People who enjoy problem solving, working with others, and large projects will find great enjoyment as a construction project engineer. This title describes an important role on any construction project. A person in this position is involved in every aspect of a construction project, from the sourcing of materials to the actual construction of the structure. This role has three primary aspects: planning, project management, and communications.
Some construction project engineers are fully licensed, Professional Engineers (PEs). This designation requires the completion of a university degree in engineering from an accredited school, in addition to a minimum three years of working experiences as an engineer and the successful completion of the certification examination. As a PE, there is a continuing education requirement, as well as a code of ethics to which the engineer is legally required to uphold.
A construction project of any size requires a significant amount of planning. This stage can take between two or three months and a full year to complete. Budget, design, client requirements, materials, and timeliness must all be finalized before work can begin. Multiple iterations, client meetings, and discussions with other building professionals can be time-consuming, but all are required at this stage.
Project management typically shifts to the construction project engineer when the actual work is ready to begin. On any large project, there is typically several project engineers. Working as a team, each engineer takes responsibility for a specific set of tasks, all of which are critical to the project. The primary project leader is responsible for coordination of the project, ensuring that communication lines are open and that everyone is held accountable.
The construction project engineer must be able to clearly communicate requirements and expectations to the various trades and workers. Items such as timeliness, daily activity plan, and problems must all be communicated to a wide group, quickly and efficiently. In addition, he or she must have a management style that encourages others to communicate mistakes, problems, or concerns. Without this opening, issues are hidden, causing delays and even increasing the risk of injury on the site.
During the building phase, most of the construction project engineer's time is spent on the construction site. He or she is expected to be able to spot potential problems, resolve issues, and manage the staff on site. This requires a deep understanding of the project details, client requirements, and time lines.