As part of our Women in BIM series of posts, we are going to take a closer look at some of the roles available in the construction industry. From the qualifications and training, you will need, to progression opportunities – plus a behind-the-scenes view from the relevant person at The CAD Room. Everything you need to make a better-informed decision about what the perfect role for you might be.
In this post, we are going to take a closer look at the role of Trainee CAD/BIM Technician – with the help of Dionne who currently works in this role at The CAD Room.
Trainee CAD / BIM Technician Role
A CAD/BIM Technician will use their engineering and mathematical skills, as well as IT knowledge, to provide an accurate representation of a building or its parts.
You will use CAD software to create technical drawings and plans for the parts and products used in the construction industry. You will be working with architects to ensure you have a full understanding of their initial building designs, and then you will be responsible for producing accurate, detailed 2D and 3D technical drawings of them. These drawings are really important for construction projects, as they not only help with calculating cost and feasibility but help create the blueprints for the manufacturing and installation of parts.
Day to day tasks may include:
- Assisting engineers with the production of drawings
- Collating information which is spread across multiple sets of drawings and producing one set of computer models
- Designing technical solutions for buildings
- Production of structural drawings, models and schedules using software such as Autodesk REVIT
What to Expect
This job role is mainly office based, and you can spend long hours at a computer screen so you will need good levels of concentration. However, Dionne at The CAD Room recommends that you also try and go on-site visits as much as you can. Her background was in Architecture, which is a more visual discipline, whereas BIM tends to deal with MEP which can’t be seen with the naked eye when a building is finished. Going on-site visits, therefore, lets you get a better idea of what different pipes and valves look like so that you become more successful at rendering them in 2D or 3D. In fact when we spoke to Dionne she mentioned that she had recently had to deal with the fact her boiler wasn’t working, and when she was on the phone to the maintenance guy he was telling her to look at various things, and she realised that she had drawn them at work and knew exactly what he was talking about. She said, “All these technical things he was saying, I was familiar with!”
You will also need to be good at working collaboratively, as you will be working with not only clients and architects to understand their design fully, you will also be working with other technicians as well. Work will also be project based, meaning you will have to provide updates regularly as well as working to a tight deadline and dealing with changes to plans at the last minute. You will also more likely than not be working on multiple projects at the same time.
Qualifications Needed to Become a CAD/BIM Technician
There are a number of routes to entry to the role of CAD/BIM Technician, but most positions will require a degree or equivalent in a relevant field such as architectural technology, construction or IT. Dionne from The CAD Room, for example, actually studied Architecture at University and learnt how to use AutoCAD as part of this course – which came in useful for her BIM role. Gaining a position as a Trainee CAD/BIM Technician at The CAD Room meant that she had the support she needed to learn more about the MEP side of the role – including taking a CIBSE course.
From a Trainee CAD / BIM Technician role you can progress into more senior CAD / BIM Technician role which may involve overseeing the work in the design office, managing a team of technicians and working on larger projects. You could also choose to specialise in BIM and become a BIM Manager eventually or move to a different role such as a civil engineer or design engineer. There are lots of opportunities out there.
If you would like to find out more about the role of Trainee CAD/BIM Technician, or see if we have any positions available – check out our careers page.