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Construction and the Built Environment

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Architecture, Surveying and Planning

  • Architects work in the construction industry designing new buildings, restoring and conserving old buildings, and developing new ways of using existing buildings. They are involved in construction projects from the earliest stages, preparing and presenting design proposals, and right through to completion.
  • Architectural technicians/technologists work closely with architects and other building professionals, providing architectural design services.They may design part of a project, preparing and presenting design proposals using computer-aided design (CAD) and traditional methods. Architectural technicians/technologists also evaluate and advise on refurbishment, repair, reuse, recycling and deconstruction of buildings. An architectural technologist has a broader range of skills than a technician, and will contribute more to the design and construction process, including contract management.
  • Chartered surveyors work in many different types of construction. They may be:
    • Building surveyors, who advise on the design and construction of buildings
    • Construction surveyors, who oversee construction projects
    • Residential Property surveyors, who advise on the purchase, sale and development of houses and apartments
    • Quantity surveyors, who assess and manage the costs related to building projects.
  • Surveying technicians support chartered surveyors by carrying out a range of practical tasks including measuring, logging and interpreting data, drawing up charts, maps and diagrams, and valuing property and equipment.
  • Home inspectors are qualified and accredited to produce Home Condition Reports (HCRs) and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) on residential properties offered for sale in England and Wales. HCRs are one of the optional documents within Home Information Packs (HIPs), which have to be provided by sellers, or their agents ,on all homes coming onto the market. EPCs by law have to be completed for all properties offered for sale or rent.
  • Planning is about preparing plans to shape the future of our towns, cities and rural areas. Planners prepare long-term plans, make proposals for new developments or examine the proposals of others, and give professional advice to decision makers, such as government departments and local councillors

Building Services

  • Building services engineers are responsible for designing, installing and maintaining all kinds of systems, including heating and lighting, refrigeration, acoustics, air conditioning and ventilation, water supplies and plumbing, in new and existing buildings.
  • Cavity wall insulation technicians insulate the space between the walls of new and existing buildings by pumping in insulating materials to make them more energy efficient.
  • Heating and ventilating engineers work alongside other members of a construction team, designing and supervising the installation of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems in both new and refurbished buildings.
  • Refrigeration engineers design and install refrigeration and air conditioning systems. They are responsible for creating and maintaining a comfortable, energy-efficient and safe environment inside buildings, and ensuring that chilled or frozen produce is kept at the correct temperature.
  • Thermal insulation engineers play a vital part in energy conservation. They work on commercial sites, such as offices, factories, hospitals and schools, and large-scale industrial projects, including petrochemical works, power stations, oil refineries and ships. They specialise in insulating hot pipes and boilers to keep heat in or in refrigeration and air conditioning.

Civil and Structural Engineering

Civil and structural engineers are involved in the design and construction of a range of structures such as coastal and marine, environmental, airports/ports, power and water facilities, large buildings, bridges and tunnels.

  • Civil engineering involves creating, improving and protecting the environment in which we live. Civil engineers are involved in seeing an engineering project from conception, design stage, construction, through to completion and its maintenance.
  • Civil engineering technicians provide technical support to civil engineers in the design, construction and management of a variety of projects, from widening a motorway to building the world's tallest structure.
  • Structural engineers often work alongside architects, and are responsible for working out how buildings will be made to stand up to the stresses and strains placed upon them. For example they test models on the computer to ensure that the structure can withstand forces such as wind, gravity and earth tremors.

General Construction

General construction work covers the majority of the jobs in this sector and includes a wide range of different skilled and semi- skilled professions:

  • Project or construction supervisors and managers are employed right across the industry. They supervise all the workers, including contractors who come on to site, to make sure a building project is completed safely, on time and within budget.
  • Skilled craft and technician level jobs including; bricklayer, carpenter, painter and decorator, roofer. Often self-employed, skilled and qualified craft or technician level workers are employed, or contracted, by a range of companies and/or private individuals to carry out specific skilled work. A painter and decorator may be employed, for example, by a large house-building company to decorate internally and externally all the houses in a new development; or a plumber may be employed, for example, by a private home owner to build a new bathroom.
  • Multi-skilled general construction workers have a wide range of different job-related skills - although they may not have all these skills to a high level. The growing popularity of modern construction methods - where a building is pre-fabricated (built partly in a factory) and then delivered to the building site partly constructed - means that it has to be finished off on site. Multi skilled general construction workers would use a range of skills such as carpentry and plumbing to finish the construction project - they would not usually be fully trained in more than one trade.
  • Construction operatives work as part of a team of skilled and multi-skilled construction workers who along with a construction manager build houses, factories, offices, roads, bridges, airports and other structures.