Foreign Service Construction Engineer

Montevideo, D.C
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 22, 2021
Engineer, IT, QA Engineer
Full Time


Summary: The U.S. Department of State is developing a rank-ordered list of eligible hires for a limited number of Foreign Service Construction Engineering positions based on the needs of the Department. Learn more about the Department of State and a career in the Foreign Service at .

Joining the Foreign Service is more than just salary . Refer to the Benefits section for more information on total compensation.

Learn more about this agency


The following are typical duties, performed at various grade levels, in the course of a career as a Construction Engineer (CE).


Responsible for performing:
  • Duties of an Owner's Representative for the USG including quality assurance tasks, approving quality programs, hiring, and managing quality assurance staff.
  • 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 schedule.
  • Safety tasks including approving project safety programs, monitoring safety, ensuring safety training and equipment, and ensuring health requirements.
  • Security tasks including approving project security programs, managing security staff, monitoring security, ensuring document security, and coordinating final inspections.
  • Preconstruction tasks including performing design reviews and constructability reviews.
  • Administrative tasks including managing the site office, approving budgets, preparing inventories, hiring and managing 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).
  • Commissioning tasks including coordinating close outs, commissioning of systems, managing the commissioning agent, providing warranty support, ensuring commissioning training, and participating in relocation.

Responsible for ensuring:
  • Contractor's work is properly inspected;
  • Corrective actions take place;
  • Trades are certified;
  • Materials meet contract specifications; and
  • Conflict resolution.

Responsible for:
  • Selecting laboratories for testing; and
  • Accepting contractor submittals.


Responsible for performing:
  • Program management and project support tasks including prequalifying bidders, evaluating bids, participating in the design of new facilities, providing guidance to contractors, coordinating construction projects, coordinating procurement, traveling to project sites, making recommendations to contracting officers, organizing meetings, preparing progress information, providing supervision, and participating in planning.
  • Administrative support tasks including developing special contract provisions, participating in policy/procedure development, and participating in training.

Responsible for:
  • Following established safety regulations related to construction and renovation practices and regulations
  • Supervising contractors and tradesmen that work with building equipment, heavy machinery and construction vehicles. All of these tasks are at times performed at construction sites with ambient noise and other environmental factors that are typical for such sites.


Some of the essential functions of the job have a physically demanding component. In the execution of the duties and tasks listed above, Construction Engineers MUST have the ability to:
  • Work in confined areas such as crawl spaces, attics, utility pits, tunnels, manholes, and other confined spaces;
  • Work from heights such as rooftops, ledges, scaffolding, including climbing extension ladders and scaffolding;
  • Move and handle heavy objects (up to 50 pounds of weight) such as equipment, tools, and other building materials;
  • See objects that are near, far, in color, or at night, possibly including depth perception; and
  • Hear speech or other sounds, possibly including sufficient sensitivity to hear sounds of low volume or in noisy environments.
  • Manage periodic work that requires regular and recurring periods of prolonged standing, bending, and stretching.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - A Foreign Service Specialist generally spends the majority of his/her career assigned to the Department of State's overseas missions and at times, lives away from family and/or in difficult or isolated conditions. Selected applicants will be notified of an Oral Assessment (OA) requirement in Washington D.C. For the selected applicants, all travel and other expenses incurred in connection with the OA are the sole responsibility of the applicant.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Be a U.S. citizen and available for worldwide service.
  • Be able to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain an appropriate Foreign Service Medical Clearance.
  • Be able to obtain a favorable Suitability Review Panel determination.*
  • Be at least 20 years old to apply; at least 21 years old to be appointed.
  • Be appointed prior to age 60 (preference eligible veterans excepted).**

The Department's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations' (OBO) Office of Construction Management is responsible for managing the Department of State's multi-billion-dollar portfolio of construction projects overseas. The Construction Engineer (CE) is a member of a U.S. government (USG) team that ensures construction is professionally performed according to applicable plans, specifications, schedules, and standards. The CE 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.

In addition to Education requirements, applicants MUST possess a minimum of:

Three years of Specialized Experience for consideration at FP-04 level
Five years of Specialized Experience for consideration at FP-03 level



Specialized experience demonstrates that the applicant has acquired, and is able to apply, a combination of specific knowledge, skills and abilities appropriate to a Foreign Service Construction Engineer position. Specialized Experience MUST show that applicants have an in-depth knowledge of their field and can perform engineering or architectural duties related to construction at Department of State projects worldwide. Applicants MUST demonstrate that their job-related experience has been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility through such indicators as promotions, raises, increases in duties and responsibilities, and organizational and employee impact.

Specialized experience MUST have been obtained through assignments to field sites on vertical construction projects. Vertical construction projects include, but are not limited to:
  • Multi-story buildings;
  • Large-scale residential and commercial developments; and
  • Warehouses.

At the time of application, applicants MUST possess at least three years' Specialized Experience in the last 10 years, working in the field on major vertical construction projects, to be considered for this position.

Applicants who have a Master of Architecture or Master of Engineering in one of the disciplines listed under Education and from a program meeting the accreditation requirements, in addition to possessing a qualifying Bachelor of Science degree in the majors listed under Education, qualify to substitute the Master's degree for one year of Specialized Experience toward satisfying the minimum requirement for Specialized Experience. Transcripts for both the Bachelor's and Master's degrees must be submitted with the application

Examples of Specialized Experience include, but are not limited to:
  • 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.


The applicant's experience, education, and training MUST show that they have an in-depth knowledge of their field and possess the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) appropriate to this Foreign Service position. The applicant MUST have the ability to:
  • Think logically and objectively, demonstrating resourcefulness and judgment.
  • Express oneself both orally and in writing.
  • Work and deal effectively with others;
  • Obtain cooperation and confidence from supervisors and subordinates in performing official duties.
  • Work with minimum job supervision and a willingness to accept responsibility.
  • Read in detail, and make decisions based on, plans and architectural diagrams.

In addition to meeting the requirements above, applicants MUST possess excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills, and a strong customer service orientation. Applicants must demonstrate a strong command of the English language to include grammar, spelling and punctuation.


At the time of application applicants MUST possess one of the following:

1. Bachelor of Science in Engineering from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in one of the following:
  • Civil/Structural Engineering
  • Construction Engineering Technologies
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Architectural Engineering

2. Bachelor of Architecture from a program accredited by NAAB; or
3. Master of Architecture from a program accredited by National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB)

Degrees in the above-mentioned majors, completed at foreign schools without ABET or NAAB accreditation, may be used to fulfill the education requirements for this position if:

• The applicant holds a valid professional architecture or engineering license from a U.S. State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. The evidence of the license must be included as an attachment to the application or your candidacy will not be continued;

• The degree program is substantially equivalent to NAAB-accredited programs (;

• The issuing university is a participant in the Canberra Accord (;

• The foreign architectural degree has been evaluated by Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA-NCARB) (

Applicants MUST submit a copy of their university transcript(s) with their application.

If you do not submit this documentation to demonstrate your educational achievements, your candidacy will not continue. Official or unofficial transcripts may be submitted with your application. Your transcript must include your name, the school's name, and, if applicable, the degree and date awarded. A transcript missing any of these elements will not pass the minimum qualifications and your candidacy will not continue. Copies of diplomas may not be submitted in lieu of transcripts for education above high school level.

Education from a program or institution within the United States must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education,, in order to be credited towards qualifications or your candidacy will not continue.

Education completed in foreign high schools, colleges or universities may be used to meet the education requirements if you can show that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Only accredited organizations recognized as specializing in the interpretation of foreign education credentials that are members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE) are accepted.


For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, please refer to the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Department of Education. The U.S. Department of State neither endorses nor recommends any individual evaluation service.

U.S. Department of Education:

Additional information

*EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION PROGRAM (E-Verify) - Verification of employment eligibility in the United States is required.

U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States - either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. This agency utilizes E-Verify to compare information from the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. If the employee's information does not match DHS and/or SSA records, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. If eligibility cannot be verified, employment will be terminated.

**The Department of State Suitability Review Panel and standards are defined in Chapter 3 of the Foreign Affairs Manual. For more information please visit:

***For more information about Veteran's Preference and how it is applied in the selection process, please visit:

No applicant will be considered who has previously been separated from the Foreign Service under sections §607, §608, §610 or §611 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu of separation under these provisions. In addition, no applicant will be considered who has previously been separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section §306 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, as amended, or who resigned or retired in lieu thereof.

A Foreign Service Specialist separated for failure to receive a career appointment under section 306 may not re-apply to be an Foreign Service Specialist in the same skill code, but may apply for another skill code (or to be a Foreign Service Generalist).

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 employees with dignity and respect and to provide a workplace that is free from discrimination whether 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, within one week of receiving their invitation to the oral assessment. Decisions for granting reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Applicants 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 applicants possessing the best qualifications. Part-time work experience will be prorated.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Top Secret

Drug test required

Required Documents

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure all required documents are uploaded and the application is complete before the closing deadline of this announcement. Any missing required documents or incomplete applications will result in the application not being considered further.
  • Résumé from USAJobs Résumé Builder, the only résumé format accepted for this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Complete online application, including the required Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest narratives.
  • All required supporting documentation, including proof of educational achievements, certifications, professional licenses, or completed forms as required in this Vacancy Announcement.
  • Veteran's Preference documentation for applicants aged 60 to 65. If claiming a 5 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. If claiming a 10 pt. Veteran's Preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214 or Certification of service at the time of your application. A Certification must be from the armed forces certifying the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions within 120 days after the Certification is submitted by the applicant and should include military service dates, date of expected discharge or release, and character of service and disability rating, if applicable.

  • Accomplishments Questionnaire

    These required questions provide an opportunity to describe examples and accomplishments from your education, life, and/or work experience that demonstrate your qualifications for becoming a Foreign Service Specialist. Examples can be drawn from any part of your professional or personal experience. Each response is limited to 300 words or fewer (maximum length 2,000 characters) for each item. You should compose your replies carefully, as one of the skills necessary to succeed as a Foreign Service Specialist is the ability to write clearly and concisely. Answers to the all of the items in the Accomplishments Questionnaire and Statement of Interest are required and must be completed in the online application.

    Accomplishments Questionnaire
  • 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.

  • Statement of Interest

    Required narrative Statement of Interest which discusses your:
    • Motivation for joining the Foreign Service.
    • Relevant work experience, including any unique strengths not previously mentioned, such as special skills, current licenses, certifications, honors, awards, special accomplishments, and/or training (with date completed) relating to this position.
    • Experience living or working in a multicultural environment, overseas or in the United States.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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