Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator

A Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator has a wide knowledge of using computer software to create project designs.  Aside from the architectural industry, CAD Operators are also needed in other industries, mechanical engineering, garden and landscape design, lighting systems for public and private buildings.

Within local government the main purpose of the job is to design and deliver good quality and cost effective projects, attaining and maintain a high standard in terms of design quality and building aesthetics, efficiently administering construction projects and providing a service and an end product that meets or exceeds the expectation of the client.

Work Environment
The work mostly is office based with occasional visits to existing Council buildings or to live construction sites.

Daily Activities

The specific responsibilities of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator will vary depending on the size and type of Council and the projects involved.  Duties could include:

  • being the lead project officer on one or more projects at a given time; 
  • taking and developing a design brief; 
  • establishing and agreeing a delivery programme; 
  • developing  outline designs; 
  • taking the creative lead in the design development process including defining building form and building aesthetics, refining ergonomics and spatial configuration and developing finishes and colour proposals; 
  • managing the input of junior support staff working to your direction; 
  • briefing and overseeing the input of other collaborators including structural engineers, building services engineers, BREEAM assessors, landscape architects and ecologists; 
  • chairing and minuting design team meetings; 
  • consulting and communicating with the client and other stake holders throughout the project; 
  • assisting and directing Quantity Surveyors in producing a budget cost at commencement and advising Quantity Surveyors of any material changes that occur; 
  • collating planning and building regulation documents; 
  • producing working architectural drawings including general arrangement drawings, elevations, technical details, materials and colours together with associated technical specifications; 
  • assisting Quantity Surveyors in producing tender documentation and administering the tender process; 
  • chairing site progress meetings and administering the construction contract; 
  • assisting the Quantity Surveyor in agreeing a final account; 
  • assisting other lead project officers with all of the above where required; 
  • supervisory responsibility for project staff. 

Skills & Interests
Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator will have:

  • proficiency in the use of AutoCad; 
  • proficiency in the use of MS Word and MS Excel;
  • the ability to read and understand construction plans; 
  • knowledge of basic algebra and geometry which is used in calculating figures and amounts, including proportions, percentages, area circumference and volume; 
  • ability to interpret instruction either written, oral, diagram, or schedule form; 
  • design experience covering a range of building types; 
  • knowledge of current building regulations including DDA accessibility, fire regulations; 
  • knowledge of BREEAM; 
  • knowledge of current planning processes;
  • the ability to be personable, helpful and cooperative when dealing with others.

Entry Requirements
Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator normally have a HNC or HND in architectural design, design technology, building surveying or similar discipline.  These courses provide students with the necessary skills to become effective and integral members of design teams and to contribute to the detailed design and construction of a range of building types.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
The Computer Aided Design (CAD) Operator has become an important part of the business community.  Modern computer aided design methods, in addition to be being able to provide designs in a relatively short period of time, have also proven to be more cost efficient.  It is likely because of this that there will be an increased use of CAD and computerised design in future years.

Further Information & Services
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) 
SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)  
Tomorrow's Engineers 

Careers Wales have produced a Spotlight article on careers in creative industries:  

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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