Builders usually work outdoors as part of a construction team, often in large industrial conditions, with loud, and potentially dangerous equipment. They work with building materials such as wood, steel, cement, plaster and stone, and the fittings and materials that are used to join and finish these. Due to the hazardous nature of much construction work and the exposure to the elements that accompanies it, builders are usually required to wear safety equipment such as hard hats, steel-capped work boots, ear protection and protective wet-weather clothing.
Builders may also work in offices co-ordinating the administrative elements of a building project, or liaising with clients or local authorities.
On average, project builders, classified under construction managers, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a project builder develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Most building contractors are self-employed as sole proprietors, work as partners in small companies or work as company directors in larger firms. Earnings for small business operators will depend on their level of skill and experience, the level of demand for their services, as well as the amount of work completed.
As they work on construction sites, builders will usually need to know how to use a range of construction-related equipment such as power and hand tools, measuring equipment, machinery like cement mixers and utility vehicles. They also need to know how to use building materials such as timber, steel, cement and plaster, and how to work with these in construction processes.
As they may also work in an office undertaking administrative tasks, they may also be required to use general office equipment, including computers.
To become a project builder, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in building and construction or construction management.
The Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) [Builder’s Registration] and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a degree majoring in construction management.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Most project builders will generally have worked for a number of years in building and construction positions before progressing to a project builder role. They may be required to complete further studies in construction management.
In Western Australia, builders carrying out work valued at more than $20 000 must be registered as, or work under the supervision of, a registered building practitioner. Contact the Building Commission Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety for more information.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.