United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer
How to Apply
Announcement No: CON-2013-0001
Position Title: Construction Engineer
Open Period: December 5, 2012 - January 2, 2013
Salary: $53,003 to $77,837
Promotion Potential: FP-MC
Duty Locations: MANY vacancies Throughout the World, WW
For more information, Contact: HR/REE, 202-203-5160 CONVacancyInfo@state.gov
Who May Apply:
All potential applicants are strongly urged to read this entire Vacancy Announcement to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for this position before applying.
Applicants must be American Citizens and at least 20 years old to apply. They must be at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law, all career candidates must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60.
Applicants are not eligible to reapply until one year after the application date of prior announcements, provided there is a new open Vacancy Announcement at that time.
The Department of State is developing a rank-order list of eligible hires to fill a limited number of Foreign Service Construction Engineer vacancies. The specific number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.
Grade and Starting Salary Range: FP-04, $53,003 - $77,837
A Foreign Service Construction Engineer (FSCE) is an engineer, architect, or construction manager in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations working specifically in the Office of Construction Management, responsible for monitoring contractor work on Department of State construction projects overseas. The FSCE is a member of a U.S. Government team which ensures that construction work is professionally performed according to applicable plans, specifications, schedules and standards. The FSCE must adhere to the highest standards of integrity, dependability, attention to detail, teamwork and cooperation, while accepting the need to travel, to live overseas, and when necessary, to live away from family.
Many overseas posts are in countries where harsh climates, health hazards, and other discomforts are prevalent and where American-style amenities frequently are unavailable. Personal security frequently becomes an area of concern, particularly in countries where there is political unrest or terrorist activity. For this reason, family members are not permitted to accompany the FSCEs on assignments to a number of overseas posts. However, careers in the Foreign Service offer special rewards, including the pride and satisfaction of representing the United States and advancing U.S. interests abroad.
The Foreign Service strives for diversity to show the best face of America abroad. Diversity is one of America's greatest strengths. In representing the United States to the world, the Foreign Service aims to reflect and respect our rich heritage and varied backgrounds in its workforce.
All applicants, in order to be considered for selection, must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Be at least 20 years old to apply and at least 21 years of age to be appointed. By law (Foreign Service Act of 1980), all career candidates (except for preference-eligible veterans) must be appointed to the Foreign Service prior to the month in which they reach age 60.
- Be available for worldwide service.
- Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Be able to obtain an appropriate medical clearance for Foreign Service work.
- Be able to obtain a Suitability Clearance, based on a review of the candidate's record for conduct in accordance with suitability standards defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more details see http://careers.state.gov/specialist/selection-process or http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/regs/fam.
The following are typical duties, performed at various grade levels, in the course of a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer.
In Overseas Assignments:
- Performs quality assurance tasks, including approving quality programs, hiring and managing quality assurance staff, ensuring contractor’s work is properly inspected, selecting laboratories for testing, ensuring corrective actions take place, ensuring trades are certified, ensuring materials meet contract specifications, accepting contractor submittals, and resolving conflicts.
- Performs financial control tasks, including approving progress payment requests, preparing estimates, evaluating changes in costs, evaluating contractors’ claims, establishing procedures for petty cash, controlling costs, and monitoring schedu.
- Performs safety tasks, including approving project safety programs, monitoring safety, ensuring safety training and equipment, and ensuring health requirements.
- Performs security tasks, including approving project security programs, managing security staff, monitoring security, ensuring document security, and coordinating final inspections.
- Performs preconstruction tasks, including performing design reviews and constructability reviews.
- Performs administration tasks, including managing the site office, approving budgets, preparing inventories, contracting with local employees, preparing reports and files, liaising with local officials and utilities, performing contracting officer duties, ensuring proper inventory control, and performing other site obligations (e.g., tours).
- Performs commissioning tasks, including coordinating close outs, commissioning of systems, managing the commissioning agent, providing warranty support, ensuring commissioning training, and participating in relocation.
In a Washington Assignment:
- Performs project support tasks, including prequalifying bidders, evaluating bids, participating in design of new construction, providing guidance to contractors, coordinating construction projects, coordinating procurement, traveling to project sites, making recommendations to the contracting officer, organizing meetings, preparing progress information, providing supervision, and participating in planning.
- Performs administrative support tasks, including developing special contract provisions, participating in policy/procedure development, and receiving training.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, ABILITIES, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS:
|GENERAL AND SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS|
|Grade Level||Annual Salary||Education||Specialized Experience|
|FP-04||$53,003 to $77,837||BS or BA Degree
- If you have a relevant Doctorate or Masters degree your BS or BA degree must still meet the accreditation requirements below. You must submit your Bachelor’s transcript with your application.
- Two within grade steps may be given for a relevant Doctorate degree. One within grade step may be given for a relevant Masters degree. If you need the Masters degree to qualify as above, you will not be eligible for the one step within grade increase.
- Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from a program
accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) or National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) within a college or university in one or more of the following disciplines:
- Architecture or Architectural Engineering
- Construction Engineering or Construction Management
- Civil/Structural Engineering
- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal job requirements for this position if the applicant can show that foreign education is comparable to education received in the United States. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs. Degrees received from non-U.S. colleges or universities will be considered acceptable based on any of the following evidences:
- The degree holder was accepted by a U.S. college or university for advanced study in an accredited program recognized by the ABET or NAAB.
- A state university in the U.S. accepts the institution as one whose transcript is given full value in subject areas applicable to the curriculum at the state university and the institution is a recognized non-U.S. equivalent program by the ABET or NAAB.
- The candidate submits an acceptable and favorable evaluation of completed course work from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) or National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Candidates that need to obtain this type of evaluation will have 30 days from the vacancy closing date to submit this report to CONVacancyInfo@state.gov.
- The candidate presents evidence of registration as a professional engineer or architect by any state in the U.S.
Applicants must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 20 and 59, with a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited program.
Superior oral and written communication skills: In order to pass the Foreign Service’s thorough and competitive assessment process, successful applicants must consistently meet a high standard for English, both written (overall structure as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken (overall structure as well as delivery, clarity and succinctness). Those who fall short of this standard will have little chance of passing through the Foreign Service’s highly competitive assessment process.
Professional-level speaking ability in a foreign language is welcome, but not a requirement for applying. However, the applicant must be willing to be trained by the Department of State in a foreign language to meet a job requirement or expectation. These will be important considerations in the competitive promotion process.
In addition to the general requirements for employment in the Foreign Service, all Construction Engineer candidates must have at least a Bachelor's degree at the time of appointment, as indicated above.
Through education and work experience, candidates should show they meet most if not all of the following job requirements:
- Knowledge of construction drawings, design, building and construction, vertical construction, administration and management, contract law and legal principles, commissioning, engineering and technology, scheduling, budget management, computers, safety and security, construction costs, and mathematics
- Specialized skill in administering contracts, planning and organizing, leadership, practical construction, establishing procedures, and providing customer service.
- General skill in reading comprehension, mathematics, critical thinking, complex problem solving, monitoring, coordinating, active listening, writing, speaking, instructing, persuading, negotiating, judging and decision making, active learning, managing financial resources, managing personnel resources, managing material resources, social perceptiveness, service orientation, quality control analysis, equipment selection, operations analysis, and systems evaluation.
- Ability to see (with corrective lenses, if needed), with at least an average level of depth perception, objects that are near, far, in color, and in dim lighting. Ability to hear (with a hearing aid, if needed) speech at a moderate or high level above the ambient noise of a typical construction site. Ability to speak clearly enough so others will understand you in an environment with a high level of ambient noise. Ability to climb ladders and scaffolding without difficulty.
* Experience must have been acquired in the last eight years.
Specialized experience should show that applicants have an in-depth knowledge of their field and can be expected to perform engineering or architectural duties related to construction at Department of State projects worldwide. Specialized experience obtained through assignments to field sites on vertical construction projects will be given the most favorable consideration. Vertical construction projects are not limited to but include multi-story buildings, large-scale residential communities and warehouses.
Applicants should show that their job-related experience has been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility through such indicators as promotions, raises, and increases in scope, authority, impact, etc.
Specialized experience requirements will be judged based on the past performance of activities such as:
- Reviewing, interpreting, and checking construction drawings, architectural plans, engineering drawings, and other specifications to ensure compliance, recognize errors, ambiguities, or omissions and provide corrective recommendations.
- Inspecting construction techniques, procedures, standards, and materials to ensure construction is performed in accordance with applicable plans and specifications.
- Applying quality control and quality assurance practices and procedures to construction projects, and applying test procedures and equipment.
- Applying safety practices and procedures to construction projects.
- Developing and applying construction scheduling techniques, monitoring project progress, identifying causes for delays, and developing and taking corrective action.
- Managing financial elements of a construction project, such as monitoring construction project costs, reviewing and certifying contractor requests for progress payments, forecasting total construction costs, and managing budgets.
- Analyzing and negotiating pending contract change orders, potential or actual claims, and acceptable cost and time settlements.
- Applying computer software to construction project management and fiscal control.
- Recognizing impending problems, developing options for action, and recommending solutions.
- Preparing and delivering presentations and reports on project status and recommendations.
- Demonstrating effective verbal and written communications skills with technical and non-technical personnel.
- Displaying effective leadership, team building and consensus building skills with colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates.
SUBSTITUTION OF EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE:
A master's degree in a construction-related discipline may be substituted for one year of specialized experience or a doctoral degree in a construction-related discipline may be substituted for two years experience toward satisfying the five-year minimum requirement for specialized experience.
Qualifications That Are Desirable But Not Required To Be Considered for Employment::
- Design experience on construction projects.
- Fluency in a foreign language.
- A professional license in the applicant's field of specialty or an Engineer in Training Certificate. (Applicants who are unlicensed architects participating in an Intern Development Program should so state.)
- Advanced degree in the applicant's field of specialty.
- Experience with vertical construction projects outside the United States.
- Demonstrated working knowledge of related engineering fields other than applicant's field of specialty.
Candidates will be evaluated on their total background including experience, education, awards, training, and self-development as it relates to the position. Selection for this position will be made only from among candidates possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.
How to Apply
We are not currently accepting applications for this position. Please subscribe to receive email updates regarding this vacancy.
To apply, applicants must first register on USAJOBS at www.usajobs.gov and create an online federal resume. Your online resume must be typed or you may cut and paste an existing resume into the space provided.
Once you have completed the registration process, select the "Apply Online' link to the right of the vacancy. That button will transfer you to Gateway to State. Please note that the deadline to submit completed applications is January 2, 2013.
Follow the "Apply Online" at Gateway to State by answering self-assessment questions for the specific job to which you are applying. When completed, the information you provided at USAJOBS and the answers to the Gateway to State questions will become your application. Your registration, resume, and responses to questions will be used to evaluate your qualifications for this job. In addition, you must fax or upload some information to complete your application package.
If you are having technical difficulty with the application process, please contact the helpdesk by calling 1-866-656-6830 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the online application, applicants will be asked to submit the following required documents:
A. Supplementary Questionnaire:
Purpose: The Supplementary Questionnaire provides an opportunity to describe examples of your experience and accomplishments from your education and life and work experience that show you have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other requirements (KSAOs) listed in the vacancy announcement for the position of construction engineer. You can draw examples from any part of your personal experience. The information you give may be used in your oral assessment/interview should you be invited. It is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants.
Instructions:During the application process, you will be asked to individually address each of the numbered items listed below, limiting responses to 2,000 characters or less for each item. Examples can be drawn from any part of your personal experience. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer is the ability to write clearly and concisely.
- Knowledge of Construction: Describe your education and work experience that demonstrates you have the various knowledge areas required of a construction engineer.
- Skill in Administering Contracts: Describe examples of past accomplishments that demonstrate your skill in planning and organizing, leadership, customer service, and other skills needed to administer contracts.
- Problem Solving: Give examples demonstrating your ability to think logically and objectively, to analyze problems, and to apply sound judgment in assessing practical implications of alternative solutions.
- Communication Skills: Give examples displaying your ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing.
- Computer Skills: Describe specific instances which show how you used computer software and other technologies to manage construction-related projects.
- Citing specific examples from your background and experience, summarize your professional knowledge, skills and abilities which would apply to a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer.
B. A Narrative Autobiography (two-to-three page typed equivalent – no more than 5,000 characters) which discusses your:
- personal background,
- general comments on your work experience,
- personal interests, hobbies, and travel,
- ability to add value to the Foreign Service, and
- motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
The narrative autobiography is included inside the online application.
C. Fax or Upload College Transcripts
- College Transcript(s)
All applicants with college degrees must submit their college transcripts.
Applicants have the option to upload or fax their transcripts. To submit the transcripts by fax, applicants will be prompted to print out a fax coversheet once they have successfully submitted their application. Instructions for submitting these forms are included in the online application. The transcript must be faxed or uploaded before the closing date of this announcement, which is 11:59pm Washington D.C. time.
Important: Whether you upload or fax, please submit all your documents at the same time. If you must send any additional documents after your first submission, be sure to include your first group of documents along with the additional documents. This is because subsequent submissions erase prior submissions.
For additional information please refer to our web site at careers.state.gov /specialist/selection-process.
Both official and unofficial transcripts are acceptable as part of the application process. Once you have completed the online questionnaire, you will be prompted to decide either to upload your documents or to print out cover sheets generated within the application that must be used to fax the above required documents.
If faxing, it is extremely important that only these system-generated cover sheets, and the phone number included on them, be used for faxing these documents. The cover sheets are coded to insure that your documents are automatically attached to your online application. Please ensure that each document is faxed separately with the appropriate system generated cover sheet.
These documents must be either faxed or uploaded before the closing date of this announcement, which is 11:59pm Washington D.C. time.
What to Expect Next
All applicants will be notified via e-mail of the outcome of their applications. Selected candidates will be invited to come for an oral assessment at the Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Selected candidates: Please note all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the oral assessment are the responsibility of the candidate.
Health and medical coverage, federal retirement benefits, generous paid leave, and an unprecedented chance to see the world and experience different cultures. Overseas benefits include paid housing or a housing allowance and paid education for dependent children between K-12.
Additional Benefits: Tax free housing overseas, tax free educational allowance, etc. (See Specialist Benefits on our website, careers.state.gov/specialist/benefits, for more information.)
Initial Salary, Salary Increases and Tenure:
Initial salaries for new employees are set within the FP-04 pay scale depending on education, specialized experience and salary history. Salaries are determined at the time the offer of employment is made.
Entry level salary for federal Civil Service candidates appointed without a break in service is set at the rate in the FP-04 Foreign Service salary schedule nearest to the base salary rate of their previous GS salary, provided the work performed in the previous position is related to Construction Engineering activities.
In general, persons with satisfactory performance ratings receive a within-grade salary increase annually through step 10 and biennially through step 14 if they have not received an equivalent increase during that period.
Foreign Service Specialist Career Candidates are considered for tenure by a Tenuring Board after a minimum of two years experience in the Foreign Service.
Initial Career Development Assignments:
Upon entry into the Foreign Service and after completion of orientation and familiarization training, a Construction Engineer will normally be assigned to an initial tour in Washington, D.C. during which temporary overseas duty assignments of two to six weeks are common. After the initial tour, assignments will be for periods of two to four years overseas or in the U.S. and will be based on the Department needs, career development requirements, and personal preferences.
Career Track Movement:
Promotions beyond FP-04 are based on annual performance evaluations in competition with other Construction Engineers at the same grade level. Available promotions are awarded to those who have best demonstrated the ability and potential to perform at a higher level of responsibility. Assignment opportunities for Construction Engineers range from grade FP-04 entry level positions up to Senior Foreign Service. Entry-level positions provide technical, logistic, and administrative support to overseas construction projects while the Senior Foreign Service is responsible for overall senior level management of major construction projects overseas and programs in Washington.
Executive Branch agencies are barred by 5 US Code 3303 as amended from accepting or considering prohibited political recommendations and are required to return any prohibited political recommendations to sender. In addition, as mandated by 5 US Code 3110, relatives of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether that discrimination is based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity or pregnancy), national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, membership in an employee organization, age, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors.
The Department of State provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodations for any part of the application or hiring process should so advise the Department at ReasonableAccommodations@state.gov within one week of receiving their invitation. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.