every minute design specification. They also ensure that the project's final outcome meets every relevant safety code and standard.


They can also be part of the team leading the structure's inspection and maintenance to ensure the building is safe and structurally sound for its lifespan.


Civil Engineering

Civil engineering involves designing, constructing, and maintaining infrastructure projects involving buildings, roads, bridges, airports, water supply systems, and other large-scale public works.  


Making the most of their mathematics, physics, and material science knowledge, they design, plan, and look after the construction of these projects and clinch their safety, efficiency, and environmental friendliness.


The projects civil engineering takes on has a wide range. It has its hands-on projects involving small-scale accommodation buildings to large-scale infrastructures.


They take part in all the project stages, from initial planning, feasibility studies to design, construction, or maintenance. Civil engineers work closely with architects, contractors, and other professionals to ensure the timely completion of projects within the allocated budget. They also make sure that quality standards also match the required scale.


Only some areas within civil engineering demand expertise in geotechnical, structural, transportation, water resources, and environmental engineering.


If required, civil engineers work for government agencies, construction firms, consulting firms, or other organizations that stress the planning and construction of infrastructure projects.