Difference Between Civil Engineer And Architect

Constructing a structure as small as a house to construct a structure as large as the Taj Mahal or Bandra-Worli sea link bridge is not an easy job. Without the backbreaking work of civil engineers and architects, the world would not have seen such amazing structural achievements.

Civil engineers and architects do work in combination with each other to construct a structure and to achieve the feat. But both, the civil engineer and the architect, have contrasting roles to perform and work accordingly to accomplish their goals respectively.

Civil Engineers

A civil engineer is a person who performs and looks after the planning, designing, construction, maintaining, and operating of the infrastructure while keeping in mind the public health and environmental health and improving the existing infrastructure that may have been neglected.

A civil engineer looks at a structure from the structural point of view. He/she is responsible from the planning stage to the finishing stage of a structure.

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Even when the structure is fully constructed and handed over to its respective owner, an engineer is responsible for the maintenance of the structure.

Also, an engineer is responsible if there is any sort of technical issue in the structure like leakage from slabs, cracks in walls, etc. He/she must find and give a proper solution for the problem and shall effectively work on that.

Qualities Of A Good Civil Engineer

A good and an experienced civil engineer should possess the following skills:

Technically Sound

Civil engineering is a branch that deals with the technical aspects of any structure. So a civil engineer needs to have good technical knowledge about various types of structures.

Technical and structural knowledge of structures is important for civil engineers as they have to imply it during the construction of the structure.

Good Knowledge Of Mathematics

Technical calculations in civil engineering require a good knowledge of mathematics. A good civil engineer should be capable of understanding and performing complex mathematical calculations.

Structural calculations are way too complex. They are done very precisely. It requires good knowledge of mathematics. Also, the calculations during quantity takeoff are somewhat complex for large projects, especially.

Communication Skills

Both, written and oral communication plays a vital role for civil engineers. Effective communication shall be there between the engineers and other employees working on the project. Communication helps to convey one’s idea to another person or a group of people.

An effective and transparent communication channel can be the reason for the successful completion of the project. Similarly, if the communication between the employees is weak, it may lead to delay or failure of the project too.

Leadership Skills

A good civil engineer needs to have significant leadership skills. He/she has to lead a team of employees/people including planners, technicians, surveyors, contractors, supervisors, etc.

Problem Solving Skills

During the construction process, engineers have to encounter several problems and issues that occur on the site. Problems have to be solved on the spot or as early as possible to avoid further complexities in the project.

Decision Making Skills

When you are leading a project, you might need to take some crucial calls by yourself. Decisions may include factors like quality and quantity of materials, financial decisions, some change in a typical plan, etc.

Roles And Responsibilities Of A Civil Engineer

The roles and responsibilities of a civil engineer are as follows:

1. To carry out surveying and levelling with proper survey equipment for setting out works.

2. To fix the alignments of road, canal, railway, etc.

3. To carry soil tests and investigations for the design of foundations.

4. To carry out planning of various types of buildings as per the requirement of owners/ clients.

5. Getting various approvals regarding the current project from local authorities & planning according to the building by-laws.

6. To invite tenders for work and to select the best out of it, in terms of quality of work and money.

7. Supervision and monitoring of activities during the construction work.

8. Testing the quality of various materials like cement, sand, aggregates, steel, etc.

9. To act as an arbitrator if in case there is a dispute between two parties.

10. To check and control the quantity of work done.

11. To ensure that the design of the structure is safe, durable, and economical.

12. To keep an eye on the material being utilized on site and to check that it is not being wasted or stolen.

13. To maintain proper documentation on site, ensuring a smooth and gradual progression of the project.


An architect is a person responsible for planning and designing a structure(s) in such a way that the structure should look aesthetically beautiful keeping in mind the functionality of it and it should also be cost effective. The design shall be safe and durable too.

Architects create designs for various types of structures using some special softwares and applications. They are known as Computer Aided Design drawings (CAD drawings). Sometimes hand drawings or hand drawn designs are also required for a particular portion of the structure.

The CAD drawings are highly detailed drawing, consisting of every required detail. Architects are also involved in the project from the planning phase of the project till the completion of the whole project.

Qualities Of A Good Architect

A good architect should have the following quantities and skills for completing the project effectively:

1. An architect is expected to have a good design sense as he/she has to work with the design of the structure. They must have a good understanding of design processes, such as how to combine the visual appearance of the structure with its functionality.

2. Communication is again a vital skill that an architect should have. An architect should be able to communicate his/her ideas to the client, owners, engineers, and the project managers, effectively.

3. An architect must be trained for preparing sketches and detailed drawings by hand or on computers using CAD software.

4. An architect must have adequate knowledge of computers as most of the complex designs are prepared using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. He/she should be trained before working on projects, professionally.

5. Observation is a key skill that an architect should possess. Architects create designs using their observations and visualization skills.

6. He/she must have technical knowledge regarding construction activities performed on construction projects.

Roles And Responsibilities Of An Architect

The roles and responsibilities of an architect are as follows:

1. Fruitful discussion of the project with the client/owner during the planning stage.

2. Creating detailed drawings, ensuring the feasibility of the project, by hand or using the Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.

3. Preparing costs-effective designs as it is very important to keep the designing costs within the budget.

4. To convey the design ideas effectively and create an effective communication channel between owner, architect, project managers, engineers, and supervisors, respectively.

5. To supervise and keep a check on the work and to look after that the work is being done according to the plan.

Major Difference Between An Architect And A Civil Engineer

As discussed, an architect and a civil works in combination with each other for the successful completion of a project. The major difference between an architect and an engineer is that an architect deals with the design and aesthetics of the structure while a civil engineer looks after the planning, designing, construction, maintaining, and operating of the structure. He/she deals with the technical and structural aspects of the structure.

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1 thought on “Difference Between Civil Engineer And Architect”

  1. I am a retired architect/civil engineer/urban planner rolled into one with a goal to meet a client’s project needs in terms of design, aesthetics, functionality, and sound structure to co-exist with the environment. I changed career five years before I retired and now in healthcare.


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