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What Does a Construction Engineer Do?

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Construction engineering is a specialized field that ensures the successful completion of a construction project. Construction engineers work with builders and other construction professionals to coordinate a project's various elements.


Construction engineers also provide high-level strategic oversight of a construction project. This allows construction crews to complete complex projects on time and within budget.


Construction engineers monitor the final design strategy and ensure compliance with construction best practices. They also communicate progress or setbacks to project stakeholders. Ultimately, construction engineers play a crucial role in ensuring building projects are completed safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively.


What Is Construction Engineering?

Construction engineering can be defined as an extended branch of civil engineering that primarily focuses on the execution of construction engineering technology, principles, and practices during the construction phase. In that sense, a construction engineer is a civil engineer tasked with overseeing and managing a large-scale, complex construction project. 


Construction engineering encompasses all aspects of structural design, building, operating, and maintaining structures and systems safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively.


Role of a construction engineer

The responsibilities of a construction engineer in construction management vary greatly depending on the project at hand. A construction engineer may simply perform the task of a project manager or a general contractor for smaller projects. 


Sometimes a construction engineer may oversee a specific part of the construction process, especially for large and complex projects. In such projects, the construction engineer is involved in the design process, as well as analysis and planning, including cost estimation. 


For large construction projects, regardless of their specific duties, all construction engineers must coordinate with professionals from other fields like structural engineering, mechanical engineering, architectural engineering, geotechnical engineering, materials engineering, water resources engineering, and civil environmental engineering on the day-to-day construction process to ensure compliance with designs and building plans.


A construction engineer’s responsibility includes the following.

  • Coordinate with others (building engineer and structural engineer) to estimate the project cost accurately 
  • Assemble the necessary equipment and materials required for the building construction
  • Oversee progress and ensure the safety of the work environment
  • Supervise the use of machinery or other advanced construction tools
  • Work closely with the environmental engineer to comply with environmental regulations


How is construction engineering different from civil engineering?

Civil engineering is the study of the design, construction, and maintenance of physical infrastructures such as roads, bridges, airports, and water systems. On the other hand, construction engineering deals with the everyday management of construction sites. In that sense, a construction engineer can act as a construction manager for large construction projects.


Construction Engineering Salary Range

The average annual salary for a construction engineer varies from USD 69,000 to USD 100000. On top of the average salary, a construction engineer may receive various bonus packages. In certain work environments, the engineer may receive remuneration on a profit-sharing basis.


Construction Engineering Educational Requirements

Choosing the right degree is essential to success as a construction engineer. A bachelor’s degree in construction technology, applied science, or construction management is generally all that is required, but those who pursue and earn an advanced degree after graduate programs may have an edge in the construction industry.


Those with a master’s degree develop leadership and managerial skills, making them well-suited for roles leading larger engineering or construction teams.


Construction Engineering Technology Careers

Construction engineers have various job options, some of which fall within the topic of construction engineering technology. This profession concentrates on the technical and inspection-based parts of building site supervision and frequently employs cutting-edge technologies to assure precision in their work environment.


Construction managers and cost estimators are the two most sought-after career choices for persons interested in construction engineering technology.


Construction Manager (CM)

Construction managers are responsible for overseeing a building project from beginning to end, ensuring that all administrative aspects run smoothly. Some common duties include scheduling and budgeting, monitoring expenses, and ensuring construction progress per timeline. 


CMs also oversee the works of various subcontractors and ensure they are performing effectively. CMs are responsible for keeping the project on track for a successful outcome.


Some essential skills required to become a construction manager are:

  • Team management
  • Organization and planning
  • Financial management
  • Familiarity with cutting-edge construction methods and tools like BIM (Building Information Modeling), CAD (Computer-Aided Design), and other construction software


Construction managers can make a comfortable living with an annual salary package of USD 70000 to USD 90000. Moreover, the pay level can vary depending upon the experience and education levels.


Also read: What Does a Construction Manager do? How to Become a Construction Manager?


Cost Estimator

Finishing a large building project is costly, and it is critical for investors and stakeholders to complete the project as inexpensively as possible. This entails rigorous budget formulation and advanced financial forecasting.


This is where cost estimators play a significant role. Their primary purpose is to examine all aspects of a construction project and provide a complete cost estimation analysis for labor, materials, permissions, and clearances.


Key skills required to become a cost estimator:

  • Mathematical proficiency
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Time management
  • Clear communication skills


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a cost estimator can earn an average salary between USD 65,00 to USD 80000. Furthermore, experience and educational level can impact the upper and lower limit of the salary range.


Also read: Cost Estimation for Construction Projects



What does a construction engineer do?

Building and construction engineers oversee construction projects, ensuring they are completed on time and according to plans and specifications. Typically, these engineers are also in charge of the design, budgeting, and on-site safety.


What skills do you need to be a construction engineer?

Skills required to become a professional construction engineer are:

  • Technical Training & Experience
  • Mathematical Skill
  • Communication Skill
  • Leadership Skill
  • Organizational Skill
  • Decision Making Skill


What does a construction engineer do on a site?

Construction engineers are critical in the design and implementation of complex building structures. They may also be in charge of building or maintaining key infrastructures, such as roads and bridges, dams, and water supply. Their onsite responsibilities include maintaining the pace and schedule of construction.


Is construction engineering part of civil engineering?

Construction engineering, sometimes known as construction operations, is a subdiscipline of civil engineering primarily concerned with the execution and supervision of the design, planning, and operation management of various types of infrastructure projects such as motorways, highways, bridges, airports, railways, tunnels, and dams.


How much does a construction engineer make a year?

A construction engineer can earn between USD 69,000 to USD 100000. But this salary range can go up depending on expertise, experience, and skills.


The bottom line

Construction engineers play a significant role in construction management. Along with other civil engineering disciplines, construction engineering is necessary to complete large construction projects. 


Construction engineers also have highly demanding career opportunities in the construction industry. The only need is to gain the necessary education and training.

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