Site engineers form part of the management team at construction sites. They play an important role in making sure that the construction project is completed on time and to the agreed budget. When you become a site engineer, you are valued both for your specialist technical knowledge and for your contribution to ensuring health and safety and the smooth running of the site. They typically organise and arrange materials and work tasks. If you like the thought of becoming a site engineer, here are some essentials that you should know.
Site Engineer Roles and Duties
A site engineer will be fully involved in planning and coordinating construction projects. This could be a large-scale civil infrastructure project such as a road or a railway or a private building site. They closely supervise the technical aspects of the project, but they also play a role in maintaining quality control, health and safety and in managing resources (including human resources).
They are the on-the-ground managers who get the job done. Their job starts as the site is being designed, and they may play a role in selecting a suitable site for the project by carrying out appropriate surveys. The designs will be passed to a site engineer for the initial marking-out and levelling. Their duties will include checking the drawings and calculations for inaccuracies and trouble-shooting problems as they arise. When you become a site engineer, you will act as coordinator between the various contractors and supervise personnel and the requisition of materials, checking that they conform to any required specifications. At the end of the project, you will be expected to contribute towards the project completion report.
Do You Have The Personal Traits for the Job?
There are several traits and abilities that make an individual well suited to the job of site engineer. To become a site engineer, you will need to have an inherent interest in structures and in how they are put together. This often goes hand in hand with being able to visualise three-dimensional objects and structures from 2D technical drawings. It is essential that you are able to take responsibility and are happy to be accountable. You must be able to work as part of a team and take charge of a team when needed. An eye for detail will give you a distinct advantage in this role, and you must thrive when working on projects that require both precision and innovation.
Education, Career Progression and Salary
To become a site engineer you will need, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, structural engineering or the equivalent. A postgraduate qualification may also be desirable for some roles.
Engineering is a respected profession, and to work as an engineer you will be expected to be a member of a professional body. There are different professional bodies in different countries. In the UK, you could join the Institute of Civil Engineers. To work in the USA, you must be certified as a PE, which stands for professional engineer. You may be able to work on some entry-level jobs without certification, but your aim should always be to become a certified professional.
Typically, an engineering student tries to gain as much on-site experience as they can before they get their degree. They then start in an entry-level job where they will be supervised by a more experienced engineer. You can expect to progress to mid- and senior-level roles within around three to five years as you gradually take on more responsibility. You may decide to specialise in one area and eventually reach senior-level management roles within an organisation. Private consultancy is another option.
When you become a site engineer, your salary levels will be highly dependent on your level of experience, responsibilities and employer. They also vary by country and region. However, typical annual salaries range from £23,500 for a new graduate to over £100,000 for experienced consultants.