Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including public works such as roads, bridges, canals, dams, airports, sewage systems, pipelines, structural components of buildings, and railways.
Civil engineering is traditionally broken into a number of sub-disciplines. It is considered the second-oldest engineering discipline after military engineering and it is defined to distinguish non-military engineering from military engineering.
Civil engineering is the application of physical and scientific principles for solving the problems of society, and its history is intricately linked to advances in the understanding of physics and mathematics throughout history. Because civil engineering is a broad profession, including several specialized sub-disciplines, its history is linked to knowledge of structures, materials science, geography, geology, soils, hydrology, environmental science, mechanics, project management, and other fields.
Throughout ancient and medieval history most architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans, such as stonemasons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Knowledge was retained in guilds and seldom supplanted by advances. Structures, roads, and infrastructure that existed were repetitive, and increases in scale were incremental.
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