Fabrication Engineer (Heavy)


A heavy fabrication engineer uses thick metal plates, pipes and shaped pieces (sections) to make and repair such things as the framework of buildings, ships’ hulls, bridges, boilers, storage tanks and cranes.

Tasks and Duties:

  • studies drawings, plans or patterns of structures to be repaired or made
  • marks the shapes and other measurements on the metal
  • pulls, bends and forms the metal plate and sections using heavy machinery
  • joins the metal parts together by bolting or welding
  • may seal the seams of the metal
  • smooths the edges and fixes taps, tubes and valves in place
  • installs boilers, containers and other structures.


Heavy fabrication engineers need technical skills and an eye for detail. They must be skilled in interpreting drawings and making calculations, and they must be able to follow instructions.


Heavy fabrication engineers need to know about metals and their properties, welding processes and maths (especially geometry). They also need to know about safety procedures and the use and care of equipment.

Personal Qualities:

Heavy fabrication engineers should be responsible, careful, adaptable and practical. They should be comfortable with heights.

Physical Requirements:

Heavy fabrication engineers need good hand-eye co-ordination and steady hands. They should also be fit, healthy and reasonably strong.

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 in English, maths, science, graphics and workshop technology.

Entry Requirements:

A driver’s license is generally required.

Useful Experience

Welding work, technical drawing experience or work in an engineering workshop is useful experience for heavy fabrication engineers.
Training on the job

Heavy fabrication engineers gain many of their skills while they are on the job.

Work Places

Heavy fabrication engineers carry out much of their work in an engineering workshop. They also work in railway yards, shipyards, oilrigs, power stations and on building sites.


Heavy fabrication engineers earn between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, more with overtime.

Further Information

Employment opportunities in this occupation are growing in Southland and there is currently a shortage of trained Fabrication Heavy workers. Staff turnover is low in most workplaces. This overall picture is not expected to change in the next five years.