Civil engineer

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In Austria, civil technician is a professional title for freelance , state-authorized and sworn natural or legal persons who are active in the fields of architecture and engineering. In the 19th century, the term “civil engineer” was also used in Prussia for the activities described , while “engineer” referred to a pioneer officer .

General and legal

The authorization as a civil engineer requires: a degree at a university or technical college, three years of relevant professional experience, the passing of the civil engineer examination and the taking of an oath . Civil engineers can only be Austrian citizens, citizens of the European Union , citizens of the European Economic Area , Swiss citizens or other persons who are equivalent to Austrian citizens. Civil engineering authorizations are currently granted in around 60 different specialist areas .

The civil engineers are divided into

In the case of engineering consultants, the subject area is expressed through an appendix (for example, engineering consultant for civil engineering , surveying , mechanical engineering , software development - business).

The legal status anchored in the Civil Technicians Act (so-called certificate eligibility ) makes civil technicians an Austrian specific. Civil engineers are people of public faith under Section 292 of the Code of Civil Procedure . Civil engineers have the right to use the national coat of arms , they have a seal and a civil engineer ID . Civil engineers have a duty of confidentiality . Activities that are incompatible with the dignity of the class and trustworthiness are prohibited for a civil engineer.

The designations civil engineer , architect , engineering consultant , Zivilgeometer and civil engineering may be performed only by authorized persons, ie the civil engineers. Civil engineers must also for the sole purpose of professional practice civil engineering companies form.

The civil engineering examination is taken before a commission and covers the following areas:

  • Austrian administrative law
  • Business administration
  • Legal and technical regulations (specific to the subject area, e.g. building regulations, public procurement law)
  • Professional and ethical law


The roots of the civil engineering institution go back to the beginning of the 19th century. At the time of Napoleon as King of Italy, the Lombard-Venetian kingdom had the periti agrimensori for surveying and basic appraisals , architetti civili for building construction and ingegneri civili , which were basically also allowed to deal with hydraulic engineering.

In the course of the reform of the state administration in the 19th century, civil engineers were used to relieve the administration as administrative assistants for public administration tasks without being a state body . The state ministerial ordinance of December 11, 1860 created the legal rules for the professional group, then known as private technicians. This ordinance already contained the notarisation right of civil engineers: “The […] notarizations of the acts carried out by civil engineers, architects and surveyors […] and their certificates, drawings, calculations and expert reports on facts […] are carried out in the same way by the administrative authorities regarded as if the same had been made out by sovereign building officials under official authority. "

With this regulation, civil engineers were given extensive privileges due to their legal powers. All of them, in the context of their professional practice, issued reports, calculations, plans and certificates were considered public documents. Due to their planning, building permits could be issued without any further official examination. The civil technicians only lost this privilege, which was valid with an interruption during the Nazi era, with the Civil Technicians Act 1993. The privilege of becoming a private technician was upon completion of the required studies, evidence of technical and practical activity of at least five years and completion of a theoretical and practical exam bound. After passing the exam, an oath also had to be taken.

With the ordinance of the Ministry of Public Works concerning civil engineers of May 7, 1913, the designation civil engineer was introduced in Austria-Hungary .

At the time of the corporate state in the first republic , the civil technician was divided into the categories of architect, engineering consultant and civil engineer by the 2nd civil engineering ordinance of March 2, 1937. Under this ordinance, architects and engineering consultants were authorized to plan and supervise the work that comprised their area of ​​expertise. Civil engineers were also allowed to execute.

During the time of National Socialism , the notarization right of civil engineers was suspended. This right was reintroduced in 1945 in the Second Republic . On June 18, 1957, the Civil Technicians Act 1957 came into force.

In the Civil Technician Act 1993 , civil technicians were given the first opportunity to set up societies for the exercise of the civil technician profession. In addition, it was aligned with the law of the European Union . The law only provided for the two groups of architects and engineering consultants. The authorization of a civil engineer who was also authorized to carry out the work can therefore no longer be acquired since then. The legal interpretation of the Civil Technicians Act of 1993 also severely restricted the civil technicians' certification rights. Since then, the civil engineers have no longer had a special documentary function with which the legal conformity is confirmed. Since then, the documents issued by civil engineers have been limited to "knowledge or evidence" such as inventory plans . Planning or technical reports by civil engineers can no longer claim this conclusiveness.

Since the amendment of November 18, 2005 to the Civil Engineers Act, graduates of a diploma or master's degree from universities of applied sciences can also acquire the license to become civil engineers, previously this was reserved for university graduates .

Civil technician in practice

According to the federal law on civil technicians, civil technicians are in their field of expertise to provide

  • planning ,
  • examining ,
  • monitoring,
  • advisory,
  • coordinating,
  • mediative and
  • fiduciary services,
  • in particular for taking measurements,
  • for the preparation of expert opinions ,
  • for professional representation before authorities and corporations under public law ,
  • for the organizational and commercial handling of projects,
  • Furthermore, to take over overall planning orders, provided that important parts of the work are in the field of civil engineering,


The areas in which civil engineers are authorized to provide services are specific to each individual civil engineer. The scope of the authority of the individual civil engineer encompasses the entire spectrum of his individual university or technical college education.


Architects advise, draft, design, plan building projects and support their implementation. As experts in the field of building design, they advise private individuals, property owners and developers, local groups, authorities and economic organizations in connection with the design and construction of new buildings, the new use of existing buildings and the surrounding areas in cities and communities. As trustees, you represent the client and represent their interests vis-à-vis other contractors (e.g. professionals and special planners), authorities, neighbors, etc. The field of activity of the Austrian architects ranges from spatial and zoning planning to structural details, from advice on land purchase and project development to local building supervision and final accounts. Due to this comprehensive competency, architects are also allowed to take over overall planning services.

Engineering consultants

Construction area

Her field of activity ranges from the construction of all types of structures and structures to the handling of construction tasks to environmental issues and management tasks, including scheduling and cost planning . The Civil Engineering includes both the structural design and the implementation of construction projects in the fields of building construction , industrial construction , civil engineering , transportation infrastructure and specialist construction. As independent planners, civil engineers play a key role in the construction of bridges , airports , houses of all kinds, cable cars , roads and tunnels - i.e. in most public, private and infrastructural buildings. In addition, the maintenance and renovation of buildings, dealing with questions of energy, material and resource management as well as project management and control, local building supervision and expert work are essential components of the field of work of civil engineers. As a partner of architects, structural planning and building physics as well as geotechnical engineering are among the focal points of her work.

Hydraulic engineering and environmental engineering

This group comprises four major areas of activity. Sanitary Engineering is the technical water supply and disposal of urban areas with drinking water, fire-fighting and water. This includes its development through spring taps and wells as well as its storage, any processing and distribution as well as the subsequent drainage and purification with all associated facilities. Consulting and conception, approval and implementation planning as well as the operational support of the corresponding systems are just as much part of the specialist tasks as the maintenance of the extensive existing infrastructure. Protective water engineering and water development concerns structural measures to protect our living space from the dangers of water and to preserve the water itself. This includes river engineering, water regulation and tasks in the field of water ecology including the design of water bodies as landscape elements. Waste treatment and contaminated site technology includes the construction of landfills, their aftercare and security or remediation as well as the treatment of various types of waste and their recovery. Energy technology includes the generation of electricity from hydropower but also, for example, the thermal use of groundwater and the construction of biogas plants for electricity generation or for heating purposes in agricultural and commercial operations to cover their own needs or to feed into public networks. The know-how of the civil engineers of the specialist group for hydraulic engineering and environmental technology is used by the municipalities as well as by private individuals and commercial or industrial companies.

Surveying area

Engineering consultants for surveying - civil geometers for short - prepare the documents on the basis of which planning can take place. You carry out basic measurements, construction-accompanying measurements and the documentation of the (new) condition. Civil geometers offer security of property by guaranteeing the correct technical and legal creation of fixed boundaries. A special focus is on the administration and provision of spatial geodata, for example for geographic information systems (GIS), as well as the establishment of the associated metadatabases. With the help of technical methods such as conventional trigonometry, GPS measurements and photogrammetry (remote sensing), cadastral measurements, boundary measurements, engineering measurements in civil engineering, basic measurements for bridge and tunnel construction as well as the merging and evaluation of different geodata for geographic information systems are carried out. The range of services includes the creation of official site plans and digital planning bases, mass determinations and control measurements during construction, the interpretation and processing of geographic base data, the provision of data on land use, cavity measurement (in tunnels), the recording and construction of line registers as well as surveying project management in building areas .

Industrial technology

The area of ​​safety includes technical testing, i.e. the testing of elevators, cranes, operating systems, materials, etc. so that they can be used and operated safely, as well as employee protection and electronic data processing. In the field of environmental technology, advice and testing is provided, partly in cooperation with representatives from other specialist groups. This includes waste management and landfill technology, recycling, waste water technology, external monitoring of sewage treatment plants, exhaust air and flue gas cleaning, noise protection and environmental management. The chemical-physical analysis relates to soil, air and water quality, waste, emissions and immissions, products, processes, dust and radiation protection and radioactivity. Industrial technicians analyze food and feed. They check the quality of beverages, calculate shelf life and develop products. Building technology (heating and cooling supply, fire and lightning protection, lighting, laboratory and medical technology as well as the issuing of energy certificates) is part of the field of activity, as is energy technology (high and low current technology, solar systems and photovoltaics, microwave and radar technology) and process technology (technical Planning of hydropower and combined heat and power plants, pipelines, biofilter systems, drinking water treatment, flow calculations, plant construction and conveyor technology).

Spatial and landscape planning and applied geography

With the help of spatial planning, landscape planning and applied geography, states, municipalities and regions can provide their population with balanced employment and life opportunities. The work of civil engineers has a strongly advisory character and is based on a broad interdisciplinary basic knowledge, which extends into areas of law, geography, transport, city marketing and economic and tourism planning. The tasks of geographers, spatial and landscape planners include regional spatial planning, local spatial planning, environmental and spatial impact assessments, strategic environmental assessments, but also open space planning, recultivation concepts, ecological construction supervision for construction measures in the landscape (e.g. ski slopes), geographical information systems, computer cartography, village renewal planning , Natural hazard analysis and spatial research. In close cooperation with community representatives, spatial planners carry out a coordinating, communication-intensive work, the main goal of which is to find the best possible solutions in the interests of all parties involved.

Chamber of Architects and Consulting Engineers

All civil engineers are by law members of the state chambers for civil engineers. The respective regional chambers and federal chambers of architects and engineering consultants are the legal professional representation of civil engineers. The right to organize is regulated in the Civil Engineers Chamber Act 1993 (ZTKG, BGBl. 1994 / 157i.dgF). As public corporations, they are responsible, among other things, for issues relating to professional regulations and training. The chamber provides information to the federal states, municipalities and citizens, establishes contacts and offers seminars and information events.

The chamber is structured as follows:

Architects section

The Chamber offers a model for calculating architect fees. This fee information for architectural performance (HIA) has a modular structure. The core of the information is a study carried out by an independent research group, the result of which is the average hourly expenditure for projects according to the type of building (residential building, office building, single-family house, school etc.) and depending on the project size (m², m³).

Architecture competitions are "quality competitions". The spectrum of possibilities ranges from the large, EU-wide competition with well over a hundred to the "invited procedure" with only six participants. The aim of a competition is to find the best solution for a building task on the basis of a list of criteria and clear, legally impeccable conditions, and with the assistance of a competent jury of experts. The chamber advises the sponsor (competition organizer) on all questions, in particular when choosing the type of procedure in accordance with procurement law and from a professional point of view. It represents its members on the basis of the rules set out in the “WOA” competition rules and in terms of architectural transparency.

Depending on the construction task, there are different grants, such as funds from housing subsidies or village renewal. The Chamber can also advise on these issues.

Chairwoman of the Federal Department of Architects

Engineering consultants section

The engineering consultants section is further divided into the following specialist groups:

  • Specialist group construction
  • Specialist group hydraulic engineering and environmental technology
  • Surveying specialist group
  • Industrial Technology Section
  • Department of Spatial and Landscape Planning / Geography

Competing professions

In contrast to civil engineers, builders and consulting engineers (technical offices) are subject to the trade regulations . You are not a freelancer. Their field of activity is partly similar to that of civil engineers.

In contrast to civil engineers, traders are not authorized to issue public documents. For example, a consulting engineer is not authorized to carry out static calculations . The submission of private reports, however, is part of the professional profile of traders. The right of the builder also includes the right to submit reports.

According to the Civil Engineers Act, architects are particularly entitled to plan monumental buildings, theaters, museum buildings and churches, provided they are important from an artistic, cultural or social point of view. This regulation allows planning of this type to be assigned exclusively to architects. If certain legal requirements are met, builders can be awarded the designation “commercial architect” by a decision by the Federal Minister, although this does not entail any change in the content of the commercial license. In contrast to civil engineers and technical offices, builders are also authorized to carry out construction work . The separation of planning and execution corresponds to the self-image of the civil engineers as planners independent of the execution. This separation is necessary to keep conflicts of interest at bay.

In 2007, architects and engineering consultants accounted for 18 percent of the Austrian planning services market. The remaining shares fell, for example, on the planning of non-profit housing developers, industrial companies with their own planning departments, master builders, technical offices and providers of prefabricated houses.

See also


  • Bernd-Christian Funk , Gerda Marx: Civil engineering certificates in administrative proceedings . In: Austrian Law Gazette , Issue 14–15, Vienna 2002.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Titz, Ed. In: General housing gazette for Berlin, Charlottenburg and surroundings , 1850, part 1, p. 487. "Civil engineer, ...".
  2. Federal Law on Civil Technicians § 21 to § 29
  3. Development of a profession. (No longer available online.) In: Chamber of Architects and Engineering Consultants for Styria and Carinthia, archived from the original on July 29, 2009 ; accessed on May 11, 2020 .
  4. Bernd-Christian Funk , Gerda Marx: Civil engineering certificates in administrative proceedings . In: Austrian Law Gazette , Issue 14–15, Vienna 2002.
  5. (§ 3 Paragraph 1 Civil Technicians Act 2019, Federal Law Gazette I No. 29/2019 as amended)
  6. Trade Regulations 1994, §211 (2), Federal Law Gazette No. 194/1994.
  7. Expert for expert opinions. In: January 27, 2015, accessed December 29, 2018 .
  8. Trade Regulations 1994, §99 (1), Federal Law Gazette No. 194/1994
  9. Rainer Himmelfreundpointner: The battle for the planning market . In: derPlan , No. 3/2007, Chamber of Architects and Engineering Consultants for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland, Vienna 2007.