While construction work may seem straightforward, it is a physically and mentally challenging career. There are plenty of skills and traits construction workers need to possess in order to be successful in their work.
Construction jobs come with a wide range of tasks and working conditions, from navigating tight spaces and hazardous heights to operating heavy equipment in inclement weather. However, the rewards and pacing of this career can be rewarding for many professionals.
Despite declining interest in the trades, those who work in the industry for many years can go on to manage entire construction teams and complete impressive projects that shape the livelihoods of other human beings. Construction jobs are expected to grow as much as 10 per cent by 2024, placing it fourth in job growth among major industries like health and business.
The modern construction worker needs a mix of technical knowledge, physical endurance, and effective communication skills. Here’s our list of the essential construction traits that workers and contractors need to acquire to succeed in the industry.
Every career has a different set of skills needed for that job. The same can be said for construction. Construction worker skills are different from the skills the office staff has, but that’s what makes them the right person for the job. These skills, rather than traits, are easily acquired for construction workers and help them further their careers. If you’re wondering what skills great construction workers have, and which skills you should highlight here’s a list of 10 construction worker skills.
Construction can be a physically and mentally challenging career, though a personally and financially rewarding one. Some people work construction for a brief time, perhaps to raise money for college, while others spend their entire working lives building—or demolishing—in the world of contracting.
Prospective construction workers might not realise how many of the required skills they already have. Many people learn construction skills by working on their projects at home or by doing volunteer work with neighbours or community organisations. MJS Construction Group has the best range of home builders Melbourne services to help you create your dream house.
Some skills are highly relevant to construction work, such as mathematics, that you may have learned in another context.
What Are Construction Skills?
Anything related to the planning and erecting of physical structures involves construction. Despite the “blue-collar” stigma, technological advancements and growing economies worldwide leave construction work starving for manual labour. While most construction jobs begin on-site performing menial, rigorous tasks, those that have practised in the industry for many years go on to manage entire construction teams for impressive projects.
Construction Skills and Qualities in Skilled Labor
Communication is one of the most important skills you can have in a construction career. You don’t have to be the Archbishop of Canterbury! Honest and speedy communication is great for building a good team atmosphere, spotting and solving problems, and essentially saving the employer money so a construction project can get done on time and budget.
Any construction job involves problem-solving skills. There’s always going to be a challenge to overcome, or an issue to break down into small chunks so you can find a solution without getting overwhelmed. If contractors haven’t met their end of the bargain, or a load of heavy materials has been delivered to the wrong place, that’s a problem that needs logic and a cool head to solve.
Whether you’re a site manager or a plumber, you’ll be faced with situations where you know something isn’t how it should be. You won’t panic, run away or file the issue under ‘someone else’s problem’. You won’t get defensive and try to play the blame game, either. You’ll use your critical reasoning skills to spot the problem, think about why it’s not working, and find ways to get around it.
In construction, problems that’ aren’t dealt with could mean project overruns or the quality of the final construction is poor. If it’s a health and safety issue, it could mean that someone’s life will be on the line. A calm, proactive approach to problem-solving is really important in any construction job.
Self-belief doesn’t mean having a big head or being arrogant – that doesn’t fit well with teamwork, which is another important skill. The top three elements of self-belief are:
If you’re motivated to take positive action, it shines through. You’ll turn up to work on time, you’ll suggest useful ways of doing things on-site, and you won’t back down from a challenge. The public perception is that ‘cowboy builders’ slack off on the job, so your motivation helps your employer have a great reputation for how their team handles projects.
This can-do spirit is all part of having a positive attitude, and that’s also an important skill to have in a construction career. You might be born with a positive attitude, but it’s something you can build on, too. Having a positive attitude is about seeing the good in things, doing your best at work, helping to create a good team atmosphere, and taking responsibility for your actions.
The final part of self-belief is resilience. Maybe you’ve not heard of this one before, but resilience means that when you’re down, you get back up again. You don’t give up. If you fail, you think about how you could improve next time. If you make a mistake, you own up to it so the work can carry on smoothly, and you learn from it. Whether you’re working on-site or in the office, you’ll slip up at some point, because everyone always does. There’s no shame in it. It’s how you handle it and grow from the experience that matters.
Can you work like the boss is watching you even when there are no managers around? Self-management includes things like organisation skills and taking the initiative to work safely without someone standing over you all the time.
If you’re a construction worker, you need to be organised about where your equipment and tools are, and how they’re cared for and handled. It speeds up the job and could have a surprisingly big impact on the business, like ensuring the deadline completes projects. Besides, you’ll be organised in that you’ll have a great time keeping skills and make it to work on time – and not be the one whose breaks last twice as long as they should.
If you’re something like a building surveyor or architect, so much of what you do is based on the great organisation. From accuracy in drawing up detailed plans to awareness of budget constraints, you’ll stay on top of all the factors involved in your work by keeping track of issues and things to do, whether it’s through archived emails and personal planning or taking notes at meetings and taking the initiative to follow up clients.
Do you know what they say? Construction is a team effort. You’re rarely working completely working on your own. Construction workers operate in teams. Building quality inspectors work closely with contractors, civil engineers and surveyors so that everyone knows the latest updates on the project. You will find a construction career easier to build on if you can work well with others. That means taking direction from your manager without a fuss, doing your best on the job not to let your teammates down, and generally being sociable, so everyone has a smooth working day that smiles as well as hard work.
In construction, teamwork is also important in terms of health and safety. If you’re a scaffolder, construction workers rely on you to do their jobs safely. Teamwork matters. Rome wasn’t built in a day – and it wasn’t built by just one person, either.
Strength and Stamina
Construction is a very physical job, so it’s not surprising that strength and stamina would be an essential skill. If a potential construction worker can’t complete physical tasks on the job, they might not be cut out for the physical labour. Someone who isn’t the strongest person on the crew might have other skills and talents that make up for it. But it’s still important to be able to complete the physical requirements.
Building and Mechanical Knowledge
Building and mechanical knowledge are up there with strength and stamina on the essential construction worker skills list. If someone doesn’t have the building and mechanical know-how to complete a job, they’re not ready for the job. There are many training courses and apprenticeships around the country that help people learn the needed technical skills for the job. The technical skills that construction workers have been essential to completing any job.
Another great one of the construction worker skills is coordination. The ability to coordinate the crew, supplies, and equipment is a great skill. It’s beneficial for any superintendent or managerial position. And it’s a good indicator of a great leader, something business owners and managers should always be on the lookout for. Someone who is able to help with coordinating projects will have a great career in construction.
Math and Language Literacy
Construction work requires quite a bit more math and language literacy than one might expect. Construction workers need to be able to do basic math and some algebra to ensure that the right amount of building materials will be there. They also need to be able to read and write efficiently. Construction requires a lot of documentation, and if the documentation doesn’t make sense, it could be harder for the company to get its true fees.
Written and Oral Communication
It might seem out of place, but written and oral communication is one of the greatest construction worker skills. Construction workers who can communicate their concerns, questions, and decisions effectively will have longer and more prosperous careers than those who can’t. Written communication is just as important as oral communication. Construction workers have to write emails, texts, and other documents to ensure the work continues correctly on any job.
Comfortable and Adept with Technology
Technology is here to stay on the construction site. The modern construction worker has to be willing to learn the new software, apps, and devices that make construction easier. Construction workers that are comfortable with the technology and who take the time to learn how it works and how to take advantage of all the features will be more valuable. That’s why this is one of the essential construction of worker skills.
Critical Reasoning Skills
Critical reasoning skills are important for any construction worker. They help construction workers know when something might not be right. That way, they will know when something might not work and can find ways to work around it. Critical reasoning skills also help prevent accidents on the job site. Construction workers with this skill don’t require intense supervision because they can reason their way through any problems they may encounter.
Willingness to Learn
There are always new methods, technologies, and tools that make the job easier. Construction workers who want to learn new skills and who stay up-to-date on the newest methods have this essential skill. They’re always trying to find a way to stay under budget and on time while delivering a quality product. It’s an essential skill for any crew because they’re able to teach others on the crew, making the whole outfit knowledgeable and productive.
If you and your crew don’t know where your equipment or tools are you’re going to spend unnecessary time and resources in either replacing or finding them. The organisation makes the essential construction worker skills list because it impacts more parts of your business than you might think. An organised construction worker will make it to the site on time because they’ve planned out when to be there. They’re going to be ready to go because they’re organised and know what they need to get the job done. Finding the right Melbourne home builders is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.
Types of Construction Skills
Specific construction skills include bricklaying, carpentry, pouring cement, putting up drywall, and installing specific types of equipment. Be sure to tell your prospective employer the tasks that you have experience performing and the amount of experience, even if it is not directly relevant to the job for which you are applying. Employers typically appreciate versatile workers who can take on additional tasks as needed.
As a construction worker, you will not only have to be strong and skilful, you will also have to be smart about how you use your body. Proper ergonomics, including correct lifting posture and careful attention to safety, can prevent painful and costly accidents; career-ending injuries do not only occur for athletes. Bad habits can also result in repeated minor injuries that young, fit people may dismiss and ignore, but will add up to disabilities years later. Also, proper movement is more efficient and effective.
Construction businesses, similar to all other businesses, require budgeting, planning, record-keeping, and marketing to stay viable. If you have office skills, including familiarity with word-processing, spreadsheets, and publishing software, have excellent telephone etiquette, and good organisational skills and communications skills, you can be an important asset. Even if you spend most of your time-on-site, being able to pull into the office as needed is important if the office becomes short-staffed.
Obviously, not all construction workers need management or leadership skills, but having them certainly gives you more advancement options in your career. Managing work sites, developing estimates and negotiating prices, performing quality control, and reaching out to prospective clients are all important skills for construction workers.
Design and Planning
Whether you are designing the project yourself or following someone else’s plan, you need to know how to read a blueprint. You also need to understand design well enough that you can spot problems or mistakes; while rare, blueprints can contain errors. You might also need to make decisions about what materials to use or how to schedule different phases of the project, and a good understanding of the project’s design will be critical.
Codes and Regulations
As a construction worker, you will be subject to building codes, environmental regulations, safety codes, and labour agreements. While entry-level workers will not be responsible for enforcing those regulations, training will go more smoothly if you know the rules. Inspectors will appreciate it if you know all the information they’ll need for site visits.
There is also the possibility that your employer—or your site supervisor—could break the rules. Your safety, and that of your client and those who live and work near your site, might depend on you recognising and responding to the problem.
Quality Skilled Construction Labor in Less Time
With so many details that need to be covered when hiring quality construction workers and skilled labour, many contractors rely on temporary construction staffing agencies to fill their construction labour needs. All the time it takes to post a construction job, interview, screen and hire a construction worker, is saved with one phone call to a construction staffing agency. Skilled labour requests are filled effortlessly, and you never have to wait days for a skilled construction worker to show up to your site—the result: increased productivity.
The Tradesmen Advantage
Tradesmen International provides contractors with talented construction workers in a variety of skilled trades at various skill levels. Our extensive selection process ensures that our skilled labour possesses the essential skills, experience and certifications needed to perform their job. With more than 150 offices throughout the United States, Tradesmen matches thousands of construction workers to commercial and industrial construction contractor specific requests in an instant.
What Training Does a Construction Worker Need?
There are usually no specific educational requirements for entry-level construction workers. Workers often start as unskilled labourers to learn the basics of the job before going on to refine a specific skill. According to AGC of America, 63 per cent of firms are planning to increase budgets for in-house training and development this year – up 52 per cent from last year.
Those interested in learning construction skills before starting their career can enrol in a trade school or complete a paid apprenticeship. Trade school, a vocational program that is usually spread over one or two years, offers courses in the basics of the trades. Paid apprenticeships can be taken on after vocational training to develop more specialised skills. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best home builders selection to make your house a dream come true.
Experienced workers can then further their training by obtaining a degree in construction or engineering. A college education can provide instruction in advanced math and science concepts, which workers can apply to their building processes and use to advance their careers toward management level.
Workers who possess these essential construction skills will be able to take on any job and become successful, well-rounded builders in the industry.