Sunday, May 22, 2022

The TRUTH: Construction Engineering and Construction Management Career | Expectations vs Reality

Hello everyone my name is keenan and welcome to my youtube channel are you sitting out there in the world seeing all these construction projects go up around you all these people with hard hats and vests and thinking hmm i wonder what their expectations for their job was and what the actual reality of it is .

Well you're in luck because today we're going to be talking about construction engineering or construction management expectations versus reality hopefully this will help anybody that's majoring in some sort of civil engineering or construction management or help you get a little bit more prepared when you start your job in the .

Construction industry and this is just my perspective a guy that's been working for a multi-billion dollar contractor here in hawaii in the building industry and if you really love construction don't forget to hit that like button and subscribe so you don't miss any more videos like this so an expectation that i'm sure a lot of people have going into .

Construction is that you will use a lot of what you learned in school in the field at least from my perspective getting my civil engineering degree paying all that money and you know you go through those thoughts like you know i paid all this money for all these books in school i should probably .

Keep them in the event that i'll use them in my job nope now am i saying that my education in college was not worth it it was a waste of my time and i don't use any of it not really what i am saying for the basic things that i use for my job from an engineering perspective .

It's basic trig and the really complicated function of adding and subtracting fractional inches and if you don't live in the united states you don't even need to do the last one because you're working as a general contractor you're not really doing a lot of engineering design .

That's done by like a structural design engineer but having an engineering background can allow you to understand what the structural engineer is doing in their design and maybe if something goes wrong in the field you can propose a better solution that makes more sense and i can't speak to the amount of .

Knowledge that comes out of like getting a construction management degree but i do know that a lot of the means and methods that occur in construction are company based in other words the way that one company does things may not be the same as another company so though you'll have some basic knowledge and things like that you're .

Really going to have to go through the learning curve or the company's resources anyway so i think in general the amount of knowledge that you're really going to have to retain from the time that you were in school is probably something like maybe 20 and even if you don't retain 20 .

If you're at zero you can learn everything you need to know on the job in my opinion construction is like 30 technical 70 effort so of course the more that you do retain from college the better it'll help you out all i'm saying is don't stress yourself out if you don't even remember what .

Happened last semester and another thing to keep in mind there are construction project engineers in the industry that don't even have a construction management or engineering degree so just keep that in mind and expectation number two the bigger the project the better it'll be for your career .

This may not necessarily be true size doesn't always matter so there's two sides to this yes the bigger projects in the company get a lot more exposure so if the project does well the team gets kind of glorified and there's a lot more district and corporate management that looks at the job .

And when you're on a bigger job you'll have a bigger team so you have a bigger support group that allows you to kind of shore each other up if there's any shortcomings when you're on a bigger team you'll be a lot more focused in what you're in charge of so when you first start out your one responsibility on a really big job may just be to .

Quality control rebar you'll have a rebar engineer you'll have a concrete engineer you'll have a steel engineer depending on how big the budget is for the job you may have one engineer per scope so you'll become an expert in that one field when you're on a large job however and this is where i say this may .

Not necessarily be the best thing for your career these larger jobs will take multiple years and you'll spend a lot of time perfecting this one thing but buildings are made of so many different things not just rebar not just concrete not just cabinets .

Everything needs to come together and that's why if you're on too many large jobs you don't get to see the whole breadth of the building come together because you're so hyper focused in certain areas you become an expert at only a few things and all of that is tied up over multiple years whereas if you're on a smaller job .

With a smaller team you're going to have to be in charge of more scopes and when you handle more scopes and you see how all of them affect each other and how you need to sequence them you become a better engineer and therefore project manager construction manager and i think that is really the key to construction .

Is understanding how all the different pieces come together so yes you might not get the huge publicity for being on a smaller job but what the actual experience that you get and what you're going to walk away from the job to me will be a lot more valuable than somebody that just spent a few years just focusing on one thing and probably .

The worst scenario that you can be in is if you're on a long big job doing one thing and then you get so good at it that you get pigeonholed so then they send you on another big job where you're doing the exact same thing and that's what you don't want for your career whereas if you do a smaller job where you're exposed to a lot of .

Different things maybe you might even turn over a few jobs in the time that one person's working on one full job so bigger is not always better it's how you apply the experience so expectation number three construction's hard and it is it's hard honestly construction is not .

For the faint of heart and that may sound a little dramatic but i'm just trying to be real with you here if you think you're going to walk into the world of big general contracting and you're going to be able to work a 40-hour week everything's going to be fine it's going to be stress-free you're wrong construction has tight .

Schedules tight budgets and there's a lot of hours that are required to execute the job the industry is trying to move in a direction to trying to promote work-life balance so it's a little better than what i heard it used to be back in the day but it still requires a lot and i'll always keep saying this .

Construction is an experience based industry if you want to succeed you need to spend the time to get that experience and a lot of times what that leads to is that people spend a lot of hours at work trying to get that experience and that may lead to maybe strange relationships in your life and maybe .

This is just a hawaii thing but i see a lot of old-timers out there that are maybe on their like third or fourth marriage it's just that all the hours that you spend at work is not conducive to like a family lifestyle if you think you're gonna be home by three o'clock so that you can play with your kids and maybe .

Coach your kids at soccer practice things like that probably won't happen if you're in construction and you're dealing with a lot of different types of people you're dealing with the workforce you're dealing with your own internal team you're dealing with the architect you're dealing with designers that's a lot of .

Personalities that you're going to have to juggle and they all have different expectations of you different wishes and if all of them for whatever reasons are really bad to you it can kind of suck so so i don't want to scare anyone i think the construction industry is a .

Fantastic industry to be a part of but if you're coming here for the money or you think that it's just going to be easy on a walk in the park you're going to be met with some disappointment so expectation number four you're first starting out so you'll be at the bottom of the totem pole .

So you'll be able to have time to kind of feel things out and you won't really have a say in a lot of things so i think in some circumstances yes but for me the majority of my time no even though i was just starting out i was thrown into the fire multiple times and for me i kind of have the personality to deal with that i try to .

Embrace any challenge and try to turn it into some sort of positive for myself but for the vast majority of people i think it can be very unsettling to have the amount of responsibility that is sometimes put on you when you first start out and a lot of times this happens when you have a high stress job or you have .

People that are kind of unqualified above you that are just leaning on you to help them out so i'll give you an example so when i first started out of my career i had a really good superintendent that knew a lot about the job he knew a lot about construction he's been around a long time .

So he kind of took me under his wing and taught me some stuff along the way so nothing that i told him there was no new information that would surprise him so it was good because i got to learn and there was no real risk to the job because somebody had already done the research prior however what i'm finding nowadays is .

That is a diamond in the rough situation it is more often there's going to be a lot of responsibility put on the new engineers plate and the expectation and the hope is that you just go and run with it so for example there was a lobby area down below one of the buildings i was doing that needed to get done in a few .

Months and this included making like a little floating platform with a stairway and this big water feature pouring some pavement pouring a retaining wall and all kinds of sidewalks and things like that so usually or the way that i was brought up is that the engineer will help the superintendent execute the plan .

The superintendent will figure out how many men he needs for the job to get it done the superintendent will order the concrete make sure the work is sequenced schedule it and the field engineer just assists the person along the way my job was to do all of that so i had to .

Schedule with my sub trades i had to order the concrete i had to know all the rebar details i needed to make all the drawings for the guys things like that and trust me it was not easy but it came out of that experience knowing so much more and here's what i want you guys to .

Take away from this experience there's two different ways of learning you can learn through mentorship when you have somebody that's very qualified and capable but you can also learn by for lack of a better word suffering each way as a way of learning may not necessarily be good or bad so i would say that if you're in the .

Construction industry you have to take both as good if you focus too much that you're suffering to learn it's going to be tough for you to stay in the industry and call me delusional but i always saw those as more of opportunities for me to grow i think that's the best way to jump .

Start your career to just jump in there try to help and don't really just cower in the corner and think that you can't do it because you're new get after it so expectation number five and this is a thought that has maybe crossed my mind a little bit is that the higher you move up the less .

Ridiculousness that you'll have to deal with so it's kind of like some people have that idea i don't really like this work now but maybe later on it'll be a little bit better i'll give you some examples when you're first starting out as an engineer you'll probably interface a lot with the field .

Workers and people mostly at your level and sometimes you deal with problems like for example one of our construction workers decided it would be a great idea since he had no toilet paper to use his shirt sleeve to flush it down the toilet switch when you're building a tower clogs a .

Temporary toilet line and it makes things difficult for a lot of people so we went around the job site trying to find the guy with only one short sleeve on so then you think oh you know when i move up i won't have to deal with these kinds of things you still will have to deal with ridiculousness it's just on a different .

Level so this you start to realize it's difficult people at every single level and that's quite frankly just part of life my best advice is to focus on the work and make sure that all your decisions are for the betterment of the project and you're going to have to learn to .

Work with people so there was a project i was working on that the job needed to turn over needed to work through the night in order to make the turnover date so i thought of the goodness of my heart even though i was the exterior concrete guy i would help out the inside guys and then come to find out also the inside .

Guys went home but that's besides the point so i was there kind of out of my element just trying to help the situation so because this was kind of a higher profile job one of the bigger bosses was actually on site and he tasked me with working with one of the developers to try to make sure that all the doors .

And all the units were locked up because keep in mind this developer also decided that day that day usually you make the decisions like months before but that day they want to switch out all the construction keys and turn over the keys to the owners of the units so we're cleaning .

Trying to turn over the units and also swapping out all these keys at the same time so i go to this guy okay okay and again keep in mind out of my element i have not really done anything on the inside of the building the whole project and i tell them i say okay sir okay what's your game plan i .

Know your guys are following behind us how do you want to communicate this and and how do you want to like sign off each floor and this guy tells me shouldn't you know isn't that your job that was just like you little but at that time bottom of the totem pole .

You got to keep your cool and then later on that exact same day exact same day an exact same developer go down to the bottom i'm i see all the guys out there all the workers scrambling to finish this amenity there so i said okay i'll pick up a broom i'll start sweeping so i'm there i'm sweeping sweeping and .

This is three in the morning now i've been working since 6am the day before so i'm sweeping sweeping and actually so my girlfriend at the time called me because she was in the mainland so they're a few hours ahead of us so she was just waking up .

So she calls me while i'm sweeping so i'm there sweeping and on the phone at the same time 3 30 in the morning and as one of the developer girls walks by looks at me and says well that's productive and i'm just like what what so so quite frankly i would have rather dealt with the guy that flushed his shirt .

Sleeve down the toilet because at least that situation was kind of hilarious but as you can see those people were considered technically like the top so again construction in reality is a people business there's just some things that just go on and you just have to deal with it and quite honestly if you're going to any .

Sort of business it's going to be the same thing you're going to need to learn to deal with people well those are my expectations versus reality quite frankly there's a lot that i really want to do on this so i may even make a part two to this video or if you have any questions for me or you want to .

React to any of your expectations that you have for the industry be sure to comment them below and maybe i'll add them to one of my videos i really appreciate the support it's been so surreal to me to see people reaching out to me from all different parts of the world and it just means so much that there's a .

Lot of people out there that are passionate about construction so as always don't forget to hit that like button and subscribe and hit the notification bell so you don't miss any more videos from me and you can join our growing family here on youtube thank you so much for watching i really .

Appreciate your time and i'll see you on the next one and merry christmas

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