Role & Duties of a Civil Engineering Project Manager

Written by kristie sweet
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Role & Duties of a Civil Engineering Project Manager
Civil engineers help plan building projects such as bridges. (Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Many different kinds of employees work on a building project. Civil engineers help design buildings, roads, tunnels, water and sewer systems, airports and bridges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of the civil engineers employed in 2008 worked for architectural-type firms and about one-fourth were employed by governments, but civil engineers wear many hats.


Some of the duties of a civil engineer are similar to those of architects. Besides planning for the actual layout of the building project, civil engineers must also consider cost and safety considerations regarding the structure. The civil engineering project manager examines and considers proposals for work and subcontracts. They set up schedules for work deadlines connected with the project. They may also design and analyse equipment used in construction or work for cities to help design roads and other public utilities.

Project Management

The civil engineering project director's job involves organising various groups of people and meeting budgetary and time restrictions. Project managers establish staffing for all phases of the project, including hiring, assigning the work of other engineers and technicians and making sure the site has appropriate materials. Managers must be able to carefully read and follow contract requirements. Project managers also represent the company to clients, potential clients, industry peers and the public.

Education and Skills

Civil engineers nearly always need a minimum of a bachelor's degree. While a degree in math, science, architecture or environmental science may enable applicants to get jobs, a degree in engineering is most helpful. Position announcements typically call for a degree in civil engineering "or its equivalent" and may require registration as a civil or other engineer. The focus on design attracts people who are creative and pay good attention to detail. Being a project manager requires good people skills as well.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for civil engineers should grow faster than the national average through 2018 as the U.S. population increases. In 2008, civil engineers made an average of about £51,025. As of 2009, new hires in the industry with a bachelor's degree started at about £33,800 annually. Governmental and corporate employers often offer strong benefit packages and retirement plans.

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