There are many different types of construction sites, ranging from residential to small commercial, up to towering skyscrapers or large malls. Each construction site will require different people on hand to help get the job done, but there are some tradesmen who will be found at almost every construction site around. These are:
Construction manager or project manager
These guys run by many different names; construction manager, site manager, project manager, site agents, building manager … the list goes on! But they all have the same important job to do; keep the construction work running smoothly and on time.
As all of the titles suggest, this person is in charge of managing absolutely everything from the start of the project until the end, while keeping within budget and to a timeframe.
A construction manager doesn’t need to be formally educated, but most of them are and it does help in landing the good roles. Usually, they will obtain a Diploma of Building and Construction, a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field or a Certificate IV in Building and Construction.
If you are ever on a construction site, or if you are building a home, and you have a question, the best person to speak to would be the project manager. As they are in charge of co-ordinating all of the trades and labour resources, they are the ones who can get things done or changed as you need it. They will be part of the construction project from the moment the plans are being drawn up. They are there to help arrange ordering and delivery of building materials from the skip bin hire to the tiles and they will be there until the last person walks out of the door and the keys are handed over to you.
A carpenter will have a huge role to play in any construction site. Under the overall banner of carpenters, you will find people who specialise in other areas such as cabinet maker, joiner, roofer, framer and cladder. There are so many aspects of a new construction that will require some form of carpentry work, so you will often see a carpenter or two at the construction site.
Carpentry is a skilled trade that requires both education as well as hands on physical experience. It is most common to gain your carpentry trade through an apprenticeship. In fact, in Australia you are required to complete the full three to fours years’ formal apprenticeship. There are also ways you can gain further knowledge such as doing high school programs, seminars, certificate programs, online classes, associate degrees and advanced college degrees. Some of this may be required in your apprenticeship but most of it will be done as pre-apprenticeship training. In other words, you take these courses to give you a basic understanding before starting your apprenticeship.
Another common person to see on a construction site is a plumber.
Plumbers will be used to install and maintain anything to do with water and drainage – such as connecting taps for drinking water and also drainage for sewage to leave the building. There are other tasks that people may not realise require the help of a plumber. For example, they also help connect and maintain plumbing used in heating, cooking and anything that uses gas lines.
In Australia, each state has different licensing requirements, so it will depend where you are what you need to do to gain your license. However, it is safe to say that in general a four-year apprenticeship is the best place to start.
It is safe to say that on any construction site you will see an electrician at some point or other. Usually, an electrician will come in and do a lot of the wiring at a very early stage while there are no walls or roof in the way. This is so they can set things up behind the scenes so to speak. Once almost the entire building job is finished, the electrician will come back to install the switches, light fittings and the electricals in the kitchen and heating. So they will often be one of the first people on the job as well as one of the last.
The electrician industry in Australia is strictly regulated due to the possible dangerous nature of the job. That isn’t just for the electrician, but for the customer as well. Faulty wiring or dodgy jobs could result in electrocution or house fires with disastrous consequences. Therefore, licensing is mandatory and different licenses are needed to different types of electrical work.
Other trades you might see on a construction site
As well as the above trades, you will also come across these tradies on most construction sites: plasterer, painter, carpet layer, insulation installer and waterproofer. Some of these jobs may also be carried out by your builder or project manager as part of their tasks.
In a residential build, you will very likely come across a landscaper who will come in at the end and put the finishing touches on the entire project. They might require a skip bin and some trucks to haul away leftover soil or debris left from the build and their job can be as simple as laying new turf to as complicated as building retaining walls and water run-off solutions.
In a commercial build, you will very likely see some kind of heavy equipment operator. If a job requires heavy machinery such as forklifts, drilling machines, elevators or compressor plants, it is essential to have the skilled tradesperson to run these machines.