Civil engineering works such as buildings and infrastructure are the carriers of human civilization. They are, however, also the origins of various types of disasters, which are referred to in this paper as civil engineering disasters. This paper presents the concept of civil engineering disasters, their characteristics, classification, causes, and mitigation technologies. Civil engineering disasters are caused primarily by civil engineering defects, which are usually attributed to improper selection of construction site, hazard assessment, design and construction, occupancy, and maintenance. From this viewpoint, many so-called natural disasters such as earthquakes, strong winds, floods, landslides, and debris flows are substantially due to civil engineering defects rather than the actual natural hazards. Civil engineering disasters occur frequently and globally and are the most closely related to human beings among all disasters. This paper emphasizes that such disasters can be mitigated mainly through civil engineering measures, and outlines the related objectives and scientific and technological challenges.