Civil engineering technicians provide technical support to civil engineers, working on engineering construction projects. Projects can fall into several categories, including:
A technician's duties vary depending on the nature of the project but may cover:
Research and design – assisting with initial site surveys, arranging for lab analysis of soil, rock and materials samples, and developing engineering design plans, by hand or with computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Planning and estimating - preparing detailed estimates and specifications on the quantity and type of materials required; the materials and labour costs; and drawing up schedules and timescales for delivery of supplies, equipment and labour with completion dates for each stage of the project.
Buying – negotiating with suppliers to purchase resources, ensuring best value for money.
Monitoring – supervising progress, inspecting construction projects, reporting problems to site managers and preparing reports for senior engineers.
Most civil engineering technicians work in offices and on construction sites. Office work is normally 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. On-site there may be shiftwork, weekends and nights. Technicians may be on-hour call in case problems arise.
Site work takes places in all weathers and may be at heights. Safety wear would be provided.
To be a civil engineering technician you should:
There is a wide range of opportunities for technicians in civil engineering; examples include public and private sector building works, power and water distribution networks, transport and mining.
Opportunities for qualified technical staff are good and exist in most parts of the country. Progression routes normally involve movement into supervisory or site management roles; or specialising in aspects of the role, such as construction design or estimating. With additional academic training, technicians may be able to become fully qualified civil engineers. See Civil Engineer profile.
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