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Challenges Facing Civil Engineering Field

Smart structures are the upcoming norm in the construction industry. These structures constructively allow for the detection and adaptation to environmental changes and stressors. This paper addresses the existing structural systems, their impacts on the industry and the future of the upcoming technology changes. The adaptive systems cannot function effectively with the traditional, outdated materials; however, the new materials are created to rhyme with a singular system to deliver efficient responses to environmental changes.


The construction system keeps evolving; in the 21st century, the real estate industry has been rising, and so have innovations. The most integral parts of the adaptive systems are sensors, actuators, control circuits and power conditioning components. These systems are meant to detect pressure, density, heat and variation in environmental conditions. Over the year, research has been carried out, proving that the adaptive systems communicate faults in the building, the damage and signals based on environmental changes. The information picked by the systems helps n emergency preparedness, such as the prevention of earthquakes and hurricanes. These structures are mostly made of piezo electrical materials. The material is characterized by the electrical component that allows for signal detection and mechanical combinations that redact stressors (Grosso, 2008).

So how, then, do global economies use these systems? Cities have begun upgrading the once old and depleted buildings due to urbanization_ engineers then renovate the buildings using new materials compatible with the adaptive systems. This means saving the cost of production, short-time duration in projects, use of non-hazardous materials and uplifting the face of towns while minimizing extra costs and conserving the environment (Grosso, 2008). The United Nations has continuously emphasized. Sustainable development and such is the goal of any business. Sustainability refers to maintaining satisfactory conditions regarding the social, economic, and environmental clauses. Satisfaction is a standard that its implications for humanity can only measure. Civil construction aims to ensure economic stability and the safety of the environment and that any building or road built does not affect the social life of a people. The construction industry has had its fair share of negative environmental impacts, with development areas experiencing famine, drought, floods, and even deaths due to environmental pollution (OYEBODE, 2019). The engineering field dates back to the 18th century when French scholars developed standards and wrote books and scholarly articles on the differentiation of the different fields, specifically separating civil engineering from military engineering. Institutions from then on initiated programs towards the development of engineering courses that today countries take pride in the expertise portrayed by graduates. Simultaneously, the rise of environmental calamities has initiated conversations on the need to conserve humanity’s safety, hence the introduction of education programs to brace future generations for the sustainability of the three integral aspects of humanity (OYEBODE, 2019). This research will focus on the challenges and solutions that will address the problems of the civil construction industry. The research will use past scholarly articles, interviews, and surveys.

Theoretical Framework

Natural Resources

Construction is the greatest exploiter of the environment and its natural resources. The construction industry contributes to about 23% of air pollution—40% of water sources, and 50% of landfill wastes. The construction industry involves the exploitation of natural resources, with most resources being non-renewable. Research has shown that the most exploited natural resources are raw stones, gravel, sand, and virgin wood, each accounting for a considerable amount of the world’s natural resources. This means that the mining of stones leaves open quarries, which lead to death, and air pollution due to the dust emitted in the quarrying process. The forests are almost in extinction due to the need for wood. Sand mining has led to the pollution of water sources which end up drying due to the sand harvesting process. Most water catchment areas have now become dry lands. Deforestation has seen the globe receive abnormal weather patterns such as hurricanes, famine in most parts of the world, floods, prolonged drought periods, death due to pollutants, and even earthquakes and tremors frequently experienced in Haiti.


Biodiversity determines biological life, that is, the life of animals and cultural ecosystems that uphold the validity of life. Biodiversity shares the importance of serving humans for food, clean air, food, medicine, and shelter and also serves as a cultural significance to the people of a country. For instance, Some trees are believed to be a mode of communication between communities and their ancestors, such as the Mugumo tree, which the Agikuyu community in Kenya believes that when they pray under, the ancestors answer their prayers. During the harnessing of raw materials, the process involves the destruction of shelter for humans and forests, leading to the death of extinct animals due to deforestation. The noise and light pollution cannot be ignored as they have long-term effects on humans and the environment_ These pollutions disrupt the normal functioning of the birds and affect reproduction. Fishes and other aquatic life die due to water pollution. At the same time, humans develop long-term illnesses such as lung cancer and asthmatic conditions and even die when pollution levels are not detected early enough. Construction of infrastructure in animal habitats has led to isolation and population loss of wildlife that were once tourist attractions leading to loss of income for countries.

Environment pollution (Waste Disposal and Green-House Gas Emissions)

A regulated carbon footprint is necessary to prevent global pollution. Carbon footprint is the total accumulated carbon dioxide due to human activity. The recommended carbon footprint in the United States is about 19%. Construction involves manufacturing, using heavy pieces of machinery that use fuel, and cement production, among other raw materials produced for consolidated construction work. The emissions are quite high as they account for about 39%, which is risky and calls for action to reduce emissions. They lead to the depreciation of the quality of life.

On the other hand, waste is inevitable, especially with open mines and non-degradable waste from construction sites. The disposal happens in bits. Therefore, the impact may not be felt immediately; however, accumulation over the years will harm the environment. Open landfills also create a breeding ground for mosquitos due to water accumulation in the open mines, which leads to the spread of malaria. While the environment seems to be the major challenge, there are more challenges, such as compliance issues, the health and safety of the construction teams, and contract disputes.

Contract Disputes

Contractual disputes are bound to happen due to uncertainties in the project and, at most times, poor project plans. These disputes may be incurred due to a conflict of interest in a specific project, mishaps in the tendering process, environmental factors, or financial challenges. Construction projects are long-term; therefore, they must evaluate the pros and cons of the infrastructure set in motion for the public and the economy. The most significant factors that inform contractual issues include the complexity of a project _ Long-term projects require different skill sets and collaborations at every point of the project. Poor evaluation and analysis of the projections of the project may lead to halts due to the need to acquire expertise and cultural differences creating challenges in communication. However, most contracts have implications for any changes imposed on a party. Acceleration is uncommon; however, commercial clients tend to insist on completing projects with a target of certain retail clients. The construction costs pose a risk to projects to the developer. The meeting of deadlines may pose challenges to the entire project.

Compliance Issues

Every business must comply with institutional requirements which guarantee the team’s safety and compliance with local authorities and taxation procedures. Some regulatory certifications required include; waste disposal, the efficacy of building materials, insurance requirements, labour contract agreements and other set standards by building compliance companies such as OSHA (Occupational Safety Health and Administration). While most companies opt for bribery instead of following the legal channels, it is easier to understand that there are consequences to the illegal channels.


The construction industry disrupts the environment in major ways, especially the basics; water, food, and health. However, technology has enabled the construction industry to develop cushions to mitigate the hazards. The use of recyclable construction materials has led to the reduction of pollution. The innovations place the construction industry as the top most promising industry. However, a permanent solution would be implementing adaptive structures that positively impact the economy, society and environment.


Grosso, A. (2008). Examples of Future Potential Smart Civil Structures. Research Gate. Retrieved 17 October 2022, from

Surveying, J. (2022). What is Civil Construction? | Overview | Jurovich Surveying. Retrieved 16 October 2022, from

Wang, L. (2020). Research on Existing Problems and Innovation Strategies in Civil Engineering Construction Technology Based on Computer Technology. Research Gate. Retrieved 16 October 2022, from



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