Construction engineer job duties
Construction engineers or managers coordinate, plan and direct many different types of construction projects. They may build residential, industrial, or commercial structures, treatment plants, hospitals, schools, roads, and bridges. They may be in charge of an entire project or oversee just part of the project. They also coordinate and schedule all construction and design processes, including selecting and hiring trade contractors, and overseeing their work. In most cases, they do not directly work on actual construction of the project themselves. Their role is as an overseer.
Construction manager or construction estimator jobs can be salaried; these people can also be self-employed. They may also be called project engineers, construction supervisors, program managers, or general contractors.
Overseeing the entire process
Construction managers both coordinate and supervise the construction project from beginning to end. They start with concept development and finish with final construction, and they make sure that the project is done within the specified period of time and within the budget specified, as well. They have to be good at working with people and with communication skills, because they work with architects, engineers, owners, and a variety of other people involved in the entire project and construction process. Once they are given a design for a particular project, they plan, schedule, and then implement the designs, starting the process to the completed project.
With particularly large construction projects, such as an industrial complex, there may be more than one construction manager involved, because these types of projects are often too complex for one person to oversee in its entirety. Therefore, the project itself is usually divided into segments like site preparation, planning sewage and water systems, construction and landscaping, and building construction. Different construction managers may oversee specific segments of the entire process.
In addition to the aforementioned duties, construction managers are also responsible for getting materials to the building site. The goal overall is to make the entire process its most cost-effective and efficient possible while still providing quality work. Because of this, they divide construction processes into specific steps and set time limits to meet each step in the process.
They also help choose the general contractors and trade contractors who are going to be working on specific areas of the project, including plumbing and electrical work, structural construction, and cover installation. They need to be able to determine what laborers were acquired and may also supervise, hire and fire workers. In the end, they are responsible for making sure that work is completed on time and on budget.
Construction manager jobs often require that one is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with necessary delays due to bad weather, emergencies, material shortfalls, and the like.
Training and education
As previously mentioned, many employers prefer to hire people with bachelor's degrees in construction management, construction science, or civil engineering. They also want them to have practical, hands-on construction work experience in carpentry, masonry, plumbing, and so on. Construction science is becoming an increasingly popular and available bachelor's degree for colleges and universities around the country. Those who graduate in related fields like engineering or architecture also are increasingly interested in entering construction management after having worked on construction firsthand themselves.
Certification is not yet mandatory, but it is desirable nonetheless because it shows that you have experience in competency in first-hand construction skills and in the industry itself. The American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America both have a voluntary certification programs for construction managers. Educational and professional experience must be verified, and written examinations must be passed in order to receive certifications.
Job opportunities, salary, and outlook
More than half of people in construction management are self-employed as owners of specialty trade construction firms or general construction firms. Currently, this industry is suffering a bit of a downturn in the economy suffers, and the industry itself generally rises and falls in stride with the economy in general.
As construction projects become more and more complex, construction managers are going to be in greater demand as well. As laws are set in place requiring certain standards for buildings and construction materials, as well as energy efficiency, environmental considerations, and worker safety, more advanced supervision via construction managers will be required as well. The average earnings for construction managers in 2006 were about $74,000.
If you have hands-on experience in the construction industry and an interest in overseeing construction jobs, consider becoming a construction manager or taking a related managerial position. Whether you wish to be self-employed or to work for a company, these jobs are considered quite secure and plentiful through 2016, although the economy has thrown these projections into question somewhat.