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Structural designer vs site engineering

Structural designer vs site engineering

Structural designer vs site engineering

First of all I don't know if this is the right place to ask this question but I see this is the best forum to answer civil engineering/ structural questions on the web. If I'm wrong then please ignore this thread.

However I'm about to graduate I'm in my final semester and what I like in civil engineering is reinforced concrete design in particular. I have never tried working at a site yet. I like math and to design using softwares also I see that designing somehow requires knowledge and good education, unlike site engineering ( I think it's too basic job especially when you you have the plans of building already designed and printed out ).

On the other hand I don't like sitting much in offices and be a regular employee with little contact with other contractors and engineers, also I like the idea of managing projects as they are very prestigious, have high salaries and I like to boss some people ( jk :p ) also it prepares me more to be a self employed in the future and be the main contractor to deliver projects.

So, my question is what do you recommend ? I want answers from people with experience, the advantages and disadvantages of both of them in nearly all aspects.

btw I'm in the middle east if it changes anything

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

You need to learn how to follow,
before you can learn how to lead,
before you can begin trying to lead.

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

You need both... part of site engineering is having a good understanding of what is happening and why... with practice, you can see issues that 'just don't look right' and will likely make an odd type of error... I remember when I was a rookie and the contractor used plywood for a separation in the slab... I had no problem with that because the concrete would shrink away and the plywood could easily be extracted... I bet you that plywood is still there. I'll carry that to my grave...

I should have noted that the site experience definitely helps with design...


RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

For me, I started at an fairly small structural firm (6-7 employees). This allowed me to do the design, drafting and construction phase services (site reviews, shop drawing reviews etc.). This gave me some site type experience as well as the day to day office job.

Now I work at a quite large structural firm, only minor site work as we have a few employees that typically take care of the construction phase services. I enjoy the pure design side more than the site work (less reports!).

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

Start in the field. Learn how to build first. It will make you a better designer later.


RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

In that first job will be what I call "grunt work", doing the boring details that form the basis for producing designs. Your employer will be paying you more than you are worth, but that basic work is necessary to learn things they didn't tech in college. As time goes on you will revise the ideas of what you want to do later. Out in the "field" you may even be doing some work that technicians do, but it all counts toward getting experience. In the office it may be what a draftsman does.

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

Look for a job that requires you to do both. A desk engineer can't learn how to build, and a field engineer can't learn how to design.

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

The field work isn't that hard to figure out if you are already endowed with common sense. I put forth that you can get more useful, if not more clock time, field experience by designing multiple projects per year involving site visits than spending several years in the field on a limited number projects.

RE: Structural designer vs site engineering

It is always advantageous to have field experience whether one likes to be designer or not. Field experience gives you the opportunity to see the materialization from drawings and designs to a real solid structure. It also gives you better insight into the problems of practicality and makes you a better designer in incorporating practical and simplified designs.

Coming to the real question, a site engineer has obviously control on how to go about the job but he doesn't have any say in design aspects. Basically you will receive construction drawings and your job is to complete the job as per the drawings. And vice versa for designer. So the choice is upto you, career vice it is advantageous to have both experience in your CV. My recommendation is first be a site engineer.


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