Construction Engineering and Management

Construction Engineering and Management

A construction engineer manages a project to bring the design to completion within budget and on time. The designer typically provides drawings, calculations, and specifications that the construction engineer follows to build the project. Typically a construction engineer would be responsible for the following.

  • Planning: surveying, site layout, scheduling of tasks, equipment selection
  • Management: hiring and managing subcontractors and crews, managing materials and logistics, drafting and reviewing contracts, ensuring safety, document control
  • Finance: estimating costs, preparing bids, controlling budgets
  • Quality control: checking plans and specifications for constructability, onsite material testing, implementing environmental safeguards
  • Engineering: design of temporary structures, analyzing and designing solutions for unexpected construction problems.


Figure 2-2 illustrates how construction engineering must be considered at the outset of a design project. Not only must the design perform efficiently once completed, it must also be put together in an efficient process. This particular bridge construction example, where two self-supporting cantilevers “arms” reached out from opposite sides of the canyon to join in the middle, could also be taken as an analogy for engineering-science museum collaboration: Each party must be self-supporting so they can reach out and join up halfway. Figure 2-3 shows an unfamiliar view of the Eiffel Tower – during construction when its metal framework was supported by timber supports. Gustave Eiffel had to not only consider gravity and wind forces on the tower once it was completed but also how to erect it, one small piece of wrought iron at a time.

Figure 2-2. Devil’s Slide Bridge, California. The bridge was constructed by extending from each of the sides of the canyon a self-supporting cantilever arm. At the center is formwork around concrete being poured to complete the central segment that joins into one structure what were two spans during construction. The technique avoided the need to build temporary supports under the bridge as it was built. photo: RR

 Figure 2-3. Gustave Eiffel’s iron tower was supported by a forest of timber shoring as it ascended to its 300-meter (1000 foot) height. photo: Bibliotheque National

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