BCA-Building Careers - Build Knowledge and Jobs

Civil and Structural Engineer

Civil and structural engineers are responsible for the elements of a construction in projects such as building bridges, expressways, high-rise buildings and more. They are involved in the design, evaluation, inspection and maintenance of the structure in its natural environment.

A day in the life of a Civil & Structural Engineer…

A Civil and Structural Engineer

Lee Yee Seng, KTP Consultants

Success stories

Read about the motivations, inspirations and achievements of one of Singapore’s civil or structural engineers.

Siang-Weng.jpg

To Siang Weng, the best part of his job as a Site Engineer is that the work he performs is never predictable. He says: “Every day I will face a new challenge, and also the ultimate sense of satisfaction when we complete the project.”

The BCA-Woh Hup Built Environment Undergraduate Scholarship holder pursued a degree in Civil Engineering at the National University of Singapore, largely due to his interest in mechanics and physics, and for the prospects the engineering profession offers. However, it wasn’t until his second year, when he was interning at the Land Transport Authority, that he realised exactly what he wanted to do.

Pursuing his calling

“Joining the built environment sector is the path I wanted to take, as it offers a challenging career path that will push me to fulfil my potential, and is also one that can provide me with a strong sense of satisfaction at the end of the day”, he shares.

To him, the BCA-Woh Hup Built Environment Undergraduate Scholarship provided him with many valuable opportunities, including the chance to learn from his supervisor, a Construction Manager from whom he learnt the tricks of the trade.

After his graduation and upon joining his company, he had the opportunity to be part of the iconic The Interlace project, one of the largest residential developments in Singapore. He felt that The Interlace was a very challenging project, in terms of engineering design, construction volume and work sequencing, due to the interlacing geometry of the superstructure. As a result, added emphasis was placed on the need to work closely with other departments to ensure the work proceeded smoothly.

It was in the nature of those works that he learnt the importance of having good teamwork and planning in the project team, and how important it is to look at the big picture and work with his colleagues towards the common goal of finishing the project in time, while delivering their project targets to the best of their abilities.

Changing the way we build

Siang Weng believes the future of the built environment sector holds many exciting opportunities for him as a Civil Engineer. Land scarcity in Singapore calls for the need to build taller and deeper, as well as outwards by way of reclamation. Civil Engineers will play a critical role in realising the unlimited possibilities through engineering ingenuities.

The shift towards adopting productive and innovative construction methods, such as the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction (PPVC), will also significantly change the ways engineers design and manage construction.

Creating legacies

One project that he is most impressed by is the T30 hotel in Hunan, China. The 30-storey hotel project was built, from ground to completion, within a short duration of just 15 days.

“The incredibly short construction duration was a result of careful planning, as well as the use of innovative construction methods. This is something I hope to be able to replicate in Singapore, while still being able to uphold the structural integrity and quality of works delivered”, he says.

Speaking about his future goal, he adds: “I want to continue to pursue my passion, and stamp my mark in the built environment sector, delivering greater engineering feats which will stand tall for many generations to see. This is the privilege of the civil engineering profession.”

Ask Colin Tan, Senior Project Manager with Tiong Seng Contractors, what he does for a living and he’ll tell you he just has a great time. That doesn’t mean to say that Colin doesn’t work. It's just that he enjoys it that much that he doesn’t see it as work!

So what makes being a civil engineer so enjoyable? For Colin, it’s the thrill of seeing the process evolve from designs on paper to the finished structure, and the challenge of pioneering new methods and processes to improve work on-site.

One project Colin is particularly proud of is the Parc Emily Condominium. “I was involved in this eco-friendly project for the past three years and had to incorporate a lot of interesting concepts,” Colin enthuses. One such project was the installation of a prefab toilet. All features from toilet works, ceiling works, shower screens, cabinets and mirrors were done off site, and the entire unit was put together and brought, completed, to the site for installation.

The construction industry is moving towards the adoption of more eco-friendly work practices and Colin is an avid supporter. “Over the years, we have progressed to using green dry wall processes for a cleaner working environment and as a way to save water,” Colin says. “In addition, for all our projects, we have a filtration system where we collect rain water for construction use and as a way to manage silt drainage.”

Though the work can be challenging at times, Colin takes it in his stride. At home, he fusses over another great love – his dog Dinky, as a way to relief his stress. Weekends are often spent with wife and Dinky at parks and beaches.

Colin urges any student considering engineering to follow the career path towards civil engineering. “There are plenty of prospects for good engineers, especially if you look out for new technology. Love your work and you will enjoy it.”

Job scope

Some responsibilities a Civil and Structural Engineer has include:

  • Designing and construction of high-rise buildings, industrial complexes, large- scale infrastructure projects like bridges, expressways etc
  • Implementing maintenance strategies for existing structures
  • Managing and planning of development projects
  • Collecting data and cost estimates

Qualities

Here are some qualities that a Civil and Structural Engineer should have:

  • Logical thinking and analytical skills
  • Enjoy problem solving
  • Aptitude in math and science
  • Has passion in mega structures

SALARY GUIDE FOR
POLYTECHNIC GRADUATES

The salaries below serve as a guide for graduates in Civil & Environmental Engineering; Civil & Structural Engineering

Median monthly gross starting salary

Fresh graduates

$2,100
 

SALARY GUIDE FOR 
UNIVERSITY GRADUATES

The salaries below serve as a guide for graduates in Civil Engineering

Median monthly gross starting salary

Fresh graduates

$3,200
 
Source: MOM report on wages in Singapore, 2015, and other sources.

Median monthly gross starting salaries includes basic wage, overtime pay, commissions and allowances. Bonuses are excluded.

Education route

Your education roadmap to becoming a professional civil and structural engineer:

* The above chart is intended as a guide for general reference only.