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Civil Engineer - Retainer

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: IICA-1, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Engineering
    • Documentation and Information Management
  • Closing Date: 2021-05-18

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Background Information - Job-specific

Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the Kenya Multi Country Office manages a growing portfolio of engagements, including associated strategic and operational risks. The KEMC sub-region currently consists of an established Operation Centre in Nairobi/Kenya which manages a portfolio of engagements in multiple countries in East and South Africa. This includes transactional projects in partnership with the Nairobi based UN Agencies, UN-Habitat and UNEP, and multiple ‘operational’ projects in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and island states.

The Technical Services Unit (TSU) engages in multidisciplinary design, assessments and advisory work, and manages relationships with other technical stakeholders such as specialist design firms for high risk structures.  

The Technical Services Unit (TSU) currently provides design services for infrastructure works to Project Managers. Recently the team has expanded its offering to include consulting services such as assessments, feasibility studies and advisory services on a wide range of infrastructure types.  We want to continue and further expand technical services to our partners and clients at a wider field of operations.

The TSU has a core team based in Nairobi supplemented by retainers during peak periods or where specialist expertise is required.  The wider team includes architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, GIS and specialist infrastructure advisors (for dams, ICT and biomedical works) and CAD technicians as well as support personnel.  Current projects are underway / imminent in Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, ESwatini, Zambia and Mozambique.

The TSU is a business unit for the Multi-Country office and comes under the direction of the Director for East and Southern Africa office (KEMC).

Functional Responsibilities

Under the overall supervision of the Technical Service Unit Manager, the Civil Engineer will give his/her technical expertise as required to translate documents between English and Portuguese, and produce and co-ordinate any designs assigned and related documentation works required in either language. Although most of the assignments will be done from home, occasionally travel will be expected to project sites located in the hub countries.

Specifically, the incumbent will be responsible for the following substantive tasks. The tasks would involve the following but not limited to:

  • Assess sites

  • Collate feedback and prepare consultation/assessment reports

  • Perform and Coordinate civil and structural design works and submissions

The consultant will be requested to work from home and be prepared to travel to any site in or around the countries under KEMC as required and as UNDSS permits.

An agreed scope, deliverable and the maximum time duration will be agreed upon by UNOPS-KEMC and the Civil Engineer prior to commencement of each assignment.

Monitoring and Progress Controls

Technical tasks:

  • Assist in preparing design briefs and design reports that address specific clients and stakeholder requirements and specifications as and when necessary.

  • Translate technical documents (including but not limited to briefs, drawings, specifications, reports and bills of quantity) from English to Portuguese and vice versa.

  • Assist in preparing comprehensive design documentation, specifications, bar bending schedules and other project documents to meet the required quality and detailing.

  • Work closely with other Architects, Engineers and Quantity Surveyors and other technical professionals in the planning of projects, scheduling of tasks and developing an integrated design.

  • Assist in ensuring the documents prepared meet the quality standard requirements.

  • Responsible for timely delivery of the expected outputs for review by Technical Services Unit Manager.

  • Carry out structural design of services for projects according to the client’s design requirement and as per applicable international standards and codes of practices.

  • Ability to produce civil engineers bills of quantities of the projects proposed.

  • Assist in monitoring delivery of services design documents. Highlight possible non- or late delivery prior to the event.

  • Carry out civil and structural site inspections and assessments as required.

  • Assist in the development of specifications, procedures and QA/QC protocols when required.

  • Proactively assist the Technical Unit Manager in managing the design projects, ensuring that they meet the high standards expected by UNOPS, while delivering the program within its time and budget constraints.

  • Liaise with international clients and address requirements when required.

  • Assist in coordinating the works and submissions with all other disciplines; Architectural and Service design Engineers and Quantity Surveyors.

  • Carry out research and identify appropriate technologies/techniques/designs that can be incorporated in the project design.

  • Assist in carrying out technical reviews as appropriate.

  • Assist in reviewing and certifying Structural design documentation as a third party independent body when required.

  • Assist in coordinating the team effort to complete any task as would be required and appropriate if assigned.

Final Product

  • Assist in ensuring high project design and construction quality, observing all local/international and UN standards applicable; and all relevant health and safety procedures.


  • Bachelor Degree in Civil & Structural Engineering from an accredited university is required

  • Advanced Degree in Civil & Structural Engineering  from an accredited  university is desirable


  • Minimum 4 years’ experience in Civil & Structural Engineering Design and implementation is required.

  • Minimum 4 years’ experience working on Civil & Structural Engineering projects in both English and Portuguese is required.

  • Experience working on international/local projects in conflict/disaster prone areas will be an added advantage.

  • Experience working in Africa and Indian Ocean Islands will be an added advantage.


  • Fluency in written and oral English is required.
  • Fluency in written and oral Portuguese is required.


Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

This position is based in a family duty station.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA

Contract level: International ICA 1

Contract duration:  One year, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

As per UNOPS policy retainer positions in duty stations where the NPO (National Professional Officer) category has been established by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), a home-based retainer will be issued a LICA Support or LICA Specialist position.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Background Information - Kenya

The UNOPS Kenya office manages more than 60 projects in around 10 countries of eastern and southern Africa. UNOPS in Kenya helps partners achieve their project goals in sectors including: governance, education, health, the environment, grant management and rural development.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

What does it mean?

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