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31 Essential Civil Engineering Basic Questions you need to know about

Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by Admin

This article will walk you through the basics of civil engineering. From what civil engineering is to why it exists, this article provides a primer on civil engineering and some must-know basic questions about the subject.


It contains civil engineeirng commonly asked questions during an interview and gives you the best possible answers. If you end up in a complicated situation, make sure to know what type of civil engineering profession you want to pursue!

Civil Engineering Basic Questions

Do you have a knack for asking technical questions? If so, this article will be perfect for you. It provides a list of 31 essential civil engineering basic questions that any person interested in the field must know before they start learning or working on their career.

1. What is civil engineering?

Civil Engineering is the application of engineering principles and techniques to architecture, civil engineering, construction, transportation, city planning, and other related fields. Some of the main sub-disciplines are environmental engineering (which deals with solutions for contamination of river basins, groundwater quality, and pollution), geotechnical engineering (which deals with soil mechanics and foundation design), structural engineering (which deals with structures such as bridges, buildings, dams, etc.), materials science (the study of alloys and properties of materials as well as their application in the industry), etc.


2. What are the main goals of civil engineering?

The primary goal of civil engineering is to make the world a better place by solving problems. The main issues that need to be solved are: – water supply, – sewage/waste disposal, – drainage systems, – transportation (roads, railways), – power generation, and transmission.

3. What are some common civil engineering tasks?

Some of the most common civil engineering tasks are:-

  • Developing an infrastructure plan that is both environmentally responsible and economically feasible (roads, bridges, etc.)
  • Designing and developing a water system or wastewater treatment facility
  • Controlling subsurface impacts on the environment through minimization of construction disturbance
  • Designing and conducting a geotechnical investigation to assess soil conditions, including soil strength, cohesion, etc.
  • Maintaining roads, bridge decks and retaining walls during construction.
  • Estimating cost for building materials for a given project type.

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4. What are the different types of civil engineering projects?

The following classifications typically summarize the different types of civil engineering projects:

1.) Transportation Construction projects: these involve the construction or renovation of roads, railroads, highways, subways, and airports.

2.) Water Supply Project: these include the construction of stormwater sewers, canals, dams, and reservoirs.


3.) Utility/Sanitary System Construction project: these involve installing or expanding sewers, pumps for sewage treatment facilities, sewerage systems, and water mains.

4.) Energy Systems Construction project: these encompass modern electronic power transmission lines (e.g., transmission lines), substations (which convert electricity from high voltage to low voltage), transformers (which reduce or increase the electrical current), and HVAC systems (heating vents).

5.) Public Facilities Project: The more significant categories of public facilities construction include schools (elementary through college) and hospitals; airports; civic centers and libraries; post offices; courthouses; community centers; fire stations/stations; jails/prisons; and municipal buildings.

6.) Industrial Facilities: These involve the construction or expansion of industrial plants such as factories, warehouses, commercial buildings, distribution centers, etc., to meet increased demands for products and services.

5. What are some common civil engineering problems?

Civil engineering problems can be challenging to solve, but with the help of a civil engineer, you can start to find a solution. Some common civil engineering problems include: finding a way to connect two pieces of land, building bridges and roads, solving water problems, and designing green buildings. A civil engineer will have the skills and knowledge to help you solve these challenging problems.

6. How can civil engineers help communities and businesses?

Civil engineers help communities and businesses in a variety of ways. They can design new buildings or redevelopment projects, help to solve traffic congestion problems or work on water supply and wastewater systems. They can also help businesses find new energy sources or create sustainable transportation solutions. Civil engineers deeply understand how the built environment affects people and the economy, making them invaluable team members.

7. What are the educational requirements for a career in civil engineering?

To become a civil engineer, you will need a degree in civil engineering from an accredited university. You can start working as civil engineering after completing a Diploma course as well.


8. How has civil engineering changed over the years?

Civil engineering has changed over the years to meet the needs of modern society. One big change is the growth in urban areas, which necessitates different types of infrastructure than rural areas. In addition, technological advances have allowed for more innovative designs and construction methods.

9. What are the requirements for civil engineering?

To be a successful civil engineer, you need to have strong math skills and knowledge of physics and chemistry. You also need to understand mathematical models used in engineering calculations and experience working with computers.

10. What are some of the most common tasks in civil engineering?

Some of the most common tasks in civil engineering include designing buildings and infrastructure, estimating construction costs, resolving disputes between parties involved, and mitigating risks associated with construction projects.

11. What is the difference between civil engineering and architecture?

Civil engineering combines civil, structural, and mechanical engineering to design, maintain and construct physical facilities.

The main difference between civil engineering and architecture is that architects are mainly concerned with the interaction of humans with their built environment. In contrast, civil engineers are more concerned with the exchange of structures.

12. What are the three main branches of civil engineering?

The three main branches of civil engineering are construction, geotechnical, and transportation. Conventional construction involves designing and building public works such as roads, bridges, airports, and buildings.

Geotechnical engineering is concerned with soil mechanics, ground conditioning, and foundation design. Transportation engineers plan and carry out the design and operation of all forms of land mass transportation, including highways, railroads (like passenger trains), trolleys, monorails, etc.

13. What are the six main areas of civil engineering?

Structural engineering, transportation engineering, water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and project management.

14. What is a bridge?

A bridge is a structure that connects two points of land, such as between two countries. Bridges allow people or vehicles to cross a body of water or other gaps without getting wet.

15. What is a culvert?

A culvert is a structure that carries water under a highway. The word ‘culvert’ may derive from the Latin word ‘culum,’ meaning bowl or tunnel, which may give us an insight into how it was used in the past: to carry water under the ground.

15. What is a dam?

A dam is a structure built across a river, lake, or other body of standing water to provide a barrier against erosion and flood control.


17. What is a levee?

A levee is a structure built across a river to prevent flooding. As the name implies, it is used in cases with high water levels and floods. There are various levees; some have open spaces while others close off the space entirely.

18. What is an aqueduct?

Aqueduct is a word of Latin origin that means water pipe or conduit. An aqueduct is an artificial water supply system used in areas where the natural water supply may not be sufficient to meet human needs.

19. What are the five types of bridges?

The Five Types of Bridges

  • 1. The Suspension Bridge
  • 2. The Tunnel Bridge
  • 3. The Pedestrian Bridge
  • 4. The Cable-Stayed Bridge  (I tried to make this bridge)
  • 5. The Drawbridge (actually a water-tight gate)

20. What is the purpose of civil engineering?

Civil engineering is one of the oldest and most important engineering specialties. Civil engineers are involved in structural design and construction, transportation planning, environmental protection and remediation, water supply and conservation, energy production, and transmission.

21. What are some common civil engineering terms?

Beam – A large piece of material that is used to support an arch or span. Girder – The steel member that connects the beams to form an arch. Beam-column – A common structural arrangement in which a beam spans from roof to floor on one side and from floor to roof on the other.

Beam-wall – A common structural arrangement in which two beams meet at a reinforced junction.

Columns – The vertical supports for a building’s floors and roofs. Continuity (or continuity) – The ability of materials, such as concrete or steel, to resist the movement of forces acting upon them without breaking or failing

Capacity: The maximum amount of water a dam can safely hold.  It is determined by the height, material used, and volume that must be stored.  The measurement is usually in acre-feet (i.e., 1-acre foot = 3,840 cubic feet).

Head: The vertical distance from the top of a waterway to its highest elevation or discharge point.

Topo Map: A sheet or map showing an elevation profile at any scale for a particular location. Topographic maps are available for general use in published form and electronically as digital files such as GIS (Geographical Information System) data. Topo Maps show contour lines and elevations expressed as fractions of horizontal distance from mean sea level (MSL).

22. What are the responsibilities of a civil engineer?

A civil engineer is responsible for overseeing construction projects and ensuring the safety of both workers and the public. They may also be responsible for issuing permits necessary for a project to proceed and ensuring that all applicable regulations are followed. They are responsible for various tasks, including designing and overseeing construction projects, inspecting bridges and other infrastructure, and providing technical support for municipal government. They typically have a degree in engineering or another related field and may also have experience in related areas such as construction management.

23. What are the basic principles of civil engineering?

The principles of civil engineering are derived from classical mechanics and applied to problems such as water distribution, traffic flow, and environmental remediation. Civil engineers typically use computer programs to analyze and solve problems.

24. What are some common civil engineering terms and abbreviations?

  • AC – Asphalt Concrete
  • AE – Assistant Engineer
  • APA – American Public Works Association
  • APM – Assistant Project Manager
  • ASCE: Amieriacan Society for Civil engineers
  • B.M – Benchmark.
  • B.M – Bending moment.
  • B.M – Benchmark
  • B.M – Bending moment.
  • B.O.F – Bottom Of Foundation.
  • BHK – Bedroom, Hall, Kitchen.
  • BIM: Building information Modelling
  • BLK – Block Work.
  • BOQ – Bill Of Quantities.
  • BRW – Brick Retaining Wall.
  • BWK – Brick Work.
  • C.I.Pipe – Cast iron pipe.
  • C.I.Sheet – Corrugated Iron sheet.
  • CAD – computer-aided design
  • CBW – Concrete Block Wall
  • CC – Cement concrete.
  • CE – Civil Engineering
  • CFD – computational fluid dynamics
  • CIP – Cast In Place
  • CJ – Construction Joint
  • CL – Centre Line
  • CMP – critical mass point
  • CP – Cement plaster.
  • CPM – Critical path method.
  • CPM: Construction Project Manager
  • CRW – Concrete Retaining Wall
  • CS – Comparative statement.
  • DMA – direct manipulation arm
  • EI – effective intensity
  • FEM – finite element method
  • GIS – geographic information system
  • HVAC: Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning
  • MEP: Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing
  • PM: Project Management

25. What are the different stages of a civil engineering project?

A civil engineering project is typically composed of stages, each with specific responsibilities. The following seven steps are common to most projects: n

Initiation: This stage is when the project is first initiated. In this stage, the team decides what they want to accomplish and creates a preliminary plan.

Planning: This stage is where the team develops a detailed plan of how they will execute the project. They must account for every possible scenario and consider how different factors, such as weather, traffic, and construction obstacles, may affect their plans.

Execution: This stage involves building the project. Each step of the construction process must be carefully planned and coordinated to avoid potential disasters.

Completion/Maintaining: Once the project is completed, it must be monitored and maintained to ensure that it functions according to specifications. Regular inspections are required to ensure that all parts of the infrastructure are working correctly.

26. What are the different construction materials used in civil engineering projects?

There are many different types of construction materials used in civil engineering projects. Some of the most common materials are concrete, steel, asphalt, and plastic. Each material has unique properties that make it perfect for a specific type of project.

For example, concrete is excellent for building roads and bridges because it’s strong and lasts long. Steel is often used in buildings because it’s durable and can hold up to lots of pressure. Asphalt is used on roads to make them smooth and shiny. And finally, plastic is often used in areas where water would be a problem, like in the walls of a sewer system.

27. What are some common civil engineering safety hazards?

Many common civil engineering safety hazards can occur while working in the field. Some of the most common hazards include falling objects, hazardous materials, and unstable surfaces. It is essential to be aware of these risks and take precautions to stay safe. For example, always wear protective equipment and use caution when working around falling objects. If you encounter any dangerous conditions, contact your supervisor immediately.

28. What are the main goals of civil engineering?

There are many different goals that civil engineers can strive for, but some of the most common is to improve the quality of life, protect people and property, and manage resources. By working together with other professionals and using the latest engineering technologies, civil engineers can help make our world a better place.

29. What is the difference between a civil engineer and a structural engineer?

A civil engineer is responsible for planning and designing the layout of cities, towns, and other infrastructure. They may also work on projects such as bridges, highways, and airports.

A structural engineer is responsible for understanding how structures, such as buildings, bridges, and tunnels, will behave in the presence of stress and forces. This includes understanding the principles of mechanics, elasticity, and statics.

30. What is the role of civil engineering in society?

Civil engineering is a field that helps to improve the quality of life for people in society. It designs and manages infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and buildings. Civil engineers also work to prevent disasters by monitoring weather patterns and mapping potential risks. In addition, they help to create plans for new development projects.

31. What are the most important civil engineering tools and techniques?

The essential tools and techniques include CAD, survey, GPS, and digital mapping software. Surveyors, levelers, boundary markers, and compasses. Surveying, mapping, estimating, construction management, and safety planning. By using these tools and techniques correctly, engineers can ensure that their projects are completed successfully and without any unforeseen complications.


After reading this article, you should better understand the essential civil engineering questions that need to be answered when designing and constructing a project. By having these basic questions at your fingertips, you will be better prepared to tackle any civil engineering challenge in your career.


Who is the father of civil engineering?

John Smeaton was the first to refer to himself as a civil engineer back in the 18th century and has since come to be known as the father of civil engineering.

What are the five types of civil engineering?

There are five main types of civil engineering: transportation, water resources, environmental, public works, and urban planning.

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