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Outline of Job

The job of a civil engineering technician would be to provide aid and assistance to civil engineers on construction projects. They would play a part in the planning process, helping with technical designs, and assist throughout development to ensure construction runs smoothly and on time. A civil engineering technician will work on a range of projects, including structural, working on buildings and bridges, and environmental, involving the development and reconstruction of waste disposable and sewage treatments.  

Daily Activities

  • Carrying out construction surveys
  • Helping with technical designs, involving the use of computer software
  • Negotiating best price for supplies
  • Ensuring budget is abided by
  • Ensuring supplies arrive on time
  • Monitoring development process and setting down completion times for each phase
  • Working out labour rates
  • Estimating the amount of material and equipment required
  • Organising study of site materials like soil and rock
  • Aiding on-site civil engineer

Skills Required

  • Good communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Organised manner and practical approach
  • Ability to work as an individual and as part of a team
  • IT competency with design packages
  • Mathematic and scientific skills
  • Able to work to deadlines
  • Understanding of technical designs
  • Managerial skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Able to present ideas to others

Expected Earnings & Conditions

Typical starting salary is £17,000 – £19,000, with experienced civil engineering technicians able to earn around £20,000 – £26,000. Those moving up to senior level can in the region of £33,000. Salaries will depend on agency and its location, as well as individual level of experience. Organisations in London typically offer higher rates, but there are many agencies based around the country.

Working hours are usually nine to five, but deadlines may require you to work over-time. There is the chance to do shift-work, which can be done during the evening or at weekend. You would need to divide your time between working in the office and on-site. Travel to construction sites is often, and you will work in a host of weather conditions. Safety equipment will be required when working on-site.

Qualifications & Experience Required

A degree is not necessary but could be a valuable asset, especially if you wish to move up to higher positions in construction. Areas of interest would be courses in construction and engineering. The Apprenticeships Scheme is a good way to enter this profession, as it will give you the chance to gain on-site experience, and possibly be kept on by an employer should you show a good work ethic. Entry to the scheme requires you have a minimum of four GCSEs graded A-C, particularly in mathematics and science, or an equivalent qualification such as the BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) Diploma in Construction.

A college course based in construction and engineering is an alternative route, with evidence of on-site work experience a plus point. There are trainee positions obtainable from certain organisations. For information on availability of places see the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) and the Institution of Structural Engineers websites. Females wishing to gain employment in this role should see the Know Your Place website, a scheme to promote women working in construction.

Additional Training & Development

A civil engineering technician will usually start out in a trainee position. They will be able to learn from more experienced colleagues and from working on-site. Courses may also be available to improve skills and knowledge. They can then work to become qualified technicians, and with experience possibly move up to senior level. With time it is possible to specialise in one area such as estimating. There is also the potential to become a civil engineer with additional qualifications.

NVQs are a good way to boost your promotion potential, and are available in a range of courses. Areas of particular interest would be Engineering Technical Support, Transportation, and Construction Plant and Equipment Supervision. These qualifications can be done in your spare time. Another way to boost your credentials is to become a member with the Engineering Council in order to attain EngTech standing, improving your knowledge and promotion potential.