Technicians in engineering construction, design, build and maintain buildings, process plant and machinery in a wide range of industries, such as petrochemical, power, water, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, transport and construction. They have a variety of duties depending on the particular industry they work in. These can include:
Planning and design– using computer-aided design (CAD) software and traditional draughting techniques to draw up engineering diagrams, specifying dimensions, layout and structure of engineering and construction projects.
Fabrication and assembly – cutting and welding sheet metal and plate for pipework and other structures, working from design blueprints and templates; and erecting building infrastructure, such as steel column and beam frameworks during the construction of industrial plant.
Fitting and maintenance - installing and servicing mechanical and electrotechnical production equipment in factories and industrial units, including conveyor lines, instrumentation control panels, pipework, valves and flowmeters; and carrying out risk assessments for certain tasks.
Inspection and testing – monitoring and diagnosing faults in plant and equipment within the workplace, and testing materials in a laboratory environment to detect flaws and defects (non-destructive testing), which could potentially lead to component failure. See profile for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technician.
Technicians may also be involved in related areas such as estimating, buying and quality control.
Working under the auspices of engineers and project managers, technicians often have supervisory responsibilities, overseeing a team of craftspeople, scheduling work and dealing with some administrative records.
Technicians work a basic 38-hour week, but this is flexible depending on the type of work and deadlines. Overtime may be available.
Work can be office based or on-site in all weathers. Mobility is usually required, and contracts may involve working away from home, either in the UK, offshore or abroad, for many weeks at a time.
Non-destructive testing technicians spend much of their time in a laboratory.
As an engineering construction technician, you should:
The UK engineering construction industry is the largest in the EU and prospects for qualified technicians are good.
A range of UK companies employ engineering construction technicians. Companies that specialise in repair and maintenance also employ technicians. About half of the UK’s engineering construction industry’s work takes place overseas.
Technicians can progress into site management positions or specialise in particular aspects of the job, such as engineering design, testing or procurement. With further academic training up to degree level, a technician may be in a position to fully qualify as an engineer.
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