From the falling scrapes of construction to the natural pot holes forming in our streets, the Bureau of Engineering is one of the departments within city government that is protecting society.
Roles of the Bureau of Engineering
Project engineers, excavators, architects, land developers, and property owners make multiple trips to the Public Counter at the City of Los Angeles, Department of Pubic Works, Bureau of Engineering, where permits may be issued for construction in the public right-of way. Some of these permits include sewer reconnections, street use consents, and system clearances that have been assigned by the Building and Safety Department. Without specific authorizations, owners may be cited for illegal constructions on city grounds.
City Engineers incorporate academic background with knowledge of city standards to enforce the public’s safety before, during, and after every construction.
Engineering is More Than Just Numbers
Within the past eight months of my internship with the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, I have discovered a different side of Civil Engineering that most are not aware of. Instead of calculating forces of beams, stability of retaining walls, or designing structures, the Civil Engineer Associates of the City of Los Angeles are required to speak professionally to customers and explain the rules and regulations required for all constructions within the pubic right-of-way.
City employees are challenged with new situations for every permit issued because every construction is different. Any unexpected situation that may injure the public must be considered such as sewer line back-ups and failure of retaining walls.
Scams, Scandals, and Frauds
In addition to implementing knowledge to projects, some customers do not explain their edifices or do not present actual plans to obtain permits… illegally. The reason for their actions is that they do realize that the proposed assemblies do not abide with the City of Los Angeles, which could lead to injuries from the pubic or law suits with the Department of Public Works, but are required for completion of a development. Fortunately for well-trained City Engineer Associates, they are able to cease these acts to prevent harm to the pubic. Also, they prevent another huge increase in city taxes as the city government will face fewer law suits.
Qualifications and Benefits with the Bureau
To become a City Engineer, the qualifications are similar to those required to work with a private firm. City Engineer Associates are encouraged to graduate from a four-year university and are required to pass the Engineer-In-Training Examination. In order to be promoted as the City Civil Engineer, the employee must have been promoted to the Civil Engineer Associates III position and have obtained the Professional Engineer License by passing another examination. It is also important to have years of work experience in the city so that there already exists a strong background knowledge to city standards and regulations.
Working with the city government provides many benefits such as paid vacation and sick days, high salaries, insurance coverage, periodic raises, and strict work schedule (I never see anyone on over-time!).
Being a part of the Bureau of Engineering as a Civil Engineer Intern has not only gave me the benefit to obtain knowledge related to the public right-of-way, but it has also gave me knowledge that private industries desire. Because more construction are growing outside of private property, it is essential that private engineering firms understand the standards and regulations implied by the city government, and with the knowledge I have obtained from my internship, I am able to provide that asset to their team.
For any Civil Engineering student, I recommend spending a few months with the city government as it leads to many opportunities in the future.