Site engineer: job description
Site engineers provide technical advice about, plan, organise and supervise construction projects.
Site engineers tend to have more specific, technical knowledge than site managers.
Site engineers have similar jobs to construction (site) managers on a construction project. They manage parts of a construction project (also known as packages), providing technical advice, supervising staff on site and ensuring that their packages are completed on time and within budget.
The main difference between site managers and site engineers is that site engineers tend to have a more specific, technical knowledge and expertise. Site engineers typically come from a civil, structural, geotechnical, building services, mechanical or electrical engineering background and manage packages related to those areas.
Key tasks of the job include:
- managing parts of construction projects
- overseeing building work
- undertaking surveys
- setting out sites
- checking technical designs and drawings to ensure that they are followed correctly
- supervising contracted staff
- ensuring project packages meet agreed specifications, budgets and/or timescales
- liaising with clients, subcontractors and other professional staff, especially quantity surveyors and the overall project manager
- providing technical advice and solving problems on site
- preparing site reports and filling in other paperwork
- liaising with quantity surveyors about the ordering and the pricing of materials
- ensuring that health and safety and sustainability policies and legislation are adhered to.
Site engineers work out on a construction site in all weathers and tend to work on one project at a time. Depending on the location of the project, they might need to relocate or complete a lengthy commute.
- Construction companies and specialist civil engineering companies (contractors)
- Public sector organisations – a few vacancies
Vacancies are advertised online on TARGETjobs, individual construction companies’ websites and careers service websites. You can also find jobs advertised in national newspapers and via professional bodies, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.
There are routes into a career as a site engineer for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need an accredited degree in engineering: usually civil, structural, geotechnical, mechanical, electrical or building services. While in their graduate role, engineers will work towards a professional qualification with the most appropriate professional body (such as the Institution of Civil Engineers): this will either be incorporated or chartered status, depending on whether they have a BEng or an MEng/MSc. Find out more about getting chartered and incorporated engineering qualifications.
Site engineer applicants are more attractive to graduate recruiters if they have some work experience within the construction industry. The most common types of industry work experience are years in industry as part of a sandwich degree course or summer placements. Find out more about getting work experience in construction.
To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the construction and property sector of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
- Commercial awareness – an understanding of how your actions can affect profitability of a project
- Teamworking and relationship-building skills
- Communication skills
- Technical skills
- An eye for detail
- Problem solving
- Leadership and management.
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