A site engineer has important roles in the construction of a building, bridge, dam, infrastructure project, and several others related project.
A project without a “site engineer” might be considered as a paralyzed project with a broken organization. He or She should be the engine of the ship, a project without him will not produce productivity. That’s the reason why the management shall ensure a site engineer is being appointed to run the project.
The Site Engineer is the creator of the project, they are the builder, executioner, planner, motivator whatever you may want to call it. They are the main component of an organization.
Construction industry requires a lot of construction professional to advance. Some of them are engineers, architects, accountants, and even geologist. But I believe one of the most relevant personnel needed for the construction industry are site engineers.
To give you an idea of the works of these professionals, here are the “nine most important job of a Site Engineer.”
1. Planning the activity on site
The site engineer shall plan his work and strategy on site progress. He has to base the work from the approved planning program. He shall ensure that the site progress will be coordinated with his construction manager and even project manager. All planned activity shall also be disseminated to his site crews such as foreman and charge-hand.
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2. Quantity Taking-off for materials on site
Estimating of the material to be used for the project is a usual thing that a site engineer can do, he should ensure that part of the whole quantity should be quantified against the partial progress of the project.
3. Producing up-to-date project reports
As the one who is working hand in hand on site, site engineers are the proper staff to ask for up-to-date project updates. These professionals work together with project managers and planning engineers. They are the proper people to ask the billable accomplishments and/or percentages for progress billings of a project.
4. Conduct site inspection to ensure plans are followed correctly
One small wrongly installed reinforcing bars in a structure would cause serious damage later on. Thus, site engineers are the ones who ensure that what is set out as planned by the Consultant or Designer has been followed. Traditionally, there may be practices on-site that are not acceptable in theories of structural engineering especially on concreting terminations. These are basically laid out on structural notes which are often taken for granted by mere laymen.
Further, whatever deviations there is in the plan would mean Change Orders. Change Orders are those scopes not part of the contract. In could be additive change orders or deductive change orders. Additive change orders are those scopes that need to be included with respect to actual site conditions for the completion of the project. To give an example, a new perimeter fence is part of the contract, but there is an existing fence on actual which is not part of the contract, thus, the demolition of the existing fence is an additive change order. A deductive change order is the reverse of an additive change order.
5. Supervising construction foreman and other staff
Staffs like foreman and laborers are set out to be the actual hands on the project. Whether how competent these men may be, there are terms that they may not necessarily know. Thus, they needed to be supervised by the site engineers who are technically capable to do so, especially on plan interpretations. There will always be acronyms, symbols, and specifications laborers do not understand. These needs are filled by the site engineers.
In addition, site engineers are the ones to play around the placing of workers to max out productivity and boost project completion. Site engineers are the ones who can see right away need to add painters because of fast approaching architectural works. If they find that structural works are almost complete, then they may lessen or cut down masons and carpenters. These are some of the techniques used on the actual project to minimize overhead costs which would mean savings for the project.
Read Also: How to Become a Civil Engineer
6. Resolving unforeseen deviations on plans compared to actual site conditions
There will never be perfect plans. Whether a project has been planned by the most competent designer there is, there will always be factors that may deviate with what is planned. It could be boulders too hard for heavy equipment to be eliminated or cavities on soil that needs to be filled. Site engineers are the one technically capable to resolve deviations like these. They are also entitled to extend the issue to the Consultant or Designers if they find the problems too critical for the credibility of the structure.
7. Overseeing quality assurance and control and health of workers on site
As they are almost all the time on-site, site engineers see to it that all the materials used on the project passed the minimum requirements as designed. These are true especially on angle bar thickness for trusses, concrete designs for columns and slab on grade, grades for reinforcing bars, including the proper time to remove scaffolding on freshly casted suspended slabs.
Health and safety of workers are the top priority on any projects. They work hand in hand with the safety officers should there be findings the safety officers find unsafe. Site engineers see to it that safety are also strictly enforced.
8. Liaising with Quantity Surveyor and Planning Engineers regarding construction progress
These are in relation to change orders as described above. Should there be any deviations that would mean additional cost, quantities of materials deducted or added are verified by the site engineers. Planning engineers basically take their data from the site engineers for scheduling updates.
9. Supervising and training juniors or trainee engineers
There will always be aspirant engineers. Site engineers are the ones to immerse these juniors on-site. Juniors and trainees are usually students too eager to learn the technicalities on site. The staff perfect to be partnered with them are the site engineers.
These are just some but not limited to the works of a site engineer.
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