Construction engineering job description

Construction engineer job duties:

Construction engineers typically do some or all of the following:

- Calculate estimated budgets, work timetables, materials and money
- Choose right strategies and appropriate method for the process of construction
- Talk about contracts and explain project’s specifications in details to colleagues and professionals from other similar areas
- Present all reports with positive and negative results of work to the clients
- Cooperate with all specialists from construction and building areas (such as architects, all kinds of engineers, etc.)
- Oversee the process of construction on work place and evaluate the work of personnel
- Quickly find the solutions for all work emergencies as work delay and others
- Choose, hire and give needed instructions to subcontractors and laborers
- Make sure the construction process comply with all building and safety codes and legal requirements

Examples of occupational titles

• bridge engineer
• civil engineer
• environmental engineer
• geodetic engineer
• geodetics engineer
• highway engineer
• hydraulics engineer
• municipal engineer
• project engineer, construction
• public works engineer
• sanitation engineer
• structural engineer
• surveying engineer
• traffic engineer
• transportation engineer
water management engineer

Construction engineer career Overview:

Construction engineers are in fact civil engineers. Their job is to take care of construction projects from the beginning to the end. This kind of construction engineer job has to make plans, to coordinate, create budgets and carefully oversee the work on site. Their main responsibility is to ensure that infrastructure projects that will be built are not only functional but also durable and safe for those who use it. Construction engineers must be knowledgeable about the use of computer design software like CADD. Also, they have to have knowledge about planning, estimating and controlling the costs associated with construction projects. They constantly inspect to determine if the different parts of the project are build as they should. If construction engineers notices problems during the process of construction, they must be proactive. Their role is to think about solutions and implement the best of them to mitigate any potential damage. At the end of the construction, they do the final inspection in order to see if the structure is durable and safe and if everything is done according to the plan.


Construction engineers typically do some or all of the following:

- Make a plan with expected costs, time, materials and work timetables
- Talk with clients about expected work results and estimated budget
- Work together with engineers, architects, technologists, technicians and specialists from other similar areas
- Take care about subcontractor’s work (activities and schedule)
- Evaluate work delays and other problems in the field of construction and find solutions for them
- Comply all the work with all needed legal and building requirements

Construction engineers survey the place for work before it starts. They pay special attention to the environmental issues. After surveying, they present results to the environmental associations or government agencies.

Our construction engineering description, lets you know that construction engineers are responsible for numerous projects. There are building industrial, public, residential and commercial structures, bridges, roads and memorials. They also collaborate with builders and developers in order to quickly overcome all problems during the process of construction.
Construction engineers evaluate the work of contractors and other members of a team. They organize all the construction processes and make sure all of them are finished according the plan, timely and within budget. Sometimes construction engineers are responsible for few projects at the same time which makes their work more complex.

These professionals are often related to other building specialists during their work. Civil engineers, architects, carpenters, stonemasons and electricians are among them because projects can include excavating sites, painting, landscaping, paving roads and many other activities. Sometimes, depending on the project, construction engineers must work with lawyers, city inspectors and other professionals from government offices also. All of them together have to ensure the construction process meet all the regulations.

If the project is too big to be organized by one person, such as industrial complexes or office buildings, construction engineer must hire other construction engineers to be completely responsible for some parts of the project. In these situations, one construction engineer is in charge of electrical work, structural foundation, plumbing or some other aspect of the work.

He must choose subcontractors who will finish this part of job. Of course, the top-level construction engineer cooperates with all engineers during the process.
Construction engineers often do the work of a cost estimator. They use software in order to be more efficient and productive, to allocate money and time and finish their projects.

Work environment:

According to statistics, those are industries that employed most construction engineers in 2011:
Construction 67%
Architectural, engineering and related services 10%
Usually, construction engineers work in multidisciplinary environment with many other specialists. That is why they can gain different skills and knowledge during their work and why team work is essential for perfect results.

Work schedules:

According to the official statistics for 2011, 95.9% of construction engineers worked full time. About 4% of them worked part time. Usually, construction engineers work 40 hours a week, but if there is an emergency or construction engineer must respond to work delay, there will be some extra hours. Construction engineers usually work from their offices. They sometimes also work on location of the job when it is necessary to visually inspect the performed work.

Education and training:

Bachelor degree is often required for employment. Actually, construction engineers are professionals who often hold a university degree in civil engineering or a college diploma in construction technology or related field. For entering management a professional should work his way up in construction industry. On construction engineering program, students learn about construction design, safety and quality issues and engineering principles. Typical courses include: civil engineering, construction materials and methods, construction equipment, construction estimating and planning and mechanical and electrical systems. Sometimes and for some positions master’s degree is required. Those courses typically include: construction systems design, construction management information systems, construction project management, construction estimating and cost analysis and construction engineering research methods. Master’s program is more about research and bachelor’s programs ten to fundamentals and may allow specializations.


According to the official statistics for 2011, about 24% of construction engineers had bachelor degree and about 55% of them were post-secondary. About 13% of construction engineers had high school education and about 5% of them have less than this level of education.

Important qualities:

Business skills. Construction engineers take care about budget, workers and materials. It is essential to hire competent laborers and to establish nice working relationships with everyone. Construction engineers need to understand building codes, laws and regulation that might have huge impact on their projects.
Analytical skills. These professionals must overcome unexpected delays and issues and solve problems that arise during the process of construction. Many of them use modern software in order to estimate costs and determine needed time and materials. They also use software when they want to plan projects.
Decision – making skills. Construction engineers have to make decisions related to budget and workers on daily basis. These decisions must be made quickly in order to meet budgets and deadlines.

Customer-service skills. This kind of engineers is often in contact with inspectors, public and owners. Construction engineers must be able to explain work delays when they occur and to communicate work plans clearly and precisely.

Leadership skills. Team work and interpersonal skills are very important in this occupation. Construction engineers must work together with subcontractors, construction workers, other engineers and colleagues from other similar areas.

Initiative. Construction engineers that are self-employed must be proactive in finding new clients. They have to bid on jobs, market their services and learn to perform special home improvement projects. Also, they must be willing to gain new knowledge and skills during the whole career, regardless of steady job.
Technical skills. These skills have significant role in career of construction engineer. Engineer must be able to interpret technical drawings and contracts. Also, they have to know construction methods and technologies.

Organizational and time-management skills. Each phase of construction process must be completed on time, so the next can begin when it is scheduled. That is why it is important for construction engineers to organize their own time and not to lose hours on non-important things.
Writing skills. Writing is part of the job for construction engineers on daily basis. They have to write plans, budgets, proposals and reports of their work in order to document progress. Their writing skills must be good, so other professionals will have no problems with understanding.
Communication and speaking skills. Construction engineers must be able to communicate properly with construction workers and clients. They have to discuss technical details with other specialists for building. Speaking skills are also important because self-employed construction engineers must sell their services and negotiate successfully.

Licenses, certifications and registrations:

A license by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is needed for all construction engineers. It is necessary if they want to approve their drawings and engineering reports or practice as Professional Engineers (P.Eng.). Registration is possible after the graduation from an accredited educational program, but graduates should have three or four years of work experience first. This work has to be supervised by the holder of Professional engineer license. After it, a future holder of a license should pass professional practice examination.

Construction engineers can work and specialize in many different areas within the construction industry, including design and contracting. Those who want further success in this occupation can go for supervisory and/or senior positions. Management training can lead to positions as project superintendent, design or safety engineer or operations manager. Construction engineers can gain skills, experience and knowledge in civil engineering, too. There is possibility for those with doctoral degree to teach on post-secondary level.

Pay or construction engineer salary:

Just like other engineers, construction engineers are paid according to their experience. Their salary varies by location also. According to the official statistics, the average annual employment income for construction engineers in 2011 was 75 965$. This amount applied to about 58% of construction engineers who worked full time. Those who didn’t work full time earned 49 600$. Today, the average pay for this occupation is 85 980$ per year or 32$ per hour. The salary growth from 2009 to 2015 is around 15%. According to the statistics, the average number of construction engineers in Canada is 46 600. The number of employees increased from 2009 to 2015 for about 26%.
According to the official statistics for 2011, 95.9% of construction engineers worked full time. About 4% of them worked part time.

Job outlook:

Job prospects in this occupation are fair. Trends in this occupation are closely tied to the trends in construction industry. The number of construction engineers has risen significantly in recent years. This is expected to be continued in years to come. The reason is economic growth which is expected to drive more fuelling employment opportunities in the industry and more construction projects. The employment will be boosted in most construction sectors. This applies especially on institutional and commercial sector. The only exception will be the residential sector. This is the only one sector that is expected to lose ground because of the decline in housing starts. The relatively large number of people from this occupation will retire or be promoted to senior construction positions in following years, so this will cause job openings. Opportunities will come, to a lesser degree, from employment increase. The sector of civil engineering, which included construction engineers, is expected to see a growth of 20% to 2022. According to the official statistics, the percentage of women in this occupation is rising from 1991 and it is expected to continue with this trend in years to come. Engineering in generally will remain one of the highest-paying industries for college graduates.

Job prospects:

Gaining practical experience while in college is important for this profession. For higher achievements in this occupation one must follow latest trends in the area of construction engineering. This will definitely be an asset when searching a job in this occupation. Of course, constant improvement is needed for further success. A professional should gain new skills and knowledge during his whole career and this will be very helpful.

For more information:

Association provinciale des constructeurs d'habitations du Québec
Association des entrepreneurs en construction du Québec
Association des constructeurs de routes et grands travaux du Québec
Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ)

Similar job titles:

Civil Engineer
Cost Estimator
Landscape Architect
Architectural or Engineering Manager

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