12 SMART Goals Examples for Civil Engineers

Imagine this scenario: John, a civil engineer, is tasked to manage and oversee the construction of a new bridge. He knows that his team has a tight deadline to meet and budget constraints to work with.

As he begins planning the project, he realizes that goal setting will be crucial. John understands that setting SMART goals can help him and his team stay hyper-focused, ultimately leading to successful project completion.

But what exactly are SMART goals? Here, we’ll discuss 12 examples of SMART goals for civil engineers, providing insights on how they will be used in various parts of the job.

From project management to career growth, these goals will allow engineers to excel in their field. It’s finally time to discover how these goals can greatly impact civil engineering projects.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based) framework is an excellent tool for setting goals in civil engineering. It aids in successfully managing complex projects.

Let’s dissect the SMART acronym to understand its components:


Setting precise goals increases the likelihood of reaching them. In civil engineering, this means clearly defining your objectives while considering all the tiny details that could make a difference in your project execution.

For example, instead of vaguely aspiring to “build a bridge,” you might set a specific goal to “design and construct a suspension bridge that can handle a load of 10,000 vehicles per day.”


Keeping track of your progress is critical when tackling engineering projects. Setting measurable goals guarantees a practical approach to enhancing project outcomes. Without this feature, your efforts may become disarrayed and directionless.

Suppose you aim to “reduce construction time.” Then, a measurable goal could be: “trim the construction period of highway projects by 15% within the following two years.”


Formulate achievable goals that are neither too ambitious nor too simplistic. Striking this balance is essential to avoiding disappointment from unreachable goals or a sense of underachievement from overly easy ones.


Goals should align with your values and the desired outcomes. Even in challenging times, relevance can motivate you to persevere. Reflect on what matters to you and ensure your engineering goals mirror these values.


Establishing a timeline for your goals ensures they remain in focus. Progress in engineering projects typically occurs over time. A well-defined timeline aids this journey, steering you toward your ideal results.

To illustrate, if you want to “improve project management skills,” a time-bound goal could be “to complete a certified course in advanced project management for 6 months.”

12 SMART Goals Examples for Civil Engineers

1. Build a Sustainable Infrastructure

“By the end of this year, I will lead a project team to develop sustainable solutions for all our future infrastructure projects. That includes conducting research on environmentally-friendly materials and practices, as well as creating guidelines for their implementation.”

Specific: This outlines the tasks in developing and implementing sustainable solutions for future projects.

Measurable: Success will be measured by the completion and implementation of guidelines for environmentally-friendly materials.

Attainable: With diligent planning, creating sustainable solutions is possible for a team led by an experienced civil engineer.

Relevant: As awareness of environmental impact grows, it’s crucial for civil engineers to incorporate sustainability into their work.

Time-based: Completion of the SMART goal is expected after one year.

2. Reduce Carbon Emissions

“I’ll aim to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in my city over three years by promoting sustainable transportation methods and implementing green building practices.”

Specific: This goal is focused on reducing carbon emissions in a specific location or city.

Measurable: Track the reduction of carbon emissions over three years.

Attainable: Follow through with the listed actions (promote sustainable transportation and use green building practices).

Relevant: This pertains to mitigating the effects of climate change, which is a pressing issue for civil engineers.

Time-based: You have a three-year window to accomplish the goal statement.

3. Enhance Disaster Resilience

“The civil engineering team will work to enhance disaster resilience in the community by initiating a project on building structures that can withstand natural disasters within the following 10 months.”

Specific: The civil engineering team’s goal is clearly defined—to enhance disaster resilience through the construction of robust buildings.

Measurable: Evaluate how many structures were built and if they meet the required standards for resilience.

Attainable: Your engineering team can succeed with efficient planning, budgeting, and proper implementation of the project.

Relevant: Improving disaster resilience is suitable for civil engineering, as it aims to protect communities from natural disasters.

Time-based: Success should be reached after 10 whole months.

4. Increase Use of Renewable Energy

“For this year, I will increase our use of renewable energy sources by 15% in all new projects. I’ll research and incorporate innovative methods of renewable energy in our designs to ensure long-term sustainability.”

Specific: The aim is to increase the use of renewable energy sources by 15% in new projects.

Measurable: By tracking the percentage of renewable energy used in projects, we can quantify success.

Attainable: This is feasible because various renewable energy sources are available, and using them in designs is a realistic action.

Relevant: It’s essential to consider the long-term sustainability of projects as civil engineers.

Time-based: A whole year is given to achieve the desired outcome.

5. Reduce Water Usage and Promote Conservation

“Our engineering team will reduce water usage in our building by 20%, through implementing low-flow fixtures and creating a monitoring system for leaks and wastage. Doing this for two years, we’ll contribute to water conservation efforts in our community.”

Specific: This goal states a percentage (20%) of reduction in water usage and outlines the methods for attaining it.

Measurable: The 20% reduction can be measured through tracking the building’s water bills and comparing it with previous months or years.

Attainable: Implementing low-flow fixtures and monitoring systems is a feasible solution for reducing water usage.

Relevant: Water conservation is a vital issue in many communities, and as civil engineers, we are responsible for contributing towards sustainability efforts.

Time-based: The SMART goal specifies a deadline of two years for excellence.

6. Create Innovative Solutions for Urban Planning

“Within the next 6 months, I’ll work with a team of engineers to create innovative solutions for urban planning. These solutions will address the current challenges faced by our cities like traffic congestion, pollution, and inadequate infrastructure.”

Specific: The statement is concise, explaining the objective and how it will be accomplished.

Measurable: Check the number of solutions generated and their effectiveness in addressing current challenges.

Attainable: This is achievable by collaborating with a team of engineers and utilizing their expertise in different areas.

Relevant: This goal is highly relevant to civil engineering as it aims to improve our cities.

Time-based: Goal attainment should be anticipated for the next 6 months.

7. Upgrade Aging Infrastructure Systems

“I will focus on upgrading aging infrastructure systems over the following year. I’ll do this by thoroughly reviewing existing structures, identifying areas that need improvement or replacement, and creating a detailed plan for implementing upgrades.”

Specific: You have actions outlined—reviewing structures, identifying areas for improvement, and creating a detailed plan.

Measurable: Keep a checklist of the structures reviewed and areas for improvement identified.

Attainable: If you’re diligent in planning your time and resources, upgrading aging infrastructure systems is doable within a year.

Relevant: As a civil engineer, it’s crucial to ensure aging infrastructure systems are upgraded to improve safety and functionality.

Time-based: A year gives enough time to review and plan for upgrades.

8. Foster Collaboration and Teamwork

“For the three months ahead, I’ll initiate and join at least two cross-functional projects to build stronger relationships with my colleagues. I will also offer help whenever possible and be more open to constructive criticism.”

Specific: This outlines what you must do (initiating and joining projects, offering help when possible) to foster collaboration.

Measurable: Gauge your progress by recording the number of projects you initiate and join, as well as the times you offer help and receive constructive criticism.

Attainable: Initiating and joining cross-functional projects is possible with proper time management.

Relevant: Building stronger relationships with colleagues will ultimately improve teamwork within your team.

Time-based: You have a three-month time frame to complete this goal.

9. Develop New Technologies for Construction

“I plan to research new technologies that can be implemented in the construction industry this year. That will involve attending conferences, networking with experts in the field, and conducting extensive research on emerging technologies.”

Specific: This focuses on developing new technologies specifically for the construction industry.

Measurable: Count the number of technologies researched and the number of relevant conferences attended.

Attainable: Time is the only limiting factor in this goal. The rest is dependent on the engineer’s drive and determination.

Relevant: The goal is highly relevant as it can potentially improve the efficiency and safety of construction projects.

Time-based: Achievement of this particular goal is expected within a year.

10. Improve Transportation Efficiency

“By the end of this quarter, I’ll develop a new transportation system that will reduce travel times by 25% in the city. I hope to succeed by utilizing smart traffic signals and optimizing public transportation routes.”

Specific: You’ve identified the area of improvement (transportation efficiency) and the methods to reach it (smart traffic signals and public transportation optimization).

Measurable: The travel time reduction can be quantified through data and tracking methods.

Attainable: Not only are traffic signals and public transportation optimization feasible, but they have also been proven effective in other cities.

Relevant: Enhancing transportation efficiency benefits the city, from reducing commute times for residents to decreasing carbon emissions.

Time-based: There is a timeline of one quarter to meet the SMART statement.

11. Achieve LEED Certification for Projects

“I want to complete the necessary coursework and pass the exam to become a LEED-certified professional in two years. Moreover, I will seek guidance from experienced colleagues and attend relevant workshops to gain practical knowledge.”

Specific: The civil engineer strives to become a LEED-certified professional after two years.

Measurable: Practice exams can be taken to evaluate progress in preparation for the exam.

Attainable: Becoming LEED-certified is achievable with perseverance in completing the requirements.

Relevant: Having certifications can improve the engineer’s credibility and open up more opportunities for sustainable projects.

Time-based: Your goal is expected to be achieved in the next two years.

12. Promote Inclusivity and Accessibility in Designs

“I’ll implement at least 5 design features that promote inclusivity and accessibility in my projects within 9 months. I plan to research best practices, consult experts, and implement the features in all future designs.”

Specific: The individual will aim to incorporate inclusivity and accessibility into their designs.

Measurable: The number of design features implemented will be quantifiable over time.

Attainable: This is reasonable as you have a clear action plan and will continually work towards it in future projects.

Relevant: Inclusivity and accessibility is a crucial aspect of civil engineering that impacts the well-being of all individuals.

Time-based: Nine months provides an end date for optimal success.

Final Thoughts

Naturally, these are just a few examples of SMART goals for civil engineers. Depending on your responsibilities, you may have different areas that you want to focus on and improve through goal setting.

The key is to follow through with the SMART method and continuously update your goals. By taking these strides, you can push yourself to grow professionally and positively impact the field of civil engineering.

Just remember—goals are meant to drive you toward excellence. Don’t be afraid to set challenging but achievable objectives for yourself. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with a well-defined strategy.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. He is passionate about self-improvement and brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations. He has been featured on sites like Yahoo News, AOL, The Epoch Times, and more.