One of the most long-established engineering fields, civil engineering has created much of the built environment that we all take for granted, including the roads, bridges, harbours, water management systems and transport buildings we benefit from every day in the UK.

But that’s not to say the sector is standing still. Technological advances and innovation are resulting in new construction capabilities and better civil engineering project management.

Increasingly, our physical environment can be altered and improved, with fewer constraints, but with greater emphasis on safety and sustainability.

Here are five trends underpinning that:

1. Predictive Modelling

Civil engineers have been associated with ancient soothsayers. Much of their skill has come from anticipating issues, solving problems even before they happen and creating structures to manage both current and future needs.

For example, supporting power and utility networks needs to take in to account not just current land use but any future developments.

The advent of Big Data and great analytical tools has provided civil engineers with even more predictive acumen. It is now possible to generate Business Information Models that show outcomes and “play out” potential issues and stress points. This means plans can be made and structures can be created with far greater insight.

2. Learning from The Past

There is also a strong leaning towards retrospection in the field of civil engineering. Recent natural disasters – including earthquakes and hurricanes – alongside tragic incidents such as Grenfell Tower, have highlighted the need to revisit many long-held notions of what is acceptable in construction terms.

Modern technology is all well and good, but sound structures can also be the result of relying more heavily on the expertise and insights of experienced civil engineers.

3. New Data Capture Opportunities

Fortunately, the tools for inspecting structures and also mapping new projects and creating Business Information Modelling, are becoming far more adept.

Among the most significant trends in this field is the use of drones and thermal imaging technology to provide a wealth of usable data.

4. Sustainability in Civil Engineering

Concern about environmental impact could hardly be classed as a new trend. However, there are advances in the technology, materials and methodology to support sustainable design in civil engineering.

Much of the ability to combine social, sustainable and engineering goals into one project comes from the Business Information Modelling and predictive data analysis work referred to above. But innovation is rampant in this sector too.

A good example of this is “smart roads”. The race is on to find ways to construct motorways and other major arteries combining transport and sustainable aims, such as incorporating solar panels, electric car recharging points or even autonomous vehicle guidance systems.

In terms of buildings, new connectivity, data capabilities and sensors can be incorporated to manage resources better.

5. Better Client Interface and Communication

Another trend in civil engineering to grow from modern technology is the potential for faster response times in planning and delivering construction projects – with heightened accountability and management control.

Work management software and cloud based systems provide opportunities to share project updates and plans instantly, across even the most remote of locations. Everyone sees the most updated version at the same time, and amendments and sign-off occur in real time.

To see how Lydon Contracting Ltd is using the most up-to-date technologies, methodologies and materials – alongside irreplaceable professional experience and insights – contact us today to discuss your construction project.

Lydon Contracting Ltd

Tel:  01327 811533