Evolution of CAD Roles – A Legacy but Still Relevant to EPC Companies

With the introduction of CAD software a few decades back and its gradual progress from the architectural point of view, a new role became a necessity to manage the day-to-day smooth functioning of the applications. These roles are termed differently in different companies viz. CAD coordinator, CAD Admin, Engineering Automation, Project delivery support/services, etc.

People predominantly in the piping discipline started taking up the roles just because the piping department is the largest consumer and sometimes it is their necessity which drives the roles. Gradually these roles became more and more multi-disciplinary and soon became a new specialized discipline.  

The Evolution of the CAD Industry

By way of incremental digitalization over the years, the need for more IT-centric skill sets and then engineering-centric skills started dominating the profile. Hence, IT consulting firms started venturing into it successfully. The business is mainstream hence there is a consistent requirement from the EPC companies for such roles.

As long as there are EPC companies and they have projects to execute for their clients/customers, there is a need for CAD administrators.

Primary Administrator Roles Required in CAD

The team of CAD administrators can be divided into these sub-teams : 

  1. CAD Administrator: Either have the skill set of S3D from Hexagon or AVEVA E3D or both. CAD administrators oversee the technical aspects of software utilization, customization, and support.
  2. SPRD/Catalog administrators: These professionals focus on creating and maintaining piping items from specifications, ensuring accurate representation within the CAD environment.
  3. Developers: Specifically valid for S3D to create/customize menus or add-ons and other automation activities by understanding the architecture of the main software like S3D/E3D.
  4. SPID Administrator: Responsible for the administration of Smart P&ID software (Hexagon), ensuring accurate and coordinated piping and instrumentation diagrams.
  5. SPEL Administrator: Tasked with the administration of Smart Electrical software (Hexagon), SPEL administrators manage electrical design and data integrity.
  6. SPI Administrator: Focusing on Smart Instrumentation Administration (Hexagon), these professionals manage instrumentation-related tasks and data integration.
  7. AVEVA Engineering Administrator ( AVEVA) or SPF Administrator ( Hexagon): For companies utilizing AVEVA software or Hexagon’s SPF, administrators ensure the effective utilization of these tools in the design process.


As we can clearly see, there are two major players in Plant design software – Hexagon and AVEVA. All the products belong to either Hexagon or AVEVA, but Hexagon has an edge as it dominates on P&ID, Electrical and Instrumentation tools.

So with the roles given above, we can create a team and position ourselves to compete with already established players. The evolution of CAD roles within EPC companies exemplifies the adaptability of the construction industry in response to technological advancements. From a simple necessity to manage CAD applications, these roles have grown into specialized disciplines, essential for efficiently executing projects. As EPC projects continue to evolve, CAD administrators and their sub-teams remain instrumental in driving productivity, accuracy, and collaboration across complex design and engineering endeavors.

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