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How to Apply 


United States Department of State
An Equal Opportunity Employer

Announcement No: FSCE 98-1
Opening Date: December 07, 1998
Closing Date: Indefinite


Grade and Starting Salary Range:
FP-04, $42,407 - $62,276
FP-05, $34,362 - $50,462

Number of Vacancies: The Department of State is developing a rank-order hiring register of eligible candidates to fill a limited number of entry-level Foreign Service Construction Engineer (FSCE) vacancies. The number to be hired will depend on the needs of the Foreign Service.

Area of Consideration: All sources

Location: Initial training and orientation will be in Washington, D.C. and may include overseas travel on temporary duty. After six months to two years, appointees will be assigned overseas to a construction project for a tour of two or more years, according to the needs of the Foreign Service.


An FSCE is a professional engineer in the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations, 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 contracts, plans, specifications, schedules and standards.

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:

1. Oversee contractor activities to ensure proper execution of construction work for new properties or improvements to existing properties used by the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies of the U.S. Government overseas .

2. Inspect construction work for contract compliance.

3. Render technical interpretations of plans and specifications.

4. Review and approve contractor submittals.

5. Evaluate, negotiate and approve change order proposals.

6. Evaluate and participate in settlement of contractor claims and disputes.

7. Prepare cost estimates for change orders and claim settlements.

8. Monitor ongoing and forecast final construction completion costs.

9. Approve and monitor contractor's construction schedule, identify and resolve sources of delay.

10. Approve and monitor contractor's safety and security programs.

11. Approve and monitor contractor's quality control/quality assurance program.

12. Verify and approve payments to contractors.

13. Coordinate architect/engineer services during construction.

14. Prepare comprehensive and timely reports on construction project activities.

15. Prepare and administer budgets for construction management activities.

In a Washington Assignment:

1. Coordinate technical, financial, logistic and administrative support to overseas construction projects

2. Participate in the development of designs, plans, specifications and completion schedules for new construction and renovations of StateDepartment buildings overseas; and provide guidance to architect/engineering firms under contract to the Department.

3. Travel to project sites to evaluate local construction capabilities, observe progress of ongoing projects and evaluate the performance of those involved in the construction.

4. Develop special contract terms and conditions according to project requirements.

5. Participate in pre-qualifying bidders, evaluation of bids and contract award negotiations.

6. Develop site staffing plans and participate in selection and assignment of personnel.

7. Participate in development of policies and procedures relating to the Department's overseas construction program.

8. Coordinate procurement and shipment of government-furnished construction material and equipment .

9. Develop construction management budgets and participate in the allotment and management of funds.

10. Receive specialized training.


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 duration overseas or in the U.S. and will be based on the Department needs, career development requirements and personal preferences.


Construction Engineers are administratively promoted from pay grade FP-05 to FP-04 after 18 months of satisfactory performance.

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-05 entry-level positions, which provide technical, logistic and administrative support to overseas construction projects, up to Senior Foreign Service positions, with responsibility for overall senior level management of major construction projects overseas and programs in Washington.


Initial salaries for new employees are set within the FP-05 and FP-04 pay scales depending on education, specialized experience and salary history. Salaries are determined at the time offers of employment are made. Entry level salary for federal Civil Service candidates appointed without a break in service will be set at the rate within the Foreign Service salary schedule that is nearest to the base salary rate of their previous GS salary, provided the work performed in the previous position is closely related to Construction Engineering activities.In general, persons with satisfactory performance ratings will 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.


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 below.


FP-04 $44,732 to BS or BA Degree 3 years - $56,665
FP-05 $36,246 to BS or BA Degree 1 year  -  $45,915


1. Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited 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

2. Degrees received from non-U.S. colleges or universities will be considered acceptable based on any of the following evidences:

a. The degree has been accepted for advanced study by an accredited U.S. college or university.
b. 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.
c. The candidate submits an evaluation of the course work from an organization recognized for accreditation by the U.S. Department of Education, the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation or an accredited U.S college or university.
d . The candidate presents evidence of registration as a professional engineer or architect by any state in the U.S.



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.

The applicant must substantiate that the required specialized experience was obtained on major vertical construction projects through assignments which required responsibility for coordination of architectural/engineering details, shop drawings, cost control and schedules at construction field sites.

Applicants should show that their academic achievements and/or job-related experience have been at progressively increasing levels of performance and responsibility. They should be able to demonstrate experience and abilities in some or all of the following activities:

1. Managing and supervising vertical construction projects.
2. Reviewing and checking construction drawings and specifications.
3. Inspection of construction work.
4. Responsibility for managing financial elements of a construction project, such as budget and payments.
5. Application of test procedures and equipment used on construction projects.
6. Application of safety practices and procedures to construction projects.
7. Application of quality control and quality assurance practices and procedures to construction projects.
8. Development and application of construction scheduling techniques.
9. Administration of construction contracts.
10. Application of computer software to the management of construction projects.
11. Effective oral and written communications skills with technical and non-technical personnel.
12. Leadership and the ability to get the cooperation and confidence of co-workers, supervisors and subordinates.


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 one- to three-year specialized experience requirement.


The total experience of the applicant must be of a progressively responsible nature and convincingly demonstrate the applicant's ability to do the following:

1. Professionally perform construction contract administration.
2. Understand and interpret architectural plans, engineering drawings and specifications. Recognize errors, ambiguities or omissions and provide recommendations for correction.
3. Understand acceptable construction techniques, procedures, standards and materials to ensure construction is performed in accordance with applicable plans and specifications.
4. Inspect construction work, review material submittals and shop drawings to ensure compliance with contract requirements.
5. Monitor project progress according to an approved schedule. Identify causes for delays, develop and take corrective action.
6. Monitor construction project costs. Review and certify contractor requests for progress payments. Forecast total construction costs.
7. Analyze pending contract change orders, potential or actual claims and negotiate acceptable cost and time settlements.
8. Prepare project reports and recommendations, including both narrative and numerical presentations of project status information. Prepare written descriptions of problems and recommendations for solution.
9. Understand and apply test, quality control and safety procedures.
10. Communicate effectively orally and in writing
11. Apply computer software to construction project management and fiscal control.
12. Recognize impending problems, develop options for action and recommend solutions.


1. Design experience on vertical construction projects.
2. Fluency in a foreign language.
3. 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.)
4. Advanced degree in the applicant's field of specialty
5. Experience with vertical construction projects outside the United States.
6 . Demonstrated working knowledge of related engineering fields other than applicant's field of specialty.


Purpose: The purpose of the Supplementary Questionnaire is to provide an opportunity to describe examples of your experience which relate to the skills listed below and best show your ability to handle various aspects of construction engineering. The information you give may be used to structure your oral examination/interview should you be invited to one, and is an important factor in the competitive evaluation of applicants.


Instructions: Using plain white paper and either a typewriter or word processor, individually address each of the items listed below, limiting responses to 200 words or less for each item. Describe how you have used the following abilities and/or knowledge, indicating the source from which the work-related experience was acquired. 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.


1. Teamwork and Leadership: Discuss your ability to work toward a common goal. Give examples of instances where you have lead a team in the accomplishment of a specific goal.

2. Organization and Planning: Give examples which demonstrate your organizational and planning skills in accomplishing complex tasks according to a firm schedule.

3. Problem Solving: Give examples to demonstrate your ability to think logically and objectively, to analyze problems, and to apply sound judgment in assessing the practical implications of alternative solutions.

4. Communication skills: Give examples which demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and persuasively both orally and in writing.

5. Computer skills: Describe specific instances which show the extent to which you have used computer software in managing construction-related projects.

6. 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.


The following application and related materials are required. They become the property of the Department of State and will not be returned.

1. A completed (DS-1950) Application for Federal Employment and a completed Employment Data Form (enclosed). This is an optional form which requests information to be used for statistical purposes only.

2. A copy of your latest Personnel Action, if you are presently a federal employee.

3. The completed Supplementary Questionnaire.

4. A two-to three-page, typed (double-spaced) narrative autobiography which discusses your:

a. personal history;
b. professional experience not included in the application, which is related to this position;
c. interests and hobbies and
d. motivation for a career as a Foreign Service Construction Engineer.

5. A college/university transcript, bearing the original, official seal. A copy may be submitted with your application pending issuance of the official transcript.

6. A copy of your Professional Engineering Registration or Certificate of Engineer in Training, or Architect License, if applicable.

7. A copy of your most recent annual performance evaluation report.

Because of the urgency to fill current vacancies, your application package should be completed and sent as soon as possible using the following addresses:

U.S. Mail Deliveries:

US Department of State
Application Evaluation Branch
Attn: Foreign Service Construction Engineer Program
2401 E Street, NW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC  20522






Application which are received through the State Department's inter-office mail system or mailed in government-franked envelopes will not be processed.


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 310, sons and daughters of federal employees cannot be granted preference in competing for these employment opportunities.


The Department of State is committed to equal opportunity and fair and equitable treatment for all without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, disabling condition, political affiliation, marital status, or prior statutory, constitutionally protected activity.

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