Monday, March 17, 2008

what do i do?

i get this alot......" project engineer? exactly do you do ah?"

ok, maybe its just me. still, i am gonna describe my job anyway....

a construction project generally consists of 3 parties....1) client, 2) consultant, and 3) contractor.
the client finances the project, and pays all the relevant contractors. the consultant designs and dictate how the project is built, ie. if its a skyscraper, consultants will design the extent of the founding structure, how big the columns should be, how to transfer the wind load into the foundation, how utilities should be running, and many many things that a lay person wouldnt have thought about. contractor, contractors are the people that get things done. its that simple.

i am currently working on the controversial double tracking project (i am no amateur in controversial projects, my first job was building the foundation for KL Pavilion, and my second job was the construction of the KL-Putrajaya Highway, and my current team built the SMART Tunnel).

details about my project? imagine KTM Komuter being extended to the thai border. spans from ipoh to padang besar (the northern tip of malaysia), 80+ nos of bridges of all sizes, stations, halts, high-rise apartments, roads, offices, a viaduct across bukit merah lake, 3 tunnels, a giant swing bridge, etc etc...... every aspect of this project is in astronomical figures, cost of project is rm12,500,000,000 . millions of cubic meter of earth will be excavated, millions more will be used to fill up the embankment, 38 engineering consultants will be engaged, unprecedented in any projects in malaysia, thousands of sub-contractors will be hired.......

the downside of this project is that thousands of people taking residence alongside the existing track will be displaced. environmental impact will be vast.

to further breakdown the operating structure of a main-contractor, you have the office team, and you have the site team. the office team runs the planning, documentation, compiles reports, makes claims, deals with the client(s) & authorities. whilst the site team runs the operation on site, managing resources, site planning, and all the dirty works.

sheon manages the flow of information. bringing the issues into the board room from the site, and subsequently relaying the information and decisions to be implemented to site. sheon has the authority to call for meetings (sometimes chairs them as well) between consultants and contractors, sheon has the authority to screen through progress claims from subcontractors for discrepencies, sheon has the responsibility to assure the clients that construction is carried out as per design. sheon shares part of the burden of making sure project does not burst the budget or finish behind schedule. so as you can see, my job scope is akin to that of a assistant manager. in construction, you dont get managerial positions young.

no easy job. my current jurisdiction is over the stretch from sungai petani to alor star. target for this section is rm200million by july 2008. now its not even close to rm20million!!!

so there you have it. thats what i do for a living. life is somewhat easier now compared to then, when its almost routine that i clock in 14-16 working hours per day, and work 6 1/2 days a week.


Aronil said...

ooooh so that is what u do.. hmm then what happens to the environment? do u also provide ways that can may be not so detrimental?

sheon said...

:) we have our environmental division. they will liaise with the relevant authorities and environmental consultants to come up with ways to reduce and control our environmental footprint.

Simon Seow said...

Then you're making big bucks la. Envy.

sheon said...

my bosses are....not me. my only chance of making big bucks in through ESOS (employee share option scheme).. however if you havent noticed, our share market is like drowning in shit-laced piss. sorry...but i'm frustrated with the market...:P

michellesy said...

All ye gods and little fishes, the hours are a killer 0___0

Remind me NOT to tell my little cousins to go for project engineering.

Damn kesian wei - do you run on adrenaline instead of sleep? -____-

sheon said...

michellesy: when you have passion for what you do, you'd be enjoying every minute of it. right? i love my job. i knew i would love my job since i was a kid. :), nope, i dun run on adrenaline, but i run on passion and the love for my job!

despite the hectic schedule and burdens of all sorts, i personally find satisfaction in it. and the reward of seeing what you initially planned to build, materializes and comes to life...i tell priceless. isnt kl pavilion magnificent?....imagine the pride and syiokness inside me knowing that the very grand and pompous kl pavilion...bears my prints?
construction is a pretty rewarding career. the salary scale at the early stages of your career will not be some figure that would afford you fine dining every weekend. but as you rake in experience and build your reputation to be an accomplished professional, money will roll in... big time. senior managers in a big firm would secure a monthly salary as high as 30-40k, handsome allowances, fat bonuses, project incentives, and generous amount of shares option.

project engineer is just a position. there are 2 different routes for a civil engineer, one is design work 9-5, almost like any other desk job. the second one is actual construction on-site aka contractor. project engineer is the route through contractor, and is akin to a assistant project/construction manager. we help manage a project, rather than just being 100% technical.

:) did i change your view in a career as a project engineer?

michellesy said...

LOL - I think my answer would have to be 'yes', in response to such a fervent and well-thought-out response!

You seriously are on fire ok, you're that passionate about your job - which is a fine thing really.

How many people leap out of bed in the mornings and head out of the door with a spring in their step because they're GOING TO WORK?

Not many, I'd say. I'd hate to say 'not me either', but since I'm not an accomplished liar, I'm just going to leave it at 'no comment' =P

In my humble opinion, I think I'd find the management side of project engineering pretty darned exciting. But then I'm a control freak wtf - not so good when a million things can go wrong simultaneously on a project the scale of a construction site.

As for the design side of things, I SUCK at translating things from 2-D to 3-D and vice versa, how sad is that? T____T I even find origami daunting ok. My map-reading damn fail. Sculpture pun gagal -______-

But to be able to say you had a part in building something, and a concrete something at that, is wonderful. We all try to do it to a certain extent, by attempting to leave a little bit of yourself behind after you're gone, but hardly on your scale. Can you tell I am damn envious? =)

ps: I apologise in advance, because I haven't seen the new Pavilion, in truth. I've been stuck in The Land of Oz for the last little while and have been jakun-ified in the process =( You'll pardon this oversight yes? I promise to see your new baby when I go home next for holidays.

But the buzz about it is incredible (esp coming from Malaysians, where shopping is a national pastime and shopping centers their home away from home)and the photos hardly do it justice, I think.

It looks very classy and very beautiful - it's apparent that a lot of thought has been put into every aspect of the building. Nothing worse than crummy finishes on what purports to be bigger and better than the rest *cough*TimesSquare*cough* XD

michellesy, blog commentbox spammer said...


Sorrrrrrreeeeeeeee. I got carried away T_________________T