Construction engineering is a hybrid professional discipline, drawing on both engineering, particularly civil engineering, and on business and management training. While civil and environmental engineers may be in charge of the final design of a project, construction engineers are responsible for managing the construction site and the process of construction. Small projects, such as the construction of small homes, may not require even one construction engineer, but large building projects employ a team of construction engineers to assess environmental impact, monitor safety and sanitation, handle site upkeep and cleanup, and manage the flow of personnel and materials to and from the work site.
The hybrid nature of the discipline requires that students wishing to enter construction engineering receive training in several related fields. They take engineering courses related specifically to construction. In addition, they generally take classes from related fields of engineering, such as civil engineering, classes in management, and courses in the use of software systems crucial to modern engineering design. They are also generally required to take an examination after several years on the job to become fully certified engineers.
Major construction projects have a significant impact on the environment and are generally carefully regulated to minimize pollution and maximize safety. The task of making sure that a construction site adheres to all environmental standards is usually taken care of by the construction engineering staff on site. These engineers will work with surveyors to develop a plan for the site that takes local land and water features into account and continue to monitor these factors throughout construction.
A second key component of work in construction engineering is the ongoing maintenance of safety standards at the worksite. Most nations have codes that dictate appropriate safety procedures for a worksite, and the construction engineering staff on site will generally be responsible for making sure that those procedures are followed. The periodic inspection of the project to ensure that quality and safety standards are being met is also part of this aspect of a construction engineer's work. For projects that last for months or years, periodic site clean-up and the repair and upkeep of any temporary structures required for construction also fall within the construction engineering team's area of responsibility.
Training in construction engineering also includes business and management skills, and construction engineers use this training on the job site as well. They typically handle the flow of resources to and from a construction site and work to make sure that all materials are on site as needed for construction. This aspect of construction engineering also often deals with payroll and budgeting for the job.