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Can Industrial Engineers Work In Construction (Guide)

The field of industrial engineering has grown in leaps and bounds over the last two decades, propelled by the need to adapt to modern industry demands.

It now offers more employment possibilities than any other engineering discipline. 

This post seeks to find out whether industrial engineers can work in the construction industry.

Can Industrial Engineers Work in Construction? 

Industrial engineers can work on construction projects. However, they have to work in close collaboration with civil and electrical engineers who are better equipped for construction jobs. 

They aren’t much involved in the actual brick-and-mortar laying jobs, but mostly in design and advisory roles. In particular, industrial engineers are concerned with making the integration of man, materials, and machines as smooth and efficient as possible.

As the complexity and scale of construction projects keep getting bigger, many investors (and even governments) are constantly looking for ways to reduce wastage and streamline involved processes. And that’s exactly what industrial engineers are good at.

Depending on the nature of the project in question, industrial engineers may come in handy when it comes to the floor and structural design. 

As such, it’s quite common for factories and institutions such as hospitals to hire industrial engineers for advice on how to efficiently use their floor spaces. 

They also offer valuable input on the necessary improvements on structural strength to fit the end-user goals.

Last but not least, plenty of large-scale companies hire industrial engineers for input on the process-related aspects of their projects. These include work scheduling, safety standards, and machine operations. 

Notably, industrial engineers looking to work in construction need to learn key concepts such as fundamentals of structural design, project cost calculations, and construction regulations. 

What Do You Need to Work in Construction?

Landing a well-paying construction job requires a fair bit of experience, skill, and certifications. To put it simply, construction jobs are the easiest type of jobs to get.

Most employers don’t mind training new hires during the course of their jobs. The training may include basic things like safety practices, how to use equipment, and woodwork.

There are, however, certain jobs that require some skill, and sometimes even professional registrations. These include electrical wiring, plumbing, structural engineering, building plan design, and welding.  

Who Is An Industrial Engineer?

Industrial engineers are involved in designing and managing different business processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. 

Basically, they’re hired to eliminate wastefulness in the product development and production processes. 

So, unlike other engineering disciplines that mainly focus on imparting technical skills, industrial engineering combines engineering concepts with business knowledge. 

The average industrial engineer is thus as knowledgeable in logistics, supply chain management as they are about systems theory, advanced mathematics, and computation.

Can an Industrial Engineer Build Houses?

Industrial engineers aren’t trained for building houses. Civil engineers are involved in designing and “building” houses and have very different skillsets from industrial engineers.

Basically, civil engineers are adept at designing actual structures while industrial engineers are primarily trained on process design and improvement. 

Essentially, nothing prevents industrial engineers from working on house construction projects. They are, in fact, very helpful in reducing the costs and delays of such projects, which explains why construction companies keep hiring them. 

Similarities Between Industrial Engineers and Civil Engineers

Much of the article focuses on the fundamental differences between industrial engineers and civil engineers in the context of the construction industry.

However, the two disciplines are quite complimentary and many times, the respective engineers work together.

For instance, both types of engineers work to solve a variety of complex problems using both mathematical and logical knowledge.

Secondly, they’re equally involved in the development of safety standards for buildings 

What Kind of Jobs Can an Industrial Engineer Do?

Industrial engineers can work on a variety of jobs in different industries, from healthcare to airlines and even finance.

More specifically, industrial engineers are eligible to work as:

Safety Engineers

With occupational health and safety becoming increasingly important, it’s commonplace for safety engineers to have industrial engineering backgrounds.

Their responsibilities include the development of safety policies and testing and maintaining product safety.

Quality Control Officers

Quality control and validation typically involve using process control and testing techniques to maintain product quality.

No one knows more about statistical process control than industrial engineers.

Research Analysts

Industrial engineers can be hired as analysts in R&D departments to help in identifying and investigating operational problems and developing solutions.

With their deep knowledge of analytical methods, industrial engineers are better suited for such roles. 

Supply Chain Analysts

In large businesses with complex supply chains, industrial engineers can fit the role of supply chain analysts.

Such jobs entail business and market analysis, financial modeling, efficient process control, and negotiations with suppliers, all of which industrial engineers learn in college.

Learn more: Where Can Telecommunication Engineer Work?

What Kind of Engineers Work in Construction?

Generally, most construction projects are handled by civil engineers. However, some projects may be too complex for civil engineers to build on their own. 

In such cases, other types of engineers, such as industrial and nuclear engineers, may also be involved. 

There are different types of civil engineers who are equipped to handle the numerous aspects of construction work. They include:

  • Construction and management engineers.
  • Geotechnical engineers.
  • Structural engineers.
  • Water engineers.
  • Transport engineers.

Also Read: Do civil engineering students need laptops?

What Do You Call an Engineer that Builds Houses?

In informal settings, all engineers involved in constructing houses simply go by the name building engineers. 

There are many types of engineers involved in building houses and even though the key people are the civil engineers, they hardly work on their own. 

Engineers from other fields such as electrical, mechanical, and even industrial, also specialize in construction work and play important roles.

Final Thoughts

Industrial engineering is arguably the widest field of engineering as it can be applied in pretty much all economic sectors. 

With the construction industry experiencing a long-term boom, there’s no doubt that most industrial engineers will be looking to work in the sector.