which civil engineering profession is right for you?

The traditional process of carrying out a construction project from start to finish involves the work of several different organizations. Our guide to the process of building a typical process, as well as our ‘Consultant vs. Entrepreneur Career Selection’ infographic, will help you decide which role and employer is right for you.

How is a construction project built and what will an engineer do?

With thanks to Sir Robert McAlpine for his explanation on this matter…

1. The customer has something to build

The client (who is often a real estate developer, public sector organization, utility or infrastructure provider) decides what they want to build, when to finish it, and how much they are willing to pay.

Engineering graduates may join a customer organization in a project management role, in a design role, or in a maintenance role, depending on the organization.

2. The consultant designs the project

Consultants are typically employed for their specialist knowledge in a particular area, for example, planning regulations, project design, health, safety and welfare regulations, or costing. . Whereas they were traditionally employed by the client, consultants are now increasingly recruited by contractors into their design team.

Engineering graduates typically work on engineering designs, although later in a project they may be seconded to a construction site to liaise with contractors.

3. The contractor does most of the construction work…

Once sufficient design information is available, the client’s consulting team will submit bids to contractors, who will then submit a price or bid for the construction of the project. The contractor is then responsible for carrying out the project in accordance with the design, the required quality, on time and for the agreed price. Responsibilities also include the safety, health and well-being of the workforce and the public, protection of the environment and minimization of disruption. Contractors hire sub-contractors for specialized parts of the project such as reinforced concrete work, steel framing, foundation piles, roofing, siding, plumbing and electrical work.

Engineering graduates tendency to supervise work on site, managing teams to ensure designs are implemented correctly. However, larger prime contractors may also have design-based roles available to graduates, especially if they take on design and construction projects.

How do I choose the right engineer position and employer?

Most engineering students will join consultants or contractors – if you’re struggling to decide whether you’re best suited to design (consultancy) or build (outsource), our infographic will help you identify your priorities (click the image below to see the PDF version).


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