what is a site engineer?

As a site engineer, your input in managing construction projects is technical and supervisory. Your primary role is to oversee, supervise and coordinate the technical aspects of a project. That involves marking the site and ensuring the architectural designs are applied correctly. Your job on the construction site is to provide technical advice and ensure that quality standards are met.

Site engineers also do physical work, like levelling the site before infrastructure installation. While most of the duties are technical, a site engineer also performs administrative tasks. You check drawings and the accuracy of calculations. You also write reports and liaise with clients.

where do site engineers work?

The main employers of site engineers are building and construction companies. As a site engineer, you can work for a contractor or client directly. You also work for civil engineering companies, from local to multinational firms. You often deal with public sector organisations when you work on infrastructure projects. For instance, you work with water, gas, transport authorities and electrical supply companies.

Would working as a site engineer suit your numerical and analytical skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a site engineer role.

site engineer jobs

average salary of a site engineer

According to ONS, your mean salary is £43,156 per year. At an entry-level position, you are still a trainee with minimal transferrable skills, and your compensation package starts at £35,000 annually. Salaries for site engineers with relevant qualifications and experience range from £35,000 to £55,000 yearly. Senior-level site engineers take home over £75,000 per year.

how to increase the salary of a site engineer

As a site engineer, your compensation package varies based on the business sector you work in and your employer. When you work for the public sector, the projects usually have limited budgets, and you are likely to earn less. Site engineers in the private sector usually have better compensation prospects since they work for organisations with less limited resources.

The project's complexity and size also influence your earnings. When you work on large-scale infrastructure projects, the complexity of your role improves your salary prospects. Project complexity also requires additional experience and expertise, which attract higher salaries. The demand for site engineers also varies by location and affects the earnings in the region. Earnings are normally higher in London due to the high cost of living in the city.

male site engineer
male site engineer

types of site engineers

The types of site engineers depend on the projects completed, including:

  • building site engineers: as a building site engineer, you work in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. Your job is to review the designs and structural drawings. You also prepare the construction site for the project by levelling the foundations. You work alongside the site manager to supervise construction activities and ensure building safety.
  • transportation site engineers: you may also work on infrastructure projects and transportation systems as a transportation site engineer. That means you design road systems, bridges, railways and airports. You prepare the location for the installation of the transport systems.

working as a site engineer

Working as a site engineer requires extensive technical knowledge of infrastructure designs, site security and health and safety requirements. Let's explore the responsibilities, schedules, career prospects and work environments.


education and skills

Employers look for the following educational qualifications:

  • education: to become a site engineer, complete a degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) in an engineering or another construction-related discipline. A degree in building surveying, civil engineering, building engineering or structural engineering increases your chances of securing employment. If you want to progress to chartered status, acquire a degree accredited by The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) or the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
  • work experience: you require extensive experience to work as a site engineer. Work in lower positions and become a trainee technician before progressing to supervisory roles as you gain experience.

skills and competencies

 As a site engineer, the following skills enable you to excel in your role:

  • analytical thinking: as a site engineer, you ensure the infrastructure layout is structurally sound. You require analytical and logical thinking to find creative solutions to any issues. Analytical thinking also aids decision-making when determining the best locations for infrastructure installations.
  • attention to detail: you are expected to be detail-oriented to ensure the project meets expectations. You rely on your attentiveness to monitor every aspect of the construction process.
  • budgeting skills: you are responsible for using materials and resources on the construction site. Your job is to estimate the materials and labour that a project requires. Budgeting skills help you optimise costs and resources for a project.
  • management skills: as a site engineer, you supervise team members and manage the timeline of a project. Management skills help you delegate duties and assign tasks to relevant workers.
  • technical skills: site engineers require strong familiarity with the technical aspects of a project. They use sophisticated software programs like Autodesk and AutoCAD.
  • physical fitness: your job involves location inspections that may require climbing ladders, elevated lifts and being on your feet for hours. Being physically fit and agile is important to meet the job's demands.
site engineer in the office
site engineer in the office


FAQs about working as a site engineer

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