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Building Technician

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Building Technician

The Work

As a building technician (also known as a construction estimator or site engineer), your job would be to support construction managers, surveyors and architects in a number of ways, such as:

  • estimating costs for materials, labour, equipment and overheads for use in bids for tenders
  • working with suppliers to negotiate and buy materials, equipment and labour at the most cost-effective prices
  • checking the quality of suppliers
  • helping to plan which methods to use for each construction stage
  • draughting construction plans and blueprints using computer aided design (CAD) software
  • monitoring building progress against agreed completion dates
  • preparing construction sites before work begins
  • supervising teams of building contractors on site.

You would also attend regular progress update meetings with site managers and clients.

Hours and Environment

You could work up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Evening and weekend working may be necessary to meet deadlines.

You would normally be office based, but you may have to make site visits when overseeing building preparations and supervising workers. You would be expected to wear protective clothing when on site.

Skills and Interests

  • excellent knowledge of construction methods and building materials
  • a clear understanding of health and safety, and Building Regulations
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to work well as part of a team
  • a responsible attitude
  • IT skills, such as CAD software
  • problem-solving skills
  • good organisational skills and the ability to meet deadlines.


You may be able to get into this career through a construction apprenticeship. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit

To get on to an apprenticeship, you may need GCSEs (grades A-C) in subjects like maths, English and design and technology, or equivalent vocational qualifications like a BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Construction.

You could also study for higher level qualifications, for example the BTEC HNC/HND in Construction. If you are planning to take a construction-related degree course, you may be able to apply for funding through the ConstructionSkills INSPIRE Scholarship Scheme. Contact ConstructionSkills for more details about the scheme and to find out how you might qualify.

If you already work in building crafts, for instance bricklaying, you may be able to qualify up to technician level with further training.

See the ConstructionSkills website for more information about construction careers and qualifications. The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote the construction industry as a career choice for women.



Once you are employed, you could take a range of work-based NVQ qualifications, for example:

  • Construction Site Supervision Level 3
  • Construction Site Management Level 4
  • Construction Contracting Operations at levels 3 and 4.

The Association of Building Engineers (ABE) has information on a range of NVQ qualifications similar to those listed above. See the ABE-Assess website for more details.

You could improve your career prospects by taking the Technical Staff Development and Qualification Programme, offered by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the National House Building Council. You would take units that most closely matched your job role. Options include:

  • processing and submitting tenders
  • procurement
  • planning
  • managing information
  • construction problems
  • dispute resolution.

For more details about on-the-job training, contact the CIOB and the National House Building Council.


You could find opportunities with national and international building firms and contractors, central and local government, and with organisations that carry out their own construction work. These include utility companies, major retailers and the NHS.

With experience you could move into construction management roles or specialise in technical areas such as estimating, draughting or buying.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)


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Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be between 14,500 and 16,500 a year.
  • Average salaries range from 17,000 to 25,000.
  • Experienced technicians can earn over 30,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.
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