Civil Engineering

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Construction Engineer

Construction Engineer

Ivan Fernandez, HEB Construction

Earning: $65-80,000
In a nutshell: Helping manage construction projects to ensure they are safely completed according to specifications, on time and within budget.
Why? “Construction is very dynamic. I get to interact with a wide range of people from all sorts of backgrounds in order to collectively resolve construction challenges."

Pathway Hornby High School, Year 13: Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, ICT, English
University of Canterbury: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), majoring in Civil Engineering

With a childhood fascination for construction and big machinery such as diggers, cranes and concrete mixers, it’s no surprise that Ivan Fernandez has found himself involved in large infrastructure and commercial building projects.

“Back then I wanted to be a typical Bob the Builder,” he says. “At high school I realised that I had a talent for maths and physics. A bit of research showed me that I could use that talent as a civil engineer and still be involved in the construction industry.”

“I love my job because I get to interact with a wide range of very interesting people and I enjoy the challenge of resolving construction problems. I get a great sense of satisfaction in turning designs and ideas into reality.”

Ivan is currently a construction engineer on the Ferrymead Bridge Replacement project in Christchurch.  

“It's a really interesting and challenging project.  Although the design of the new bridge is complete, I still do a lot of intensive brainstorming sessions with the rest of the site team to come up with safer, more efficient and cost-effective methods of actually building it. An additional challenge for construction planning is working over tidal waters."

"There is a lot of maths and physics involved in my work such as ensuring loads to be lifted are within the working capacities of our cranes and designing various temporary works.  Every day is a different day with its own set of challenges.”

Ivan says that to be a construction engineer you need to have a strong interest in analysing how things work; the ability to get on with all sorts of people; good problem-solving, organisational and time management skills; and be able to identify and manage priorities in work that is constantly changing. 

"You need to be able to work well under pressure, enjoy being constantly challenged and be flexible, practical and decisive in making logical decisions, often on the spot."

And he says: “The sky is the limit to expressing your creative talent in construction.  There’s really no one right way of doing things but some ways are better, more efficient and cost-effective than the others.”

Updated September 2013