Career Pathways

 

Career Pathways

 

There are over 70+ careers in construction! Here’s a few of them!

 

Bricklayer

A bricklayer is probably one of the first trades that comes to mind when you think about construction.

If you’re practical, like being outdoors and take pleasure in seeing the end result of your work, then bricklaying may be for you.

Bricklayers take building plans and turn them into reality, using masonry materials such as bricks, tiles, concrete, mortar, cement or granite blocks. A bricklayer can build a wall, chimney, arch, fireplace or a whole house.  There are a number of specialist areas bricklayers may enter such as repairing existing brickwork, limestone repair and rising damp, or ornamental and decorative brickwork.

Bricklayers are most often sub-contractors, working for a range of builders and/or construction companies. Bricklayers usually work in teams, often employing and training apprentices.

By undertaking further studies, bricklayers can become registered builders or advance to positions within the building industry such as construction manager or site supervisor.

Painter & Decorator

Do you enjoy using colours to create a whole new environment or set a mood in a room?

Do you appreciate design, colour and detail, and enjoy seeing the results of your handiwork?

Most people know that painting a room or their entire home is time consuming and think that it is a task they can readily perform. Until, of course, they discover their ladder isn’t tall enough; the flaky paint on the ceiling; damp patches in walls or that the brushes and rollers they bought for a bargain at the hardware store shed bristles, fluff and leave unsightly streaks on the newly painted surface. And all of this is before they have to clean the thinning brushes and soggy rollers.

A qualified painter and decorator will use correct procedures, materials, products and finishes to deal with those issues of flaky paint and damp walls. They’ll also know how to deal with unexpected or hazardous conditions, such as removing old, lead-based paints. The end result? A clean, safe professional finish!

The finish created by a painter enhances the atmosphere and look of a room or building.  From contemporary finishes to old world charm, a painter is responsible for the “feel” and ambience of the project. They can also offer advice on colours and combinations as well as suggest the latest in decorating techniques.

Painters and decorators apply paint, varnish, wallpaper and other finishes to decorate, protect and maintain interior and exterior surfaces of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings and other structures.  They calculate the quantity of materials needed for the job, provide cost estimates, repair and prepare work surfaces and match colours using a range of tints.

There are two main categories of painting: domestic, which involves the internal and external painting of residential homes; and commercial and industrial painting, which is the painting and preservation of industrial structures and equipment.

 

Fact Sheet

Builder’s Labourer

Builder’s labourers assist tradespeople on construction sites by doing a range of manual labouring jobs.

They may specialise by working with particular tradespeople as a trade’s assistant, such as bricklayer’s labourer or carpenter’s assistant.  They may also develop a career in specialist construction areas such as steelfixing, dogging, rigging, scaffolding or aspects of concreting by undertaking specific, certified training.  On completion of a job, builder’s labourers may have to apply to new sites for their next job depending on the continuity of work provided by their employer.

Do you like to keep fit?  Are you safety conscious?  Do you work well with others?  Do you prefer to work outdoors?  Then maybe you’d like to find out more about becoming a builder’s labourer.

 

Fact Sheet

Concreter

Concrete is one of the most durable materials used in construction and has been in use since ancient times.

Once set, concrete – a mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel and water – becomes the foundation for everything from decorative patios and floors to huge dams or kilometres of roadways.

Concreters pour, spread, compact, finish and cure concrete for buildings, roads, tunnels, bridges and marine structures using hand tools, vibrators, pumps, trowelling machinery and other power tools.  They may specialise as concrete finishers on concrete footings and slabs and may also work in tilt-up construction, which involves laying concrete and finishing it on site.  There is a growing industry in pre-cast concrete where concrete elements are cast and cured in factories and then transported to the site for erection.

 

Fact Sheet

Crane Operator

Do you get a buzz out of the skill tester at your local amusement arcade? Does your dexterity and precision with the

controls and claw win you a prize every time?  Then why not look skyward for a job with a view?

Crane operators operate mobile or stationary cranes to lift, move and position machinery, equipment and other large objects at locations such as construction sites, wharves and shipyards.  In the construction industry, crane operators may operate cranes such as tower cranes which are erected and dismantled on site and mobile cranes, which are usually truck-mounted.

Crane operators require specialist training and certification for each type or class of crane used in construction. Even though they may be sitting in a secure cab way up in the sky, crane operators work in teams with riggers and doggers; specialist, skilled workers who maintain constant communication with the person in the sky about load security, movement and position.

Landscape Artist

The built environment is not only about houses, offices, hotels and other structures.

Our surroundings are important too.

The plaza where we have a morning coffee break, the parks in which we enjoy a picnic and even the Perth Zoo have all been influenced by the work of landscape architects.  Today most construction projects have a landscape architect as a vital member of the design team.

Landscape architects plan and design open space areas for projects such as parks, schools, hospitals, roads, malls, plazas, sports complexes, holiday resorts, hotel complexes, shopping centres, airports, housing subdivisions, national parks, playgrounds and commercial, industrial and residential sites.  Landscape architecture combines creative design with a knowledge of materials and techniques used in landscape construction and engineering and an understanding of natural and social systems.

Project Manager

Modern construction is a complex, highly organised business that can deal with large capital investments,

sophisticated construction techniques and highly skilled labour.

Every construction project is different, with new challenges in planning, design, construction and commissioning.

A project manager takes overall responsibility for the planning, management, co-ordination and financial control of a construction project, whether it be a residential complex, hospital, football stadium or freeway extension.

They manage the overall time, cost and quality of the project, provide technical support to office staff, supervisors and suppliers, control and coordinate adherence to building codes and ensure client requirements are met in accordance with contract documentation.

Other responsibilities include scheduling construction job flow, selection of subcontractors and providing assistance with site inspections to determine site costs.

Contract Administrator

There’s a lot more to building a new home than selecting the block of land and choosing the house design.

Bricks, tiles, exterior paint colours, laminates and any alternatives within the design of the house all have to be carefully considered and chosen before construction begins.

Contract administrators assist clients with the materials and colour selections process during a consultation called pre-start.  They assist clients with understanding building contracts, attend to design amendments before and during construction through liaison with the builder, and ensure the job flow and construction process is maintained.  Contract administrators ensure a maximum level of customer service is delivered to clients.

Foreman

A foreperson has a solid knowledge of all phases of construction and supervises workers across single trade

occupations on large construction sites, or teams of different trades on smaller sites.  In addition to the supervision of workers, a foreperson must have good problem-solving skills to deal with challenges that may arise on-site.

A foreperson may have commenced a career in construction through an apprenticeship.

Excavator Operator

An excavator is a bit like the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the construction industry. King of the machinery.

It’s strong neck rears up and bears down; its massive steel jaws chew and grind through tonnes of earth, concrete and steel.

An excavator operator skilfully controls and drives these beasts, digging, moving and loading earth, rock or other materials. They dig trenches within minute tolerances for installation of services such as water, gas and drainage. They break ground and clear sites for new construction projects, manoeuvre the machines in restricted spaces, tear down decommissioned structures and load trucks safely and efficiently.

 

Fact Sheet

Rigger

Head for heights required! If you don't mind working at heights up to and over 300 metres,

are safety conscious and have good communication skills then you might like to consider a job that gets things all rigged up.

In the construction industry, riggers are the people who expertly use ropes, pulleys, cables, chains, and other gear to move a heavy load from one place to another. Their job is highly specialised using equipment specially designed for moving, lifting and positioning machinery and gear weighing hundreds of tons.There are three certificate levels for rigging, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.  Each certificate is a prerequisite for the next level and allows the rigger to work with more complex equipment. A basic rigger will mainly be erecting steel columns and roofing for simple buildings such as factories.  Intermediate riggers work in concrete construction and on more complex construction sites. An advanced rigger gets to work on even more complicated projects.

 

Fact Sheet

Plumber

How many of us could do without clean, fresh drinking water from a tap or the luxury of a hot shower?

Plumbing is an essential service, especially in towns and cities where the health and well being of people is safeguarded by the maintenance of high standards of water supply and sanitation.

Plumbers assemble, install and repair pipes, fittings and fixtures that carry water and gas, according to specifications.  They work with piping systems, install sinks, toilets, dishwashers, hot water systems and other kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Their work can include the installation and maintenance of pumps, water storage tanks, grey water systems, septic systems, drains and systems to conduct chemicals, corrosive fluids, oil, compressed air or industrial wastes.  Plumbers may also specialise in installing and repairing gas appliances used for heating, cooking or hot water supply and are called Gasfitters.

Plumbers require a license in order to work in general plumbing.  Gasfitters are a specialist area of work and a plumber must be specifically licensed to operate in the fields of gasfitting and LP gas.

 

Fact Sheet

Electrician

Do you think you’re a switched on type of person? Then consider a career as a sparky.

Electricity is essential for light, power, air-conditioning and refrigeration and without electricians, there would be no lights, no computers, and no TVs plugged into our walls.

Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical wiring systems that are designed to deliver electricty to heating, lighting, security and telecommunications systems in buildings. Electricians read and interpret electrical or electronics diagrams, install cables, connect switches and test various appliances and circuits to ensure their safety.

In Western Australia, the job of an electrician is a regulated trade for safety reasons, requiring a trade qualification, testing, registration and licensing.

 

Fact Sheet

Wall & Floor Tiler

Wall and floor tiling may sound straightforward, but it can be a very complex job to create

a contemporary minimalist look for an apartment or the traditional character of warm Tuscan tones for an al fresco using coloured and textured tiles.

Tilelaying is a creative trade, and it’s useful to have a feeling for space when setting out tiles to see how it’s all going to work when transforming walls and floors into decorative masterpieces that will last for years.

Wall and floor tilers cover surfaces in domestic kitchens, bathrooms and balconies as well as industrial premises, swimming pools, shops, hotels and offices. They work with a variety of materials including ceramics, terracotta, porcelain, stone, granite, marble and adhesives, to achieve the most durable result for the use of the area.  When tiling an existing home, wall and floor tilers prepare the surfaces by removing any old tiles, grout, cement and adhesive. Holes and cracks are filled to create a smooth, even surface ready for the new tile selection.

 

Fact Sheet

Carpenter

Timber is an essential part of just about every building structure, and it’s the carpenter and joiner’s job to

prepare it and put it in place.

A carpenter is a tradesperson who works with timber and other building materials. Often working from building plans, carpenters install, repair or renovate structures and fixtures.  In domestic houses they cut and erect framework (timber and metal), pitch rooves, fix door jambs and skirtings, fix windows, hang doors and build stairs.  They construct the formwork (frame) into which concrete is poured for foundation slabs, driveways and other concrete works.

A carpenter is required to have a broad knowledge of construction methods and the materials that are used. Carpenters are an integral part of the construction industry and many develop their careers to become supervisors, registered builders and construction managers.

Joiners work mainly on the prefabrication of structures for internal fittings of a building such as window frames, sashes, doors and staircases.  They work mainly in joinery firms, in joinery workshops of timber merchants and for building subcontractors.

 

Fact Sheet

Health & Safety

Occupational safety and health (OSH) refers to the legislation, policies and procedures that aim to

protect the health,safety and welfare of all people in a workplace.

Safety in the construction industry is critical and is managed by OSH qualified officers and managers. Workplace hazards are identified, risk is assessed and policies, procedures, controls and behaviours are implemented and enforced by OSH officers to maximise safety and health outcomes within the working environment.

OSH officers are involved in all aspects of industry activity, including those undertaken by office workers, site workers and others included in company activity.

Site Supervisor

If you’re looking for the person in charge on a building site, he or she is often called the building site supervisor.

Site supervisors are responsible for keeping construction projects moving forward on a tight timeline and noting any challenges or potential problems.  They run individual projects to exact standards reporting to the construction or project manager.

Construction supervisors work with architects, project planners, estimators or project administrators to ensure their requirements are met and are site-based for most of their time. Some are self-employed as contractors or work as consultants to larger building companies.

Housing supervisors play an important role in home building companies.  They coordinate subcontractor and material standards, ensure construction meets with current plans, variations and addenda for the project, provide technical support to office staff and suppliers and communicate with clients.

Entry to this job usually requires completion of a construction trade qualification, relevant building courses plus industry experience with a registered builder.

Scaffolding

Safety is very important on construction sites and workers must be able to safely reach the parts

of the structure they are working on. Scaffolders erect the temporary framework used to support people and material in the construction or repair of buildings and other large structures. They join horizontal and upright metal tubes together with fittings, and position them on foundation timbers that safely carry and spread the load. They fix scaffold boards onto the framework, working up several levels until they reach the required height for the job, leaving ladders tied firmly in place to provide access to different work platform levels.

Quantity Surveyor

A quantity surveyor is the person responsible for working out what a building is going to cost and for

making sure that construction costs and processes are managed as efficiently as possible.

A quantity surveyor can identify and collate the costs involved in any project to develop an overall budget. Quantity surveyors have to read and understand architectural and engineering drawings and ascertain if the proposed construction methods are suitable and economical. They monitor the changes in design and costs, and negotiate the payment to contractors for any changes.  It is the final detailed estimate prepared by the quantity surveyors in consultation with a project architect, which forms the basis on which subsequent tenders can be evaluated.

Schedules of quantities are determined by interpreting plans and specifications produced by the design team. In cases where companies tender for construction projects, these schedules enable contractors to calculate competitive tender prices.

Once tenders have been accepted, the quantity surveyor provides cash flow data and monitors and controls actual expenditure for construction projects ranging from office blocks, schools, retail and residential developments, factories and hospitals, civil engineering projects and other industrial and resources projects – anywhere that major construction work is carried out.

Plasterer

If you enjoy using your creative and artistic skills to make moulds and models to a high standard

then you might like to consider one of the oldest trades in construction.

Most people know that one part of a plasterer’s work involves preparing surfaces and applying wet finishes to interior and exterior walls.  But did you know they also create decorative interior and exterior surfaces as well?  Decorative mouldings around arches, ornamental ceiling roses and traditional designs for the restoration and renovation of heritage buildings are part of a plasterer’s work that requires special skill and creativity.  Generally, the majority of plastering work comes from new construction projects, however, interest in the restoration of older homes and public buildings provide further opportunities.

Construction Worker

Starting out as a general construction worker is a great way to pick up specialised skills on the job,

and get a building industry qualification. General construction workers can be found on almost all construction sites performing a wide range of tasks. They work on building, road and heavy construction sites; tunnel and shaft excavations; and demolition sites. Usually known as trade’s assistants or builder’s labourers, they often specialise by working with particular tradespeople such as bricklayers, carpenters and plasterers.

Roof Tiler

Almost every building needs the protection of a roof; every office, school, home and even the garden shed.

Covering, repairing, removing and replacing existing roofs requires many practical skills using specialist tools, and the work can range from domestic projects to prestigious renovation work.

Roof tilers lay new roofing materials and repair existing ones, nail or clip individual tiles to timber battens and select suitable tiles so they lock together or overlap one another to form a weatherproof covering for the building.  Roofs are not all the same shape, size or design.  An experienced roof tiler considers the pitch, eaves, intersections of hips and ridges etc before they start laying the tiles, not only to be sure the roof is water tight but also that it looks good.

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