Employers seek to hire pipe drafters and designer range for various companies.

Among them are:

  • engineering and construction companies
  • operating companies
  • architectural firms
  • construction companies
  • fabrication companies


Engineering and construction companies provide the design and layout of a facility. Many clients award the engineering and design phase of a project to one firm and the construction phase to another. While many operating companies have a small engineering staff who handle the day-to-day needs of changing and updating drawings, such as adding a pump or other small equipment, they do not have the manpower to design and engineer a grass-roots plant or major add-on. Total plant design and construction may require hundreds of workers and may entai lyears in the design and construction of the plant.


Operating companies are the clients who engage in the day-to-day operation of a facility and who seek out the services of engineering and construction firms when expanding existing facilities or constructing a new project. Many operating companies keep a small engineering staff in the home office or at the plant job site.

Designers are exposed to the day-to-day operations of the facility and follow the construction of small projects. This situation may require that the designer have a broad range of knowledge and skills, as he or she often may be asked to design and layout the complete project. The design may prepare the foundation, steel, and piping drawings as needed, and may even do some electrical and instrumentation design when required.


Pipe drafters and designers employed by architectural engineering companies apply their skills to commercial and high-rise buildings. These may include multi-storey office buildings, hospitals, condominiums, shopping malls, or other similar structures. In addition to the industrial piping components such as those found in a typical boiler room, supplementary piping systems must be designed for plumbing, HVAC, and drainage systems that are also required in these structures.

Pipe drafters and designers must, therefore, be able to develop drawings such as:

  • piping flow sheets
  • Plot plans
  • Equipment location drawings
  • piping arrangement drawings
  • piping isometric drawings

Learning the “language” of piping prepares employees for advancement to other departments within the engineering firms. These departments include not only the drafting and design departments but also:

  • purchasing
  • Material control
  • Material take-off
  • Estimating
  • Pipe stress and pipe supports
  • CAD support
  • Project management


Many firms specialize only in the construction of plants. Here the piping designer may actually help oversee the construction of the facility while working under the supervision of a construction superintendent. The designer is often called upon to make small design changes resulting from mistakes discovered during the construction phase or as customers dictate changes. At the completion of the project, drawings are updated to reflect the many changes made during construction.

These drawings are called or referred to as “as-built “drawings.


Fabrication companies fabricate and ship much of the piping necessary for the construction of the plant to the job site. Many fabrication drawings called piping spool drawings must be prepared. These drawings give detailed dimensions from which welders can fabricate the pipe.

The drafter who prepares these drawings will not be required to have an extensive background in plant layout, however, the position provides the drafter with valuable experience in materials and material science.

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