In California, civil engineers and land surveyors are licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists.
Civil engineers design and supervise construction projects, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment.
Civil engineers may design any building or structure except a hospital or public school. Civil engineers may also perform structural and geotechnical (soils) engineering if fully competent to do so. Civil engineers analyze and design buildings to withstand the natural forces of gravity, earthquakes, or wind, and can provide advice regarding structural design requirements to architects and contractors, as well as to consumers. Civil engineers prepare design and repair recommendations for drainage systems, septic systems, foundations, and retaining walls. They also prepare grading plans and topographic maps of the elevations and contours of the land. Civil engineers also may design swimming pools.
Geotechnical engineers are civil engineers who have obtained additional experience and passed a specialized geotechnical engineering examination which authorizes them to use the titles "Geotechnical Engineer," "Soil Engineer," or "Soils Engineer." Geotechnical engineering includes the investigation and engineering evaluation of earth materials including soil, rock, groundwater, and man-made materials and their interaction with earth retention systems, foundations, and other civil engineering works. Geotechnical engineers apply the principles of soil mechanics and the earth sciences and are knowledgeable about engineering laws, formulas, construction techniques, and performance evaluation of civil engineering works influenced by earth materials.
Geologists usually specialize in such fields as engineering geology, environmental geology and hydrogeology, as well as locating and developing oil, gas and mineral deposits. Geologists conduct surface and underground investigations of the earth materials, history and structure of sites and provide interpretations of what they see. Consumers frequently require the services of specialty geologists who are further tested and certified by the State in that specialty. CERTIFIED ENGINEERING GEOLOGISTS and CERTIFIED HYDRO GEOLOGISTS are the two current licensed specialties.
Certified Engineering Geologists apply geologic principles to the safe development and grading of land, building of structures, search for groundwater resources, cleanup of underground contamination and repairing of geologic hazards. They investigate geologic constraints such as landslides, ground subsidence, earthquake faults and erosion and have special training in geology for working on civil engineering problems. Certified Engineering Geologists evaluate the underground conditions of properties in a variety of ways to aid in finding out the engineering and environmental aspects of a project or site. They make evaluations for insurance companies following earthquakes and floods. They are also familiar with regulations pertaining to land use and repair that require permits from various governmental agencies.
Source: California Department of Consumer Affairs | Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists
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