Civil/structural engineering technician
Building Planning & Surveying
Civil and structural engineering technicians help in the design, drawing, surveying and supervision of construction projects such as roads, tunnels, bridges, sewage and water systems and factories.
See job descriptions for civil engineer and structural engineer for more information.
Civil and structural engineering technicians carry out a variety of tasks to support civil and structural engineers. They work as part of a team on a wide range of construction projects.
Civil engineering includes roads, reservoirs, coastal protection schemes, airports, railways, water systems and bridges. Structural engineering is a part of civil engineering that deals with structures and large buildings, including sports stadia, bridges, dams and power stations.
Technicians' work can be office-based, site-based or a mixture of both, depending on the employer and individual projects.
Technicians produce detailed design and layout drawings for construction projects. They prepare drawings by using either a drawing board or computer-aided design (CAD).
Other office work includes collecting information, eg, on new construction materials and methods; estimating costs; buying and organising delivery of supplies; calculating wages, and arranging plant maintenance.
On-site, technicians often provide a link between managers, craft workers and operatives. Technicians may also be responsible for health and safety on-site.
During construction, they make sure that the standards of materials and work are high. They supervise work, check progress and help to make sure that projects run on time.
Technicians also carry out some measurement work. This includes taking measurements of completed work on-site so that payments to contractors can be calculated. Structural engineering technicians calculate loads and stresses on structures to make sure that they will stay up and are safe.
Personal Qualities and Skills
- IT skills.
- To enjoy practical tasks.
- Good communication skills.
- To be a good teamworker.
- Number skills, as you might have to do a lot of figure work, eg, calculating, measuring and estimating.
- To pay attention to detail as your work needs to be neat and accurate.
- Good organisational and administrative skills.
Most technicians will spend some time out on-site; some are outdoors in all weather conditions for much of the time.
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers for civil / structural engineer technicians
Employers are firms of engineering consultants, building and civil engineering contractors, local authorities, and gas, water and electricity companies. Other employers include the Civil Service, manufacturing industry and the armed forces.
Entry routes and training
Entry requirements vary. Most employers ask that you have at least 4 GCSEs at grade C or above. Useful subjects include English, Maths, Physics, and Construction and the Built Environment.
Many entrants do a full-time college course leading to something like an Edexcel (BTEC) National Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.
Courses in civil engineering or construction are available at a large number of colleges. You could also take courses in subjects like building studies, although you will need to study further structural subjects to become qualified in civil engineering.
Some people enter this career via an Advanced Level Apprenticeship. Various construction course titles would be relevant to people wanting to get into this career.