3 Often Overlooked But Essential Construction Roles

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If you have ever seen a construction site at peak activity, then you will know that there are a lot of different people and skills required to complete most projects. In fact, many of the people involved in major construction projects will never set foot on the construction site itself. Below are three construction roles that, while essential, are often overlooked by people looking for a career path.

Craft Roles

Creative people have a role to play in even the driest and most rigid industries. The world of construction is a world of blueprints and big industrial machinery. Modern buildings are often made from big solid chunks of materials, but there is also plenty of room for delicacy and elegance in modern architecture. Naturally, the role of the architect themselves is an inherently creative one, but construction crews themselves also need creative individuals to design and create the smaller pieces required for construction.

Some of the craft-focussed roles available in the field of construction include shopfitter, site joiner, bricklayer, thatcher, and of course, painters and decorators. All of these roles require workers to engage their creative skills and utilise creativity in order to do their job to the best of their ability.

In most cases, workers will enter into these professions via apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships are a great way of training the next generation of workers in skilled fields such as construction. Apprenticeships, like degree courses, will culminate in a formal qualification. However, unlike a degree course, an apprentice will learn on the job. This means that apprenticeships pay participants, albeit less than they would get in full-time employment.

Craft roles within construction are not all about creativity; workers still need a reasonably high level of technical proficiency. For example, there is a range of installation techniques that are essential when crafting and installing pieces:

  • Airtightness – ensuring that there is no exchange of air is essential in some scenarios
  • Ventilation – ventilation doesn’t just need to be adequate enough to ensure the safety and comfort of a building’s occupants, it also needs to be as efficient as possible. Efficient ventilation can make a big difference to energy bills.
  • Solar panel installation – solar panels are a great addition to any modern property. However, if they aren’t installed correctly then their efficiency will be impacted, sometimes significantly. In order to get the most out of solar panels, they need to be installed by someone who knows what they are doing.

Estimating

One of the most important preliminary tasks that need to be completed before any serious construction planning can begin is estimating. The estimation process involves an estimator working with suppliers to find the best available deal for the resources and equipment that construction businesses need. Larger construction businesses will have their own departments that handle estimation. There are estimators who specialise in specific areas. For example, there are electrical estimators, who help to price up electrical components and services in construction contracts. They don’t need to visit the site to do this, as there are specialist software solutions containing the latest price updates.

Businesses like Ensign provide powerful electrical estimating software that can be used for every stage of the process, from getting initial quotes to placing the final bids. While an estimator needs a solid understanding of what they are doing, especially if they want to do it well, having the right software makes the whole process much easier.

A good estimator is a valuable asset for any construction business. They can play a pivotal role in keeping costs as low as possible. If you are willing to consider a supporting role within the construction field, one that is more office-based but which still rewards an in-depth knowledge of the construction industry, the role of an estimator has a lot to offer you.

Engineering

Engineering is a fascinating field. It is also a field that has an enormous impact on all of our daily lives, whether we are conscious of it or not. Without engineers, all but the simplest and most rudimentary of construction projects would become hugely risky endeavours. Through our understanding of engineering, we are able to make predictions about the ways that structures and the materials that comprise them will behave in a range of situations.

Throughout the construction process, the range of mechanical and other stresses places upon a structure is much greater and more varied than you might think. For example, as a building is erected and more pieces are added, the amount of weight placed upon different parts of the building will change. Engineers enable construction businesses to understand how that weight is distributed and plan the construction process so that no part of the structure becomes overwhelmed.

Similarly, if a building is being built in an area where there are extreme temperature fluctuations then these dramatic changes in temperature can induce their own set of stresses on a structure. Even in relatively mild climates, railway engineers have to account for the expansion and contraction of metal tracks as their temperature rises and falls. Engineers in the field of construction need to be similarly attuned to the effects that temperature changes can have on buildings.

The role of an engineer is a varied one but it is going to be maths heavy and there is no way around that. However, if you enjoy maths, and especially applying abstract mathematics to real-world problems in order to find solutions, you will feel right at home as an engineer.

When most people think of jobs in the construction industry, their minds instantly hone in on builders, site managers, and other prominent and highly-visible roles. However, there is a wide range of different skill sets and talents that are required within the construction industry. All of the roles we have outlined above are just as essential. Even if you don’t have the necessary physique or desire to get involved with the manual labour side of things, there is still plenty that you can do to contribute to construction projects.

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