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Insights How has civil engineering changed as the industry recovers from COVID-19?

Civil engineering has always played a crucial role in the global economy. That’s why the COVID-19 outbreak was a profoundly challenging time for civil engineering and the built environment as a whole. The industry was forced to respond to the crisis and aid in the recovery. There’s no doubt the pandemic had a massive impact on civil engineering and construction projects, with many sites having to close down to prevent the further spread of the virus. As the industry recovered from COVID-19, civil engineering has been forced to change and there’s now more opportunity for digital implementation and software.

AtkinsRéalis is a global company that is committed to driving the best engineering, procurement and construction services to industries around the world. We work with our brands Atkins, Faithful+Gould, and Acuity and together, we work to overcome our clients’ challenges. Our teams are highly experienced and well-trained to support the delivery of every project. We want to uplift communities and create a safer and better tomorrow. We have a deep understanding of civil engineering, so how has the sector changed in the post-pandemic era?

The digital revolution

There’s no doubt that ways of working have changed in civil engineering as the industry recovers. The COVID-19 pandemic has paved the way for digital transformation in a range of sectors, particularly as more people have become more reliant on digital tools for communication. As a result of the adoption of modern technology tools such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, civil engineering has radically transformed. For example, the Internet of Things – which was accelerated by the pandemic – has had a huge impact on modern engineering. In civil engineering, more devices have become interconnected and will likely revolutionise the industry. The IoT has introduced the supply chain concept known as ‘Smart Factories’, which refers to automated manufacturing that can collect real-time data through machine learning. Smart Factories increase the efficiency and delivery of both civil engineer and construction projects, which in turn, creates a much more streamlined built environment.

Infrastructure projects

As the industry recovers from COVID-19, civil engineers will continue to play a key role in developing infrastructure projects. While the pandemic was steeped in uncertainty, civil engineers now have the opportunity to aid in the green recovery and focus on building more sustainable projects. Civil engineering is one of the defining modes of production that affects the environment and human health. While the pandemic was no doubt a challenge for many industries, it also paved the way for a sharper focus on sustainability and using resources more responsibly.

Civil engineering has changed in the sense that there’s now a greater awareness of the importance of building a greener future. According to a report by the UNOPS, 79 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions are generated by infrastructure projects. In the same report, key steps were outlined for how to ensure infrastructure projects mitigate the effects of climate change and aim for sustainability. Indeed, many civil engineering projects are now designed to achieve BREEAM status – which is the industry standard for environmental assessment. Therefore, sustainability will continue to be a high priority for civil engineers.

Flexible work schedules

Hybrid and flexible working has become the new normal in many industries. In the post-COVID era, many civil engineers have the opportunity to work from home. While it’s still important for civil engineers to work on-site to successfully manage their construction projects, the option to work remotely has increased efficiency within civil engineering. However, flexible working can still be challenging for new civil engineers, so many employers have introduced initiatives to help create a sense of community and belonging for civil engineers who are working remotely. Above all, civil engineering has advanced in its recovery from COVID-19 and the industry looks to be set for a bright future.

Are you looking to grow your career in civil engineering?

At AtkinsRéalis , we deliver pioneering projects for communities globally by combining technology and data. We consistently tackle some of the top challenges in city living. As a result, professionals can expect a demanding and highly rewarding career at AtkinsRéalis . We’re a diverse community of individuals and we’re dedicated to developing and growing our talent. We’re also committed to reaching our target of achieving net zero emissions by 2030.

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