Office Engineer Job Description
Office engineers act as the liaison between project managers, site engineers, and clients on construction projects, providing technical and administrative information to all parties involved in the project. This skilled position is perfect for individuals who possess technical knowledge but want to work inside an office in a more administrative function. The ability to seamlessly change hats and work with different audiences is essential to this role. Working hours can vary depending on the project schedule, but most office engineers work a typical five-day, eight-hour schedule. While office engineers work with all employees regardless of their position, they directly report to project managers.
Office Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
The office engineer’s duties and responsibilities can depend on the company and the type of construction project underway. However, there are a few core responsibilities that all office engineers can expect to perform:
An office engineer is responsible for the accurate processing of submittals in order to ensure the correct products and materials are installed throughout the project. Office engineers also manage the submittal log and coordinate submittal drawings with subcontractors. Submittals must be managed according to high industry standards.
Another key component of an office engineer’s responsibilities is ensuring the project is compliant in all ways. This involves verifying that contractors and all other contract work are compliant with the terms of the contract. The office engineer also makes sure that project work stays compliant with industry standards, specifications, building codes, and design instructions.
Keep Accurate Records
Office engineers keep accurate and detailed project records. They must also organize these records in a way that makes it easy for the project manager and other project members to access the appropriate documents.
Resolve Project Matters
Since office engineers are involved in all areas of the project, they need to be especially aware of emerging issues. In these instances, office engineers act as liaisons between project management, subcontractors, and site engineers to resolve problems before they stall the project’s progress.
Monitor the Budget
Although office engineers don’t actually manage or set the project budget, they are responsible for monitoring it to ensure the project is staying on track. This includes checking project plans and drawings to verify authenticity and accuracy. If there are any problems with the budget, the office engineer communicates those problems to project management in a timely manner.
Office Engineer Skills and Qualifications
Office engineers need to remember the big picture while focusing on the details in order to keep all aspects of the project moving at a good pace.Employers prefer a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of experience in construction projects of a similar nature, along with the following skills:
- Technical construction skills – office engineers need to be intimately familiar with all aspects of construction projects, including practical and technical construction skills. This includes being familiar with local building and construction codes
- Civil design – civil engineering projects require a lot of planning and design, and office engineers should be familiar with designing such projects
- Contract management – it’s the office engineer’s job to make sure contracts are followed and managed appropriately, so they should be familiar with contract language and organization
- Communication skills – since office engineers work with everyone on the project, they should be communication rock stars who can resolve conflicts quickly and efficiently
- Time management – office engineers need to effectively manage their time so they don’t cause holdups in the overall progress of the project
Tools of the Trade
Office engineers often use these tools in their day-to-day work:
- Computer-aided design software (AutoCAD, SkyCiv, OnShape)
- Construction trade software (Prolog, Bluebeam, Primavera)
- Microsoft Office (especially Excel and Word)
Office Engineer Education and Training
Most employers require candidates to have a civil engineering or construction management degree in order to qualify for the job, along with a current engineer license. Depending on the company’s location, office engineers may need to be licensed in several states. Some employers may require office engineers to have current security clearance or the ability to obtain security clearance.
Office Engineer Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office engineers earn a median annual salary of almost $84,000. Top-earning office managers can make more than $132,880 a year, while the bottom 10 percent make less than $53,470. Companies that employ office engineers typically offer comprehensive benefits packages with medical, vision, and dental insurance, life insurance, paid sick and vacation time, and 401(k) plans.
The BLS projects industry employment for office engineers to grow up to 11 percent through 2026, a faster than average rate. As U.S. infrastructure grows obsolete, more repair projects will need to be performed, which increases the need for office engineers. A growing population also plays into this positive growth rate.
If you’re ready to take a leap toward becoming an office engineer, take a look at these helpful resources. They can lead you in the right direction:
The American Society of Civil Engineers – ASCE’s mission is to “deliver value to [its] members, advance civil engineering, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare.” This organization publishes the world’s largest body of civil engineering content and acts as a source for industry codes and standards
The National Academy of Engineers – the NAE promotes and cultivates the engineering profession by gathering and publishing the expertise of engineering leaders around the world
Mechanics of Materials – written by Russell Hibbeler, a prolific author and professor, this textbook is full of colorful illustrations and a concise writing style that clearly explains civil engineering concepts for students and professionals alike
Structural Analysis – also written by Russell Hibbeler, this book is another incredibly helpful reference resource for working professionals. Readers enjoy the traditional approach to structural analysis, as it allows them to continue using the book in their professional lives