On the Design and Building Team

On the Design and Building Team

Construction is all about teamwork, and there are many different types of professionals who work together to make a project successful. Architects and engineers play critical roles—they get the project started. Architects work with structural engineers—they’re the ones who look at the supporting building elements—beam, columns, arches, trusses, shells, and the like—and make sure they’re put together correctly to satisfy the needs of the architect’s design. Other types of engineers are needed too, to design the systems that make a structure work—the electrical, mechanical, sanitary, telecommunications, lighting, and security systems. And then there are the various levels of construction-side managers—from general contractors to project and construction managers themselves—who make sure the project is being built according to the vision and requirements of the architects and engineers. Together, they all make it happen.
“No one person can build an entire project. It takes a team, and we all need each other. As project manager of the Otay project, a high-profile highway project on the California/Mexico border, we were able to build a close relationship with the owner through partnering and early planning. As a result, the job had zero loss-time injuries and came in on schedule.”
Francis Roldan
Project Engineer, Skanska Civil


Part artist, part scientist, architects create the overall look of a structure and produce the plans that are used to coordinate construction. They also make a structure functional and safe, and responsive to the needs of the people who will use it. Architects must know the properties of the materials they use in their buildings, and about how form and space and color work together. To help realize their vision, architects call on landscape architects, lighting designers and interior designers, and on engineers to develop a facility’s inner systems.


In construction, engineers design the systems that make a structure work—the structural, electrical, mechanical, sanitary, telecommunications, lighting and security systems. Civil engineers design public works like large buildings, roads, tunnels, transit systems, bridges, water distribution systems, dams,
sewage treatment plants, and flood protection facilities like seawalls and levees. Engineers use computers to create the detailed technical drawings and plans that show dimensions, explain procedures, and list materials.

Engineers In Collaboration

The entire construction process is a grand collaboration. Here’s how engineers do it.
“All types of engineers –structural, mechanical/electrical, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning), plumbing, acoustical, foundations—help architects refine their designs to be practical, buildable, and cost-effective. Should the columns be 35 feet apart? Engineers might recommend 25 feet—it may be easier and more economical. Where should the mechanical/electrical equipment go? What kind of boiler is best? And engineers weigh in with contractors too. How should major pieces of steel be lifted—by crane, or by workers? Should a movable crane be specially designed for the project? How much load can each part of a building take? How many floors should be shored up and supported before the contractor can build up additional stories. Engineers and contractors iron out the details in a series of ultra-specific shop drawings. Architects, engineers, contractors: they all work together towards a common goal—a safe, cost-effective building that’s both beautiful and useful.”
Richard Tomasetti, Chairman
Thornton Tomasetti Foundation
Here’s how engineering consultants, Thornton Tomasetti, develop engineering solutions for their clients.
“I like the collaborative and competitive nature of being on a pursuit team. Working together to collect information on the project, the owner and the community, and then using each of our specialties to bring together a compelling proposal that shows the client we have done our homework and studied the best ways to complete a project. I enjoy strategizing, storyboarding and working with not only many different Skanska employees, but our partners, subcontractors, and clients. While the goal is always to win the project, each pursuit teaches you something new, something that makes you better for the next time.”
Meagan Smyth
Proposal & Marketing Director, Skanska Civil

Supporting Cast

And if that wasn’t enough, there are many occupations that support the construction industry—attorneys, accountants, insurers, bankers, and marketing pros. In any of these fields you can specialize in construction issues, and play a big role in getting projects off the ground.

“When I was younger, I thought that having a career in
construction meant I’d be the one swinging the hammer and
I had to be outside physically building the project. But there
are also many essential jobs in the office, such as estimators, engineers, marketing and proposal coordinators, accountants, lawyers, and my favorite: Virtual Design and Construction Engineers and Managers.”

Patrick Rice
Senior VDC Manager, Skanska Civil

Fast Facts about Builders

Augmented reality is affecting construction—in winning more projects, improving safety and facilitating team interaction.

Women are increasingly joining the construction workforce, in skilled trades all the way to the executive suite.

From AI and advanced intelligent materials to drones and robotics, the construction industry is building better and more sustainably.

Skilled trades let you follow your passion in a specialized way.

Infrastructure builds big to move people and products.

There are many paths to construction and many ways to get there.

Construction is going green every which way, every day.

You can use your skills, make good money, and do something meaningful.

TAB Copyright © 2024 Those Amazing Professions Inc., All Rights Reserved