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Consulting engineer

Serves private and public clients in ways ranging from brief consultations to the complete design and coordination of a project.

Individuals and firms engaged in consulting engineering primarily offer independent technology-based intellectual services to clients for a fee, in the built, human and natural environment. Consulting engineers liaise with clients to plan and design construction projects, and supervise with the building of them.

Many consulting engineering firms consist of multi-disciplinary teams of qualified engineers and other building-related professionals and provide comprehensive services. Others specialise in a specific area of engineering, such as geotechnical, environmental, traffic or structural.

Work activities

  • Defining clients' needs and translating them into designs for new facilities, equipment or systems.
  • Conducting initial fact-finding surveys, project inception, formulation and concept planning.
  • Managing and supervising engineering projects for clients, sometimes internationally.
  • Supervising subcontractors who provide specialist assistance for parts of the project.
  • Organising the project logistics, including purchasing and supply chain management.
  • Liaising with others involved, including architects, local authorities and manufacturers.

Work conditions

Travel: during the working day, travel is a regular feature of the job. Working abroad may be possible with large companies.
Working hours: regular office hours with occasional long days and some weekends depending on projects deadlines. Overnight and weekend stays away from home may be required.

Typical employers

  • Engineering consultancy firms.

Career development

Promotion to senior engineer level is possible and, with more experience, to principal engineer level and beyond.

Salaries

Salaries will vary depending on employer and industry sector. Graduate engineers in the Republic of Ireland can expect median starting salaries in the region of €28,000.

Entry requirements

Engineers who graduate from 2013 and wish to become chartered engineers will need to hold an accredited masters degree (level 9), or equivalent. Level 8 bachelor degrees will, from 2013, satisfy the requirements for Institute of Engineers of Ireland membership only.