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This article is about the Engineer's Build and Demolish tools. For the weapon type, see Weapons.

The PDAs are default weapons for the Engineer, consisting of the Construction PDA and Destruction PDA, which the Engineer uses to respectively construct or destroy his various buildings. The Construction PDA is a calculator-style device, whereas the Destruction PDA looks similar to a stereotypical hand-held detonation device.

These gadgets are not regular weapons, as they cannot be used to attack, mainly serving as a visual cue to players. Upon selecting one of the PDAs, a superimposed HUD appears in the middle of the player's view, allowing the player to either build or destroy buildings. Though it lists all four available buildings, only the highlighted choices can be selected. Selection of the buildings is done through the preset numbered keys.

The selection keys only function on the appropriate PDA under the right conditions. Should the player have insufficient Metal to construct a building or have already deployed it, they are denied access to that slot on the Construction PDA. Conversely, the Destruction PDA destroys buildings owned by the player that have already been deployed, including buildings that are still under construction or performing an upgrade. The Destruction PDA cannot, however, be used to destroy buildings currently being sapped by a Sapper of any kind.

If a player chooses to construct an available building from the Construction PDA, the player model then appears to hold a Toolbox, and the player sees a template on the ground in front of them. This template shows the orientation of the chosen building. While the template is visible, secondary fire adjusts the building's orientation by 90 degrees counter-clockwise, and primary fire starts the build process.

Pressing the last weapon used key or primary fire key cancels either PDA menu, and returns the player to their previous weapon.


Console Information

Note: The console versions do not have a separate Destruction PDA. Both are instead are handled by the Construction PDA, which serves as a single PDA for both functions. After choosing the proper weapon slot to activate the PDA, the player uses the right trigger or 'R2' to construct the selected building if enough Metal is available, and the left trigger or 'L2' to demolish the selected building if it has already been built.

Strange variant

Update history

September 26, 2007 Patch
  • Fixed some truncated strings in the destroy menu.

February 28, 2008 Patch

  • Changed PDA menus to accept keys bound to "slot1", "slot2", etc., and "slot10" cancels.
  • Fixed Engineer being able to detonate buildings that are being sapped.

January 19, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed the Engineer PDA view models (build/destroy) having RED skins while on the BLU team.

March 22, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added Construction PDA slot to the Engineer's loadout screen.
  • [Undocumented] Made the Construction PDA nameable.
  • [Undocumented] Construction PDA and Demolish PDA now appear in backpack when viewing stock items.

September 4, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Fixed PDAs using the wrong animations.

March 12, 2013 Patch

  • Added Strange quality for the Construction PDA.

June 11, 2014 Patch #1

  • [Undocumented] Added a white line above the names of the buildings on the PDA menus.

June 11, 2014 Patch #2

  • Fixed the Engineer's build menu staying open after changing class.

June 18, 2014 Patch (Love & War Update)

  • Converted the PDA models to use the c_models system.

December 10, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed the Engineer PDA being stored as the last weapon used.

March 28, 2018 Patch #1

  • Fixed the Engineer's PDA not always honoring the "Use minimized viewmodels" option.

December 15, 2023 Patch

  • Fixed the Engineer's Destruction PDA using the wrong animation in the 3D HUD player model (community fix from gidi30).

Unused content

  • The item schema contains a list of ranks related to 'Health Dispensed', intended to be used by the PDA's strange variant. However, it instead simply ranks up based on Sentry kills and uses generic names and values.
  • A texture for a generic PDA exists, as v_pda, this file dates back to PatchVersion, making it an old leftover.


  • If a Strange Construction PDA is equipped in Mann vs. Machine, the Engineer can lose upgrades and the money spent on them if they are using the Upgrade Station at the same time as another player using the Engineer's Dispenser or Teleporter.
  • If a Construction PDA is in use when hit by a object or projectile, the options to build disappear.
  • The Destruction PDA does not always play the draw animation.


  • Switching between PDAs and the last weapon active does not result in the usual delay caused by weapon switching.
  • The Pip-Boy cosmetic changes the look of the Construction and Destruction PDAs' superimposed HUD.


  • The Construction PDA is based off the Texas Instrument's TI-2500 Series Datamath Calculators, which first appeared in 1971.
  • The tf_build_menu_controller_mode console variable can make the PDA act as both a build and demolish tool, like on consoles.
  • The pda_click console command displays the Engineer pressing a button on the PDA, only visible to other players. Using this command does not construct/destroy a building, and is just for miscellaneous reasons. Also, the animation does not perform if the player is crouching.


See also