Building technicians, sometimes known as construction estimators or site engineers, carry out a variety of roles in support of construction managers, surveyors, architects and other construction professionals. Work is often a combination of office and sitework. Duties include:
Estimating - preparing costings for materials, labour, equipment and overheads to be used in bids for tenders.
Buying - working with suppliers and sub-contractors to negotiate and purchase materials, equipment and labour at the most cost-effective price whilst maintaining quality.
Planning – working with planning engineers to decide the most appropriate methods and techniques for each construction stage; and monitoring progress against agreed completion dates.
Design – draughting construction plans and blueprints using computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Site preparation - preparing construction sites before work begins, for instance overseeing installation of site offices and cabins, temporary access routes, power supplies and deliveries.
Supervising – overseeing building contractors on site and liaising with construction managers on progress or difficulties.
Building technicians attend regular meetings with managers and clients to give progress updates.
Technicians normally work up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Evening and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines.
Work could be office-based or on-site, depending on the duties. Estimators, buyers and planners are normally office-based. Protective safety clothing, such as hard hats and boots must be worn on site. A driving licence will be useful.
As a building technician, you should:
There are opportunities with national and international building firms and contractors, in central and local government, and with organisations that carry out their own construction projects such as electricity, gas, and water companies, major retailers and health authorities. There may also be opportunities to work abroad with some firms.
Progression routes normally include movement in to construction management positions or further specialisation in technical roles, such as estimating, draughting or buying.
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