Difference between civil and social construction

The truth is that there is a very narrow line between civic and social work and, in fact, there are certain jobs that are civic and social at the same time.

How can we tell them apart? Civil works are always social, since civil works include all those services that are provided to the public through the government. For this reason, it must be borne in mind that sometimes construction work is social work, but this is not always the case.


  • Study the situation
  • Planning a route that causes minimal damage
  • Depth detection
  • Determine soil type
  • Select equipment for excavation
  • Remove topsoil
  • Excavations
  • Complete the planned project (facilities, utilities, etc...)
  • Backfilling the trench
  • Replacing topsoil (soil or asphalt, depending on the situation)

What are civil engineering works that we call private? We are talking about motorways where Spanish citizens pay to access and use these alternative routes to public roads or other highways. Private housing buildings, private hospitals and services for certain groups of the population who pay for them.

Private construction work, on the other hand, is advertised by a private individual or non-governmental organization, so it generates income for the owners.

When we talk about social construction, we mean any construction project that was planned and executed by public administrations. These structures are usually financed by taxes paid by citizens.

Construction work comes in different types: construction of residential buildings, infrastructure or construction in general. How to resolve the doubts between what is civil engineering work and what is social construction? We need to start from the very beginning.

Let's start with the meaning of "civil engineering work" - these are those that are aimed at providing services to citizens. Civil works projects typically involve the construction of roads, airports, bridges or ports to facilitate maritime traffic.

Along with military engineering, it is one of the oldest industries created by man to improve his environment. Its origins can be traced back to Egypt and Mesopotamia, as early as 4000 BC, when they began to move away from nomadic life and demanded a protected place to live.

A specialist who deals with civil engineering is called a civil engineer. He/she receives this degree by successfully completing a degree in Civil Engineering. at the university, as well as having received a certificate from the professional academy.

As a rule, these specialists contribute to the organization of the territory and its use. In a wide group of construction works, one can distinguish works belonging to geotechnical design, transport design and road infrastructure and hydraulic engineering.

Civil engineering allows a society to grow economically and improve the quality of life for all residents of a given area.

The most common example of civil work is trenches. Trenching is a set of construction activities required to place or dispose of utility pipes on public land.

Trenches are open excavations in the ground made mechanically.  You need to dig very carefully so as not to greatly disturb the mechanical characteristics of the soil and not to overdo it with the minimum required value.

Opening a trench consists of two stages: excavation and shoring. The fastening can be lowered depending on the characteristics of the soil and the expected time the trench will be open.

Construction of urban infrastructure

Although trenches can be dug by hand, today the equipment used to lay trenches is universal excavators or trenchers, machines designed exclusively for laying trenches. However, trenchers need suitable terrain to work on (open ground or road terrain without  obstacles). On the other hand, excavators, although less powerful, can handle more varied terrain, allowing them to be used for loading, unloading and laying pipes. In cities, the above-mentioned difficulties usually do not arise, but difficulties may arise due to the large number of pipes in the ground corresponding to various services. This means that in some areas excavation work must be carried out manually.

The trench must be closed as soon as possible to avoid the dangers of landslides, flooding and weathering of the soil, as well as possible changes that the assembled pipe may undergo due to atmospheric factors. Therefore, it is advisable to develop a work program that coordinates the stages of trench opening, installation and embankment over sections of the appropriate length.

Opening trenches is a very common activity in civil construction work. These are works of short duration, limited scope and with frequent all kinds of interference. City dwellers are becoming increasingly sensitive to the inconvenience caused by the opening of ditches in cities, which create traffic jams, noise and dirt.

Trenches with a depth of less than 0.50 m are considered shallow, and trenches with a depth of more than 1.00 m are considered to be deep.


At Arcostec we have been involved in various types of construction work for many years. Since the beginning of our activities, we have completed a large number of projects, both social construction work (for example, restoration of building facades, lighting in schools) and turnkey construction for private companies and individuals.

Contact the Arcostec team to get all the information you need. We will contact you as soon as possible. We are committed to providing our clients with professional and personalized advice.

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