Site engineers are integral to construction projects. Working alongside civil engineers, structural engineers, architects and surveyors, they use their technical skills and managerial prowess to make sure that building sites are fit for purpose.
The role of a site engineer combines technical responsibilities with project management. Without these guys, construction projects would descend into chaos. Site engineers are responsible for planning, marking out and levelling construction sites before any building work takes place. They also build roads, drainage systems and other vital facilities to make sure construction projects go off without a hitch.
A site engineer’s duties, however, aren’t finished once the construction site has been set up. These guys are also responsible for the procurement and management of construction materials which are used on-site.
Using their expert knowledge of construction materials and their commercial nous to negotiate deals with suppliers, this lot play a seriously important role in making sure that building projects are as cost-effective as possible.
The project management side of a site engineer’s job involves liaising with third party stakeholders to keep them updated on the progress of the construction project, managing the site facilities, and supervising construction workers on a daily basis. They are usually in charge of health and safety on the construction site.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level site engineers tend to earn between £21,000 and £25,000 per annum, while more experienced professionals can earn up to £36,000.
If you eventually become a chartered site engineer your annual salary is likely to be upwards of £45,000.
Typically, site engineers work around 37.5 hours a week, although extra evening and weekend work may be required from time to time to make sure that project deadlines are met.
You will most likely do a mixture of office work and site visits. On-site work can be dangerous at times, so you will be required to wear appropriate safety gear.
Although a degree is not strictly essential for entry into this profession, it’s a good idea to complete a degree or HND (higher national diploma) in a relevant subject, such as civil engineering, structural engineering, construction management or surveying, which is accredited by one of the following professional bodies: the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
You can also enter this line of work via an apprenticeship. However, you will need to climb the career ladder from a low-level technician role before you can become a full-on site engineer.
If your first degree is not accredited by one of the professional bodies mentioned above, you can always do a postgraduate conversion course.
Training & progression
As a graduate trainee, the majority of your training will be done ‘on-the-job’ under the supervision of an experienced site engineer. However, you may occasionally be required to attend training courses which are offered in-house and by external organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Building.
Once you have completed your graduate training programme, you will usually begin to be given responsibility for your own construction projects. When you have developed a wealth of experience in this capacity, you will most likely progress into the role of senior engineer or site manager.