Civil Engineering is an important industry in the U.S., with projected job growth of 2% between 2019 and 2029 according to stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Civil engineers are responsible for building and maintaining much of the nation’s infrastructure—from roads and bridges to buildings and public transportation systems.
The importance of civil engineering means there are opportunities for enterprising engineers looking to start small businesses within the industry. The demand for civil engineering and businesses to support these projects is likely to grow for decades to come. Depending on where you work, good civil engineers are poised to become a vital part of that growth.
Here are five innovative business ideas for civil engineers that could utilize your professional skills and knowledge.
1. Building Material Supply
There are many materials that go into any building project, and they have to come from somewhere. Civil engineers have unique insight into the different types of building materials available and their many uses. Your building material supply business could focus on a single type of material or provide a variety. These might include items such as bricks, cement, nails, paints, sand, or steel reinforcement rods. You may import these materials from other areas or manufacture your own.
2. Construction Site Cleaning
When a construction project is finished, an experienced crew is needed to clear the site and make it safe for the general public. Civil engineers understand the risks created during construction and can use this knowledge to completely clear a site of any dangerous or hazardous materials that may be left behind. You will also need to be up-to-speed on how to properly recycle or dispose of certain construction materials, such as asbestos, heavy metals, and even dust.
3. Land Survey Services
Before constructions crews break ground on a site, a survey must be completed. Providing these land survey services to builders could be a profitable business venture. Surveyors complete many tasks that are important to construction projects, including making precise measurements of sites, creating maps and plans, and presenting their findings to clients.
4. Plan & Estimate Preparation
Another key element of any construction project is creating the plans that will be used to complete it. By providing these planning services—as well as the costs associated with the build—civil engineers can help make a variety of projects a reality. This type of business will not only help create and interpret plans, it will also be concerned with relevant regulations and codes of practice and liaising with stakeholders and government entities.
5. Project Management
Finally, large and complex engineering projects may require a project manager to help keep everything on track. In this role you will generally manage the day-to-day activities of a project. This may include keeping the project under budget and to deadline, communicating progress and changes to relevant stakeholders, or creatively solving problems that may arise. Your civil engineering knowledge is valuable here, as you already understand many of the steps involved in a construction project, common issues that you might run into, and how these have been solved on similar jobs.
Protecting yourself on the job
Civil engineering insurance policies are one way to protect yourself while you work, no matter what type of small business you are running. Due to the nature of the work, a civil engineer may need different forms of insurance to cover the risks your business may face.
Common insurance coverages that civil engineers purchase include:
Also known as Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, this type of policy protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentations, or mistakes. Professional Liability claims are typically made by clients who allege some form of financial damage as a result of your services, products or employees.
Due to the nature of the work, this may be one of the most important civil engineering insurance policies available. Clients often rely on the advice you give to make decisions. If this information is incorrect, you make a mistake, or the client misunderstands it, you could be held liable for any financial losses they suffer.
Professional Liability insurance provides coverage against these types of claims, as well as missed deadlines and breaches of contract, that could be financially devastating to your civil engineering business.
Also referred to as Commercial General Liability (CGL) or “slip and fall coverage”, this insurance can protect your business against bodily injury or property damage lawsuits from outside parties.
Civil engineers often meet with clients in different settings, such as their offices, a worksite, or other third-party locations. General Liability insurance can protect your business if a client is injured while meeting with you. It also provides protections if you damage a client or other third party’s property.
Workers’ Compensation insurance provides protection for employers if an employee suffers a work-related illness or injury.
If your business has employees, you will likely be required to have Workers’ Compensation insurance to help protect them on the job. Some states may also require civil engineers working as sole proprietors to have a policy.
BizInsure is here to help you find civil engineering insurance policies to fit your small business needs. Visit our website to learn more and receive free quotes from top-rated insurers.