i get this alot......" project engineer?....eh..what 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.