Civil Work is primarily that work which is fixed to the house and cannot be changed easily. It includes tiling, bathroom renovation, breaking any walls, fixing the kitchen platform, electrical work, etc. It is usually more messy and tedious compared to the other work such as furniture and kitchen. Usually when you buy a new flat from a builder, he gives it to you with the civil work completed so you just have to focus on the wood work such as furniture and kitchen. In the process of building, you can just ask the builder to put in tiles, fittings, etc. as per your choice.
Civil work usually takes a long time to complete. It generates a lot of mess in the house which can affect existing furniture. The day laborers who do civil work related to masonry are pretty hard to work with, and its difficult to get this labor on your own. It also requires some scheduling as multiple teams have to work in parallel and in sync to get the work done. For example, after the bathroom tiles are broken, the piping has to be done, and the masons have to come back to fix the new tiles; electrical work has to be completed before plastering and the first coat of paint; electrical pipes need to be laid in the floor before the tiles are laid on top of them, etc.
As in our case, since we bought an old flat we decided to a whole bunch of civil work to get a newer feeling to the place. Firstly, we decided to redo the tiles and the bathrooms which meant breaking the existing tiles and bathrooms. Note that breakage adds significantly to the cost and the time. All the existing stuff has to be broken, taken away from the flat, and disposed off at a proper dump site by utilizing special tempos which do this work. Most of the delays in our case happened due to civil work. Material was not ordered in time, some of it was defective and had to be returned, laborers disappeared. Very little visible progress was being made and it seemed like things were taking forever to get completed. I have written details of each aspect of civil work further.