Construction and civil engineering

Graduate careers in construction and civil engineering.

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Civil engineers and building
services engineers work for
large construction companies,
engineering contractors, consulting
engineers and, in the public sector, for
local authorities. They are involved in
the design and supervision of a wide
range of infrastructure projects.

There are also opportunities for
graduates with companies providing
engineering services to the
construction industry, for example in
the production of plants, tools and
equipment or in servicing specialist
areas such as quarrying or waste
management.

Where could I work?

Civil engineering

Civil engineers design and supervise
the construction of a huge range of
projects including buildings, roads,
railways, tunnels, bridges, power
stations, dams, water supply and
sewerage systems. Civil engineering
offers graduates a high-tech career
with the chance to travel and work
outdoors, and to work on projects that
involve multidisciplinary teams
including architects, quantity
surveyors and building services
engineers.

Civil engineers can work for a wide
variety of companies including firms of
consulting engineers, engineering
contractors, construction companies
and local authorities. They are also
employed by property developers,
transport infrastructure companies
and government departments.
Generally speaking, the work of
civil and structural engineers will
combine site and design work.
However, consulting engineers tend
to focus more on design while
contracting engineers will spend
more time on site.

Consulting engineers are
responsible for working with clients to
design, plan, manage and supervise the
construction of projects. Their work
involves carrying out site investigations
and feasibility studies; developing
detailed designs; liaising with other
professionals such as architects,
building services engineers and
quantity surveyors; and ensuring the
smooth running of projects and
completion within budget and on time.
Contracting civil engineers turn the
plans of designers into reality. They
liaise with the design team and
oversee the actual construction on
site. Their work involves organising
manpower and materials; observing
safety standards; negotiating
modifications with the designers;
scheduling work; and supervising
construction, including the work of
subcontractors. They use specialist
equipment to survey sites to ensure
that the construction work is being
carried out in the right place and that
the structure is safe.

This career area is open to any
engineering graduate, although a civil
or structural background is
advantageous. Numeracy is essential,
as are communication skills.

Building services engineering

Building services engineers ensure
that the buildings we live and work in
are comfortable, safe and energy
efficient. They do this by designing
building services systems and
supervising their installation and
operation. Typically 30–40 per cent of
the total construction costs in
commercial and industrial buildings
are associated with the provision of
services such as lighting, heating, air
conditioning, power, data
communications, public health
systems and lifts

The work involves advising clients
and architects; designing suitable
systems (using computer-aided
design) and supervising their
installation; and liaising with
structural engineers, construction
managers, builders and surveyors.
Building services engineers are
employed by consultancies,
contractors, local authorities, the
public health and healthcare sector,
universities and the manufacturing
industry. You will need to demonstrate
strong technical competence, design
skills and commercial awareness.
Communication skills are essential for
liaising with other professionals, as is
the ability to work in a team. A good
level of numeracy is needed to make
complex calculations and estimates
for clients.

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