Construction engineering

Subject classification: this is an engineering resource.

Construction engineering concerns the planning and management of the construction of structures such as highways, bridges, airports, rail roads, buildings, dams, and reservoirs. Construction of such projects requires knowledge of engineering and management principles and business procedures, economics, and human behavior. Construction engineers engage in the design of structures temporary, cost estimating, planning and scheduling, materials procurement, selection of equipment, and cost control.

In large construction projects, such as skyscrapers, cranes are essential.

Construction engineering is differentiated from Construction management from the standpoint of the use of mathematics, science and engineering to analyze problems and design a construction process. A good familiarity with reading blueprints is necessary because Construction engineers build many of the things that people use everyday. Construction engineering involves many aspects of construction including: commercial, residential, bridges, airports, tunnels, and dams. It is an extremely large industry that provides jobs to many and continues to grow. Currently there are nearly 6 million people working on construction in the United States [1]. Construction engineers are in high demand so it is easy for a CE to get a job in any part of the country.

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Construction is the largest industry in the United States. It provides jobs to millions ranging in all types of education. Construction makes 14% of our countries Gross National Product [2]. Construction engineering is an important part to the construction industry because it provides much of the design aspect to the field. Construction engineers follow the plans of architects and sometimes design the actual structure. After the structure has been designed the engineers make sure it has been built correctly by testing and overseeing the construction.

Tasks - Construction engineers have a lot of responsibilities in their job. Certain tasks have to be completed everyday in order to get the job done correctly. Analyzing reports is a main part of their job description. They must analyze maps, drawings, blueprints, aerial photography and other topographical information. Construction engineers also have to use computer software to design hydraulic systems and structures while following construction codes. They have to calculate load and grade requirements, liquid flow rates and material stress points to ensure that the structure can withstand stress. Keeping a safe workplace is key to having a successful construction company. It is the construction engineer's job to make sure that everything is conducted correctly. In addition to safety, the construction engineer has to make sure that the site stays clean and sanitary . Surveying the land before construction begins is also a job of the construction engineer. They have to make sure that there are no impediments in the way of where the structure will be built and if there are any they must move them. They also must estimate costs and keep the project under budget. Construction engineers have to test the soils and materials used for adequate strength. Finally, construction engineers have to provide construction information, including repairs and cost changes, to the managers.

Knowledge - Construction engineers build structures that are used by people everyday so they have to be safe and be able to withstand the elements. To complete the job properly construction engineers have to have the knowledge of many different aspects. Those aspects include engineering, technology, design, math, construction, English, customer service, management, transportation, public safety, and computers. They understand technical drawings related to the industry and use the engineering, technology, and math aspects to make sure they build the structure to the set standards. They use English, customer service, and management knowledge to deal with the people that could possibly buy the structure. They also use this knowledge to inform the management on how the project is coming along and if any changes are needed.

Skills - Most construction engineers have a love for math and science. In addition to these abilities there are many other skills needed to be a construction engineer. Critical thinking, listening, learning, problem solving, monitoring, and decision making are all very important in construction engineering. Construction engineers have to be able to think about all aspects of a problem and listen to other’s ideas so that they can learn everything about a project before it begins. After they have begun a project they must solve the problems that they encounter using math and science. They also have to monitor the workers on the job site for safety and to make sure that the project is on time and done correctly. Whenever a problem occurs it is up to the construction engineer to make the decision on how to fix it.

Abilities - Construction engineers have many different kinds of abilities they use to do their job. They have the abilities to reason, express themselves orally, sense a problem, comprehend (oral and written), order information, speak clearly, and visualize. Construction engineers use these abilities to communicate with other workers and to solve problems. They also have to use there abilities to know what kinds of materials to order and how to get those materials while staying under the budget.

Work Activities - Construction engineers have many activities that they have to do everyday. Those activities include drafting, decision making, computer interaction, communication, documenting, creative thinking, organizing, information collecting, estimating, and analyzing. Construction engineers use drafting to design structures and to show others how to build them. They have to analyze information and make the best decision and solve problems. Computers are an important tool used by construction engineers. They use them to write programs and solve equations. Communication is used everyday to interact with coworkers and supervisors. They have to communicate in person, by telephone, and through e-mail. Documentation is used to record important information that needs to be passed on to management. Most documenting is done in electronic form. Creative thinking is used to come up with new ideas and solve problems. Construction engineers have to be organized to accomplish goals and prioritize jobs. They have to gather information on the task at hand before they can start a project. This will help ensure that the job is completed correctly. In order to keep a project under budget, construction engineers have to estimate costs of materials and workers. Finally, they have to analyze data to find answers to problems they are having on the job site.

Educational Requirements - Construction Engineers are educated to design and build structures that are necessary for everyday life. There are only a handful of schools that offer a major in Construction engineering. Some of the more popular colleges are Purdue University, Iowa State University, Bradley University, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, and National University [3]. Bradley University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction while Cal Poly Pomona and National University offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering Technology. Cal Poly Pomona, Bradley University and National University are not accredited by ABET to offer degrees in Construction Engineering. However, Cal Poly Pomona is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Committee (T.A.C.) of ABET and their graduates are eligible to sit for the California E.I.T. exam. The list of accredited ABET programs in Construction Engineering can be found here [4]. The University of Southern California offers a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with an option in Construction Engineering. For most Construction engineering jobs a Bachelor of Science is required and some construction experience. In order to work on projects that will be used by the public a construction engineer has to get a professional engineers license. The Fundamentals of Engineering and Principles and Practice exams must be passed, and other requirements met, for a construction engineer to receive a Professional Engineers license.

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