Flood Risk Engineer


As a Flood Risk Engineer, you will be looking at different methods to decrease the risk of flooding in towns and cities.

Also known as

  • Building Engineer
  • Flood Coastal Risk Engineer

Work Activities

As a Flood Risk Engineer, you will be using your knowledge and expertise to build structures which help to decrease the risk of flooding in towns, cities and beaches. The structures that you could be working on include:

  • dams
  • embankments
  • barriers and gates
  • drainage networks
  • pumping stations

These structures will be used to remove storm and surface water that could flood people’s homes and businesses.

You will also use your knowledge to look at controlling rivers, waterways and the sea. Techniques such as beach nourishment and restoration are used to help understand the flow of water near beaches, towns and cities.

Usually you will use computer-aided design (CAD) or building information modelling (BIM) packages for this work.

With your degree in civil engineering, you will use your expertise to predict flood risk using your knowledge in:

  • hydrology and hydraulic flow
  • the transport of sediment, which can block drains and dams
  • waves, tides and currents of the sea
  • geomorphology - where you will look at landscapes to work out how the earth surface processes, such as air, water and ice, can mould the landscape

To help protect people’s homes and businesses you will monitor, forecast and warn organisations of any flood risk. This includes the emergency services where temporary flood defences and repairs need to be made before the storm arrives in the town, city or beach.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Flood Risk Engineer, you'll need:

  • to be able to analyse and solve problems
  • the confidence to supervise others
  • to be a good team worker
  • strong organisational skills
  • maths skills
  • an interest in physics
  • good IT skills and some experience of using CAD software

Pay and Opportunities


The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £45,000
  • Senior Flood Risk Engineers earn £48,000 - £53,000

Hours of work

Most Flood Risk Engineers work around 35-40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, you may have early starts and late finishes, and you may need to work some weekends, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms of engineering consultants, building and civil engineering contractors, local authorities, and gas, water and electricity companies. Other employers include the Civil Service, manufacturing industry and the armed forces.

Opportunities for Flood Risk Engineers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Opportunities occur for Flood Risk Engineers to work on projects in other countries, in Europe and the rest of the world.

This career could involve working for an agency.


Opportunities occur for Flood Risk Engineers to work independently, as consultants.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).

Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.

Take a look at our General Information Article 'Finding Work Online'.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:


Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You need an accredited Master of Engineering (MEng) degree or Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) honours degree in civil engineering, or a related subject, to become a Chartered Engineer. These can be studied as sandwich courses, which include work experience.

You can do a foundation degree, HNC or HND in civil engineering before moving on to a full degree course. The qualifications above may allow you entry to this career, but you will need to take further approved training to become fully qualified.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) can provide lists of accredited courses.

A Higher, Advanced Level or Degree Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. You may be able to study for a NVQ as part of your apprenticeship.


After getting a degree or foundation degree/HNC/HND, you must have a period of approved training and experience with an employer and pass a professional review to become fully qualified.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in the construction industry or as an Engineering Technician, will be useful for this career.


Experienced Flood Risk Engineers can progress to Chief Engineer positions. Some Civil Engineers become self-employed.


To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*-C or 9-4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

To enter a degree course in civil engineering, you will usually need:

  • 2/3 A levels, including maths or physics
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualification in civil engineering
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Some universities offer foundation courses for applicants without the appropriate maths and science qualifications.

To enter a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, you will usually need:

  • 1 A level where preferred subjects include maths, physics and engineering science
  • a GCSE at grade C/4 or above in your A level subject
  • a further 3/4 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


People without relevant qualifications or skills gained in the construction industry or as an engineering technician, will find it difficult to gain employment.

Applicants at engineering technician level have a good chance of advancement.


If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

People without the usual academic qualifications can achieve membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) via the Technical Report Route (TRR). See the ICE website for guidance on entry requirements.

Numerous institutions offer relevant postgraduate courses via distance learning.


ICE Quest Scholarships are available to candidates with a conditional offer for an ICE accredited course in civil engineering.

Sponsorship for study at higher education level is available through the larger building/construction companies.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk


Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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