O P I N I O N
Croy Engineering team learing on construction site.
Y oung engineers and designers, often recently graduated from college, have so much of what design consulting firms are looking for – an eagerness to learn, an open mind for the new and unknown, and a willingness to try anything. Yet they’re lacking something that can’t be learned in a classroom: construction experience. Young (or less experienced) engineers and designers may lack construction experience. Fast track their learning with these approaches. Construction experience a plus
Years of design and field experience enables civil engineers to understand that what works on paper may not work in the field. Understanding how construction is accomplished helps engineers consider construction during design, aids in conversations with owners and contractors, and creates a better set of plans for a project that a contractor can have confidence in bidding tighter. But (except for perhaps a short-term co-op experience during college) most young engineers haven’t yet been able put in the time to understand how much space is required to actually install a manhole or what a contractor has to do to tie into an existing water main. Can young and less experienced design engineers, then, be fast- tracked to understand construction beyond their physical years of experience?
The “why” of this issue is worth noting. In the world of design, the contractor should be considered the client as much as the actual owner of the project, as the contractor’s ability to construct a design on budget with timeliness, effectiveness, and accuracy will play a major factor in whether or not the owner views the design experience as a success. So while there is no true substitute for actual time in the field spent observing and asking questions, there are a few approaches to increasing construction awareness for younger or less-experienced staff: ❚ ❚ Create an initiative and put someone in charge. Someone in your firm gets excited about construction. (It’s an engineering firm, so if no
See MATT HOYING, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER JULY 26, 2021, ISSUE 1401
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