“Construction engineering” refers to a family of careers within the engineering field.
As with many job categories, construction engineers fill a variety of roles and their job experiences might look quite varied across the spectrum.
This article will explore some specific job types within the construction engineering family as well as identify which of those share a strong emphasis on environmental awareness and protection.
What is Construction Engineering?
To begin, it’s important to understand what distinguishes a construction engineer from other types of engineers.
Ohio University defines a construction engineer as “a civil engineer who is tasked with the oversight and management of a large-scale, complex construction project.”
Similarly, Purdue University defines construction engineering this way: “Construction engineers design and execute processes for building and maintaining the infrastructure of our world.”
Civil engineers are often more intimately involved in the design and planning process for construction endeavors, while construction engineers are usually more involved in overseeing the execution of those projects.
They are often responsible for developing and/or adhering to project budgets, recruiting teams, and contractors who will complete the project, and managing all aspects of the operation as it takes place.
What Careers are Possible for Construction Engineers?
There are many job titles and specializations that a construction engineer might pursue or work within in the field of engineering:
- Construction managers provide administrative and logistical oversight for construction projects.
- Cost estimators provide financial forecasting and budget development for large projects and interact with stakeholders, investors, managers, and other engineers to formulate an accurate picture of the costs necessary to complete them.
- Field engineers specialize in operating equipment used for large construction projects.
These specializations often lend themselves to a specific type of project or part of the engineering or construction process.
A wealth of information exists online and from scholarly sources about the types of construction engineering roles available in the job market today.
However, this article will concentrate on a specific branch of construction engineering.
Which Construction Engineering Career Paths are Environmentally Focused?
Some construction engineering roles are specifically geared towards environmental care and protection.
For those who are interested in applying their engineering skills in ways that are environmentally focused, here are a few ideas of engineering positions that would best lend themselves to that emphasis:
- Environmental Engineers combine engineering with a knowledge base in life sciences or chemistry to execute engineering projects with sensitivity to environmental needs and concerns. Environmental engineers might design or improve systems like waste management or power consumption, or they may aid in building projects to minimize their environmental drain or effect.
- Air Quality Specialists often work within the realm of policy to either enforce federal air quality standards or aid private entities in meeting them. Air quality specialists focus their work specifically on reducing or eliminating the industry’s effects on their environment. This could look like air testing, designing exhaust or filtration systems, or consulting for engineering projects that might have an impact on the air quality in their environment.
- Surveyors use instrumentation, both digital and mechanical, to develop precise measurements and understandings of land for the purposes of construction design and planning. Surveyors can aid the planning process for new construction and provide important insights that can help decision-makers preserve and protect land and its environmental elements.
- Sustainability Specialists have detailed knowledge in the area of designing engineering projects with maximum sustainability. Eco-friendly construction is a rapidly developing industry. As demand increases for structures and systems to be less environmentally taxing, the need for specialists in this area that can be consulted or involved throughout the design and construction process will also increase.
Environmental Concern: Not Just for Environmentally Focused Engineers
The career types listed above are often heralded as the front line of environmental awareness and sensitivity within the engineering world. However, it isn’t just construction engineers with environmentally specific job types that can incorporate environmental caution and respect into their work.
Construction engineers of any type can prioritize their environmental awareness and help bring that knowledge to their roles.
Whether it looks like being mindful of resource use throughout a construction project, paying closer attention to chemicals or potentially harmful materials used during construction projects, eliminating waste, or encouraging clients to consider more eco-friendly methods or materials, every construction engineer can play a role in increasing the quality of our environmental practices and help lessen our impact on our environment and planet.