Not everyone is aware of the differences between construction engineering and project engineering, and while some of those differences are subtle, a few of them are what causes a person to choose to specialize in one over the other. Construction engineering includes the designing, planning, construction, and management of projects like roads, bridges, airports, tunnels, railroads, utilities, and more. On the other hand, project engineering focuses on the design, repairs, renovations, or construction on buildings.
Both these engineering professions require a bachelor’s degree, although a construction engineer will have theirs in civil engineering, while a project engineer can obtain theirs in any engineering discipline. A project engineer may be able to skip obtaining a degree if they have enough work experience within the construction industry and have had a managerial role for some time as well.
The skills needed for both these jobs are basically the same. An engineer in either field needs to be organized, capable of solving problems quickly, detail oriented, capable of making decisions in seconds, and capable of communicating effectively with everyone that they work with.
Some of the roles and the responsibilities are the same as well, but there are a few that are extremely different.
Here are the roles and responsibilities of a construction engineer:
- Conduct surveys of potential future projects
- Engage in the research that is needed for any project
- Analyze the results of the surveys and research that has been completed
- Plan the construction of the current project
- Oversee the work that is being performed on the current project
- Communicate with everyone who is involved in the current project
- Inspect the work sites
- Determine the costs of each construction project
- Provide technical advice as needed or where required
Here are the roles and responsibilities of a project engineer:
- Plan the project and determine the timeline that the work will be completed by
- Hire employees
- Acquire the equipment and materials needed for each project
- Keep the project on schedule and on budget
- Communicate with the employees, other contractors, suppliers, and anyone else who has an interest in the project
- Create reports on the progress of the project and share those reports with the necessary people
- Follow standard operating procedures of the company, as well as the regulations and guidelines of the local area, while completing the project
- Solve problems and concerns as soon as they arise
Both construction engineers and project engineers are not the only ones who work at the job sites. They may also find themselves working with site engineers, superintendents, planning engineers, and project managers. Everyone has their own jobs, yet they need to work well together to ensure that the entire project is completed properly and on time.
These two engineers will spend a good portion of their time on the job site, although there is plenty of office work that they need to complete as well. It is possible for these engineers to begin their days in the office early, as they complete the necessary paperwork for the day and get things ready to send out to the employees, so they know what they need to accomplish that day.
They may or may not finish all that work before they need to leave for the job site, where they will oversee the work that is being completed for the day. Some days may end earlier than others, depending on what was completed and what didn’t go according to plan. The days that extend far into the evening hours are the ones that both construction engineers and project engineers try to avoid, as that time takes away from their other priorities.
There are nights when construction engineers and project engineers need to return to the office, so that they can send out reports of the progress of the day and finalize schedules for the following morning. These jobs can be stressful, especially for those who do not manage their time on the job sites accordingly.
Anyone who works in either one of these fields will want to have a plan of when they will do certain items on their to-do list. While this plan will never really be followed, since no day is ever the same in the construction industry, it will at least be a guideline of what the engineers need to do next.
When people enter the construction industry, they may not be sure of which field they want to go into. It is recommended that they take a couple classes in each of these fields to see which one they like better and then they can decide which option will work best for them as their dream job.