Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Civil engineering technologists and technicians provide technical support and services to scientists, engineers and other professionals, or may work independently in fields such as structural engineering, municipal engineering, construction design and supervision, highways and transportation engineering, water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering and environmental protection. They are employed by consulting engineering and construction companies, public works, transportation and other government departments and in many other industries.
- Cannot complete project tasks as planned due to unfavourable environmental conditions and contractors' errors. For example, civil engineering technicians discover large amounts of ammonia in landfill sites slated to become housing developments. They excavate the landfills and refill excavated areas with more suitable materials. Design technologists may discover that materials with incorrect granularities have been laid around drainage pipes. They ask contractors to remove the materials and deliver the sizes and types of materials specified in the contractual agreements. (2)
- Cannot complete job tasks due to equipment malfunctions. For example, technologists may be unable to complete analyses of asphalt conditions because sub-surface testing equipment is malfunctioning. They check supply voltages and electrical connections. If needed, they call manufacturers' help lines for troubleshooting assistance, follow the directions provided, make the necessary adjustments and then check to ensure the equipment is working properly. (2)
- Find that site preparation and construction activities are causing nuisance for neighbours and damage to adjacent properties. For example, when homeowners complain of property damage, vibrations, and noise due to nearby construction work, construction technologists ask contractors to monitor seismic activity and to investigate the complaints. They work with the contractors to determine the causes of damage and noise and identify possible solutions. They recommend solutions to their supervisors. They may appear at public meetings to respond to the homeowners' complaints and outline actions that will be taken to address their concerns. (3)
- Choose materials for construction, maintenance and inspection projects. For example, municipal engineering assistants choose snow and ice removal chemicals. They consider the cost, ease of use and effectiveness of these products. Structural designers select fasteners and structural beams for oil and gas facilities. They confirm that all products meet or exceed safety standards and engineering specifications. (2)
- Select suppliers and contractors. For example, construction engineering technicians consider prices and distances to quarries and processing sites when selecting suppliers of stone materials. Construction technicians choose contractors for specific projects after considering contractors' qualifications and reputations for successes with similar work. (2)
- Choose engineering methods and tools. For example, soil testing technologists select water retention methods for sites after reviewing data on ground compositions, nearby fish-bearing streams and weather patterns. They select the test procedures, measuring tools and statistical methods for collecting the data required. (3)
- May choose preliminary design elements for civil engineering structures and systems. For example, design technologists may decide that sewer systems need sub-drains after reviewing data on soil drainage and the slopes and locations of existing hook-ups to municipal systems. They review data on rainfall histories, absorption and flow rates, numbers of houses in developments and distances travelled before waste is deposited into regional systems. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing
- Assess the suitability of construction materials and products. For example, highway technicians evaluate the suitability of materials to be used for rebuilding railway crossings by comparing the durability and costs to similar products. Construction technologists assess the suitability of metal pipes for use in storm sewers. They consider how the pipe will be placed, the size of the industrial development, soil conditions and the anticorrosive characteristics of differing brands of pipe. (3)
- Assess the need for data collection and research. For example, they determine the need for a geotechnical analysis prior to starting construction projects. They review the advantages and disadvantages of full analyses and the costs and results of analyses on previously completed projects that have similar designs and locations. (3)
Own Job Planning and Organizing
Civil engineering technologists and technicians are assigned tasks and timelines by engineers and project managers. They plan their work and establish priorities in order to complete job tasks on time. They frequently work on several projects at varying stages of completion. They may need to coordinate their efforts with those of co-workers when working on large projects. (3)
Planning and Organizing for Others
Civil engineering technologists and technicians who are project managers and coordinators are responsible for organizing and planning work for contractors and technicians. They assign responsibilities to workers and establish timelines to meet targets. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember standards and specifications, building code regulations and design procedures for their areas of expertise.
- Remember times and dates for project deadlines, appointments and deliveries.
- Find information about construction standards. For example, civil engineering technologists and technicians identify construction standards by reading municipal by-laws and engineering standards manuals and discussing requirements with their supervisors. (2)
- Find information about and specifications for engineering projects. For example, civil engineering technologists and technicians learn about new projects by speaking with project managers and engineers and by reading project specifications. Technologists who are project managers read tender packages and geotechnical reports to learn about work being undertaken by their organizations. (2)
- Find information about new materials and equipment. For example, project managers working for civil engineering companies may learn about new organic compounds used to attract sediment in holding ponds by reading articles on the Internet and speaking with colleagues. Project coordinators preparing sites for construction learn about vacuum trucks by searching the Internet and speaking with colleagues, equipment vendors and manufacturers. (2)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Although most design work is completed independently, civil engineering technologists and technicians occasionally need to coordinate and integrate job tasks with engineers, other technicians and contractors on project teams. They integrate job tasks with planners, engineers and construction superintendents when carrying out construction, inspection and data collection projects. (2)
Civil engineering technologists and technicians learn continuously in order to remain knowledgeable about changes in their industries. They learn through their day-to-day work activities and discussions with co-workers, colleagues and contractors. They also learn by reading municipal, provincial, federal and industry standards and regulations for their areas of work. They may attend training courses on computers and software, health and safety and construction management. (3)