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Switch to Construction Industry - From Engineering?

Switch to Construction Industry - From Engineering?

Switch to Construction Industry - From Engineering?

I’ve worked as a structural engineer (commercial building design, predominantly for architects) for the last 3+ years. Something I’ve been tossing around is working another year, taking the P.E., and then moving to the construction industry, probably as a field project manager. The semi-long term plan would be to move on to the estimating/forecasting/overall project management aspect of the construction business, presumably spending most of the time in the office. The preliminary long term plan would be to start my own construction company.

Has anyone made a similar jump, from an engineering or possibly architecture background? Glad you did it? Insights? Regrets? Do it again?

-This is a repost from the structural engineering forum.  I thought it may get seen by a more appropriate audience here.

RE: Switch to Construction Industry - From Engineering?

I am in the same exact position even including your long-term goals. I'd love to hear some input on this matter.

I'm considering going right into estimating/project management directly.

To know every operation and to gather all the experience to become an excellent estimator, one would need at least 10+ years of field experience(i dont have that time)

To date Ive been a project engineer for 1 year and a field manager for 2 years. I'm considering going right into heavy civil estimating for a large contractor. I feel that estimating is probably the most important thing to understand for anyone who wants to own a construction business.

Project Engineer

RE: Switch to Construction Industry - From Engineering?

With all due respect and as someone who was in the construction industry right out of school why would you want to be in estimating?  That is perhaps the worst job of any contracting position I can think of.  Unless your actually managing the poor souls searching the books and working the list.

If you have experience as a technical (presumably proficient structural engineer) designer why not strive for a more relevant position of managing the technical construction aspects....there are many elements in the construction industry that require engineering input and the industry could really use some good designers.

My experience is that most designers follow what others have laid out before them and that is passed on from year to year and is rarely updated.  Design engineers from the office tend to be more up to date, more experienced in actual theory and are comfortable applying it to situations not readily available in a textbook.

I know that you long term goal is to have your business but estimating is pretty easy for a design engineer, just tedious.  When you get your own business you'll just hire estimators anyway.  And after a number of years you'll be able to get thumbnail estimates for projects based on sq ft anyway.

Since my first five years, I've been in a office in structural engineering ever since.  So obviously I'm biased but I would not go into estimating.

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