Becoming a construction worker

September 30, 2016

There are five sectors that make up the construction industry: residential, commercial, heavy civil, industrial and environmental. Construction workers are involved in all aspects of construction work, from hiring the skip bin hire through to the clean up at the end.

If you have decided that you’d like to work in construction, you will need to make a decision about which type of construction worker you would like to be.

There are several areas of construction that people can work in, and although some of them require similar skillsets, all of them have very different daily tasks. Here are some of the roles you can undertake if you’d like to work on a construction site:

General construction worker

A general construction worker assumes a wide range of jobs over the course of the day. They are there from the beginning of a project, helping to source skip bin hire, filling it with construction debris and cleaning and preparing the site ready for building. They will help to load or unload building materials, dig trenches, backfill holes or compact earth to prepare for the construction to take place.

A construction worker will also build the scaffolding, as well as help set up any barricades or other temporary structures. They will operate equipment and machinery such as jackhammers, concrete mixers, pavement breakers and surveying equipment.

If a construction worker wishes to undergo training in a more specialist area, they can learn how to run hydraulic boring machines that are used to dig out tunnels, use explosives, operate robotic pipe cutters and understand how to use laser beam equipment for placing pipes. Specialist construction workers will often work only ever work on sites to do with their skillset, such as: digging tunnels and mineshafts, building highways and roads or tearing down buildings. As a construction worker you may choose to become certified in the field of asbestos removal, or of chemicals and lead.

As well as all of the above, a construction worker will also often help other tradespeople carry out their duties. For example, on any given day, a construction worker might help an electrician, a plumber or a carpenter.

As a construction worker you can get a job working for an employee in the construction industry or you may choose to go out on your own and become self-employed.

Construction manager

A construction manager is the person who is in charge of the overall building project. They need to make sure the project is completed on time and within budget. They can also be referred to as site managers.

They are part of the job from early on, helping clients choose the other tradespeople they will be working with, as well as the architect.

Areas a construction manager is responsible for include:

Overall Project Planning: As mentioned above, the construction manager will be in charge of planning the project so that it runs on time and within budget.

Costs: The construction manager is in charge of planning the budget before construction even begins. And then, once work commences, they are in charge of keeping on top of costs from start to finish. They manage the bottom line as unexpected costs or fluctuations occur.

Safety: The construction manager needs to make sure the project is completed within all safety requirements. They also need to be on top of safety during the building process, while it is still just a construction site. There are so many potential safety hazards on a building site, so it is vital to have one person who is in charge of ensuring everything is done within all of the correct processes and guidelines so that no one gets hurts.

Contracts: The construction manager is in charge of the client contracts. From making sure they are all signed at the beginning through to ensuring everyone sticks to the agreed upon guidelines within the contract.

A job done well: As well as looking after all of the points above, a construction manager is responsible for ensuring the entire project is completed to the highest quality. They will have input into which contractors are hired to do the jobs and will also be overseeing those contractors to make sure they are doing a good job.

A construction manager position takes a lot of skill, experience and knowledge.

Construction painter

Nearing the end of the job, a construction painter will be called in to apply paint, stain or sealers to whatever structure has just been built. It may be a residential apartment block, an office building, a bridge or even an oil rig. Because a construction painter is required to get up close to each part of a construction, they often find themselves having to work in precarious situations such as balancing on scaffolding, using ropes, cables and harnesses in extreme heights or working inside large tanks where they need to wear special gear to stop breathing in the fumes. Construction painters have a high rate of injury or illness, amongst the highest of all occupations, due to falls from ladders, inhaling fumes and irritants and muscles strains from lifting. It is not a job for the faint hearted.