October 6

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Architecture and Engineering Opportunities in Construction

By Robert Salvador

October 6, 2021


There are many current and future opportunities in the construction industry.  I have previously covered careers that require trade school or  little to no formal education.  I thought I would dive into some of the opportunities that require a more advanced education and training.

Architecture, Engineering, and Urban planning all offer chances to work in construction but they all also require more advanced education.

Architecture 

There are typically three main steps to becoming a licensed architect: completing a bachelor’s degree or more in architecture, gaining relevant experience through a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination. Different states have different requirements.

Employment of architects is projected to grow 1 percent from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations. The slow growth is mostly because Improved building information modeling (BIM) software and measuring technology are expected to increase architects’ productivity, thereby limiting employment growth for these workers.

The median annual wage for architects was $82,320 in May 2020.

Responsibilities

  • Meet with clients to determine objectives and requirements for structures
  • Give preliminary estimates on cost and construction time
  • Prepare structure specifications
  • Direct workers who prepare drawings and documents
  • Prepare scaled drawings, either with computer software or by hand
  • Prepare contract documents for building contractors
  • Manage construction contracts
  • Visit worksites to ensure that construction adheres to architectural plan

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers need a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, or one of its specialties. Programs in civil engineering and civil engineering technology include math, statistics, engineering mechanics and systems, and fluid dynamics, depending on the specialty. Courses include a mix of traditional classroom learning, work in laboratories, and fieldwork. Programs may include cooperative programs, also known as co-ops, in which students gain work experience while pursuing a degree.

Job Outlook - The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2026 was projected at 11% 

The average salary for a Civil Engineer in the United States is between $63,580 and $166,900 as of July 2021. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the actual Civil Engineer position you are looking for.  Civil engineers with ample experience may move into senior positions, such as project managers or functional managers of design, construction, operation, or maintenance. 

Civil engineers conceive, design, build, supervise, operate, construct and maintain infrastructure projects and systems in the public and private sector, including roads, buildings, airports, tunnels, dams, bridges, and systems for water supply and sewage treatment. Many civil engineers work in planning, design, construction, research, and education.

Responsibilities

  • Consider construction costs, government regulations, potential environmental hazards, and other factors during the planning and risk-analysis stages of a project
  • Prepare cost estimates for materials, equipment, or labor to determine a project’s economic feasibility
  • Oversee and analyze the results of soil testing to determine the adequacy and strength of foundations
  • Analyze the results of tests on building materials, such as concrete, wood, asphalt, or steel, for use in particular projects
  • Use design software to plan and design transportation systems, hydraulic systems, and structures in line with industry and government standards
  • Perform or oversee surveying operations to establish building locations, site layouts, reference points, grades, and elevations to guide construction
  • Manage the repair, maintenance, and replacement of public and private infrastructure

Structural Engineers

Structural engineers work on physical structures as a subdiscipline of civil engineering. They provide technical advice to building contractors and architects to ensure that physical structures such as buildings, roads, tunnels and bridges are built with structural integrity that conform to set standards. The standards ensure compliance to withstand external stress and environmental variations.

The average salary for a structural engineer is $85,892 per year in the United States.

According to The U.S.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of civil engineering, where structural engineers work, should keep growing between 6% and 20% annually for the next decade.

Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They work to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control. They also address global issues, such as unsafe drinking water, climate change, and environmental sustainability.

Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, climate change, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, urban and regional planners, hazardous-waste technicians, and other engineers, as well as with specialists such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability.

The projected percent growth in employment for  2016 to 2026 is 8%.

Median pay for an environmental engineer is $84,890.

Urban Planner

Employment of urban and regional planners is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demographic, transportation, and environmental changes will drive employment growth for planners.

The median annual wage for urban and regional planners was $75,950 as of  May 2020.

Most urban and regional planners have a master’s degree from an accredited urban or regional planning program. In 2016, there were 71 programs accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) that offered a master’s degree in planning.

Urban and regional planners develop land use plans and programs that help create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas.

Urban and regional planners typically do the following:

  • Meet with public officials, developers, and the public regarding development plans and land use
  • Administer government plans or policies affecting land use
  • Gather and analyze data from market research, censuses, and economic and environmental studies
  • Conduct field investigations to analyze factors affecting community development and decline, including land use
  • Review site plans submitted by developers
  • Assess the feasibility of proposals and identify needed changes
  • Recommend whether proposals should be approved or denied
  • Present projects to communities, planning officials, and planning commissions

Managers

One of the fields with the most opportunity in both growth and median salary is  Architectural and Engineering Managers.

The field is projected to grow at 6% from 2020 - 2026.

The median pay for Architectural and Engineering Managers is a stunning $134,730.

Architectural and engineering managers typically do the following:

  • Make detailed plans for the development of new products and designs
  • Determine staff, training, and equipment needs
  • Propose budgets for projects and programs
  • Hire and supervise staff
  • Lead research and development projects to produce new products, processes, or designs
  • Check the technical accuracy of their staff’s work
  • Ensure the soundness of methods their staff uses
  • Coordinate work with other staff and managers

Architectural and engineering managers use the knowledge gained in architecture or engineering to oversee a variety of activities. They may direct and coordinate building activities at construction sites or activities related to production, operations, quality assurance, testing, or maintenance at manufacturing sites.

Architectural and engineering managers are responsible for developing the overall concept of a new product or for solving the technical problems that prevent the completion of a project. To accomplish this, they must determine technical goals and produce detailed plans.

In addition, architectural and engineering managers must know how to prepare budgets, hire staff, and supervise employees. They propose budgets for projects and programs and determine staff, training, and equipment needs. These managers must also hire people and assign them specific parts of each project to carry out. Architectural and engineering managers supervise the work of their employees, set schedules, and create administrative procedures.

Why DigiBuild?

DigiBuild is a blockchain-enabled construction project management platform. Our customers manage workflows such as procurement, budgets, schedules, contracts, and payments. DigiBuild allows for collaboration across 50+ disparate construction stakeholders – all on a single platform. 

We are the first to merge our construction management expertise with blockchain technology to create the world’s most revolutionary technology bringing risk management and visibility to your projects.

Through verifiable collaboration, we eliminate risk, disputes, save time and create a healthier and happier global construction industry.

Robert Salvador

About The Author

Rob Salvador is the visionary driving force behind DigiBuild, an experienced builder, project manager and construction technologist. Since the age of 10, Rob has witnessed what it was like, firsthand for his Dad struggling to run his construction company. He eventually started his own construction company and those experiences and the lack of change over that time span led to his mission of creating a better way to operate construction projects and the construction community. Rob’s passion and previous cryptocurrency startup experiences are what led to him becoming a blockchain expert. In 2017 he had his ‘aha moment’ and the idea of 'how to' apply blockchain to construction took form and DigiBuild was born.

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