Is a career in construction for you?
This article explore 5 different careers in construction. As an industry construction is booming in Australia and around the world. There are roles for problems solvers, multi-taskers and those who love maths. There are also roles for those who love the thought of driving a bulldozer or sitting in a super crane high above the site.
There’s a whole range of equipment on every building site from bulldozers to cranes or backhoes and tractors. Each is a specialist machine that needs a highly skilled operator. The equipment is used to break up, dig out, level and move rocks, earth and materials. The role requires a strong understanding of the materials and surface involved and the capabilities of each specialist machine and attachment. Depending on the job being done a hydraulic hammer or a pneumatic breaker may be needed to break through rock or similar materials. Equipment operators have a very manual job, involving using practical skills and with strong physical demands. As the machinery is dangerous there are strict health and safety requirements when operating them that must be followed, along with taking specific instructions from site management. For crane operators the role is highly specialised and requires a good head for heights. When working as a construction equipment operator, your working hours may vary depending on when a site is active. The role is outdoor, in all weather conditions and is generally noisy and dirty. You don’t have to have qualifications to work in this role but you can complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in civil construction plant operations or similar. You must however, have a licence to Perform High Risk Work and a Construction Induction Card. Given population growth and the increased need for great infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and housing projects there are good opportunities for those interested in becoming a construction equipment operator. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/209/construction-equipment-operator
Before any building project can start the budgets must be set and costs examined. Cost estimators examine the blueprints and specifications of the design, they talk to the client, contractors and vendors and get quotes for all works that are needed. Estimators also factor in adjustments and changes and prepare an estimate for the project. These estimations are used to help schedule works in a cost effective manner. Estimators then follow the project monitoring and reporting on the actual costs against the original estimation. They may work with sales teams or bid writers to prepare future project bids. Key to the role is having excellent maths skills and also an eye for detail when following details on plans and the related figures. Estimators write and present reports so need good IT and communications skills to complete these processes well. Often the estimator is working in an office but spends time out on site visits with the construction team and meeting with vendors and subcontractors discussing costs. Often cost estimators are quantity surveyors but it’s not a requirement. To become a cost estimator you need a degree in a relevant area such as construction management, engineering, building science or quantity surveying. Certain roles may require a degree in a specialist subject such as physical sciences, maths or statistics. As the construction industry grows and is busier there is a growing demand for cost estimators to accurately assess projects and keep them on budget and in profit, ensuring there are good opportunities in this area. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/434/cost-estimator
The role of construction contracts manager starts during the bidding process for vendors and contractors. They appraise the bids, looking at costs and timeframes and help the client and construction manager make final contractor and vendor selections. They then formulate the end contract that the vendors work to. Contract managers are the central point of contact for clients, project staff and contractors during the build and must manage all these relationships. Often construction contracts managers work across more than one project at a time so need to have strong project management skills and plan well to accommodate this. Contract and project management software is used extensively in this field to help the contract manager keep on top of everything, so being IT literate is important. An element of the role is negotiating with contractors over bids and then following the costs and budgets related with that contract. Usually the role is a Monday to Friday job but some sites and project may require weekends on site. To become a construction contract manager you usually require a degree in construction management, construction science, civil engineering, building science or architecture. It is possible to gain a role without a degree but this is becoming increasingly unusual. The construction market is booming with rising numbers of building and infrastructure projects. Construction firms are increasingly monitoring costs and efficiency across projects and so there’s greater demand and good opportunities for construction contract managers. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/427/construction-contracts-manager
For every building or structure that goes up, there’s a strict set of building codes and regulations that need to be met. Building inspector monitor projects as they’re being built or modified to look at wiring and plumbing or foundations. They would determine environmental impact of facilities and measure dimensions to check elevation or alignment of structures comply with the building designs and relevant building codes. Building certifiers have a slightly different role where they also monitor projects during and after construction to check compliance with the design and relevant building codes, however they would also look at build quality and materials used. Certifiers write up final reports on projects and issue a compliance certificate upon completion of a project that meets all the necessary criteria. They also write up reports on build where there’s been breaches of building regulations or the design has been altered without permission. These case may involve appearing in court to give evidence. Both building inspector and certifier roles involve writing reports and presenting the findings so good verbal and written communication is necessary. The role is a technical one with specific building, environmental impact and legislation knowledge required. The job is largely spent visiting sites and thoroughly exploring them, which may include being on ladders or climbing through tight spaces. Often building certifiers are building surveyors. To become a building surveyor requires a VET in building surveying. Alternatively to become either a certifier or inspector, you could complete a degree in building surveying, construction management, architecture or civil engineering. For those on construction sites as Construction Induction Card is required. You may also need to be accredited by the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors or the Building Professional Board. There are good opportunities around for inspectors and certifiers as there is an increase in construction and renovation/repurposing projects. There is also an increase in regulation and compliance required by government bodies creating more demand for inspectors and certifiers. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/59/building-inspector-or-certifier
Across all construction sites and projects there’s a manager who leads it and ensures operations run smoothly. Construction managers or site managers, or clerk of works within local government projects, are in charge of everything from discussing the initial plans with architects and engineers to bringing the project in on time and on budget. They use a team of professionals to manage specific areas of the build but must oversee it all. Construction managers report directly to the client on progress or problems with the site. They are in charge of arranging all relevant health and safety requirements on site before the build starts and ensuring them throughout. They hire subcontractors and schedule the build stage by stage. Daily they monitor progress and solve issues as they arise, as well as follow costs and budgets. Construction managers must make sure the project complies with all relevant building codes and regulations and meet appropriate quality standards. The hours can be long as deadlines need to be met and sites can be active in evenings and at weekends depending on the project. As with many construction roles, the site operates in all weathers and so does the construction manager. Protective clothing such as hard hats and safety boots must be word on site. To become a construction manager usually requires a degree in construction project management, construction management or a science degree with a major in construction management. Working on a construction site requires a Construction Induction Card. The role of construction manager is increasingly vital to projects. An ageing population requires more health and aged care facilities be built as well as a boom in general construction and renovation. Companies are focussing on bringing in projects on time and on budget creating lots of opportunities for construction managers. For more information check out https://www.careerhq.com.au/careers-database/job_details/328/construction-manager
Careers in construction are many and varied. Start exploring what this could look like for you today!