A beginner’s guide to start a career as a builder

Are you thinking about starting a career as a builder? It can be a very rewarding profession, but it’s not without its challenges. In this blog post, we will walk you through the basics of what you need to know in order to get started in this exciting field. We will discuss the different types of builders, the skills you need to succeed, and the best way to find work in this industry. So if you’re ready to start your journey towards becoming a builder, keep reading!


As with any profession, there are different types of builders. The most common type of builder is the general contractor. A general contractor is responsible for overseeing the construction of a project from start to finish. They are typically involved in all aspects of the build, from hiring and managing subcontractors to ordering materials and dealing with inspections.


If you’re interested in becoming a general contractor, it’s important to have strong project management skills and experience in the construction industry.


Another option for builders is to specialise in a certain trade, such as carpentry, plumbing, or electrical work. These types of builders typically work under the supervision of a general contractor on larger projects.


Specialised builders need to have specific skills and knowledge related to their trade. For example, carpenters need to know how to read blueprints and use power tools safely.


If you’re interested in becoming a specialist builder, it’s important to have in-depth knowledge and experience in your chosen area of specialisation.


Next we will look at expanding on the different options in the construction industry in relation to becoming a specialist in a certain area specifically looking at carpentry, plumbing and electricians.


A beginner's guide to start a career as a builder

Carpentry and Joinery


Another job we can list that also has added popularity is the role of a Carpenter/Joiner. Technically speaking, carpentry and joinery are two different roles, however they are basically two peas in the same pod. Joinery involves constructing wood and similar materials in a workshop, whereas Carpentry involves building the materials together to form a structure. Combining the two roles together means the tasks involved consist of constructing and installing structures and fixtures of wood, plywood, and wallboard, and cuts, shapes and fits timber parts to form structures and fittings.


Some further tasks include:


  • Studying drawings and specifications
  • Determining materials required, dimensions and installation procedures
  • Ordering and selecting timbers and materials, and preparing layouts
  • Cutting materials, and assembling and nailing cut and shaped parts
  • Erecting framework and roof framing, laying sub-flooring and floorboards and verifying trueness of structures


Plumber (General)


The job of a plumber is more specialised when compared to a professional builder. A plumber’s responsibility is to install and repair water, drainage, gas and sewerage pipes and systems. Some more expanded roles include:


  • Studying blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the layout of plumbing systems and materials required.
  • Installing hot and cold water systems and associated equipment.
  • Installing water-based fire protection systems, including fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems.
  • Designing and installing sanitary plumbing and water supply systems, discharge pipes and sanitary fixtures.
  • Fabricating and installing soil and waste stacks.


Plumbing has an added benefit of further specialisation. This is geared towards people with specific interests that cater to their personalities, which in turn would enhance enjoyment of the role as well as performance. For example, you could become a Water Plumber, or a Fire Services Plumber. 



Electrician (General)


Bucking the trend of unfamiliarity, the role of an electrician is quite well known and one of the most common jobs in the construction sector. Also known as electrical fitting, it involves installing, testing, connecting, commissioning, maintaining and modifying electrical equipment, wiring and control systems. Electricians also:


  • examine blueprints, wire diagrams and specifications to determine sequences and methods of operation.
  • measure and lay out installation reference points.
  • select, cut and connect wire and cable to terminals and connectors.
  • use electrical and electronic test instruments to trace and diagnose faults.
  • repair and replace faulty wiring and defective parts.
  • position and install electrical switchboards.


Unsurprisingly, electricians have the opportunity to specialise. Some of the roles they could expand to include Armature Winder, Electrician Contractor, Heavy Coil Winder, and Railway Signal Electrician.


No matter what type of builder you want to be, there are certain skills that are essential for success in this field. First and foremost, builders need to be able to think creatively in order to solve problems that arise during construction. They also need to have strong communication skills in order to effectively communicate with their team members, clients, and contractors.


It is also important  to have the right skills and experience, being able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines which is also crucial and having a good network of contacts in the construction industry. Finally, builders need to be physically fit as the job often requires lifting heavy materials and working long hours.


Building a career as a builder can be very rewarding. It is important to know the different types of builders, the skills needed to succeed, and the best way to find work in this industry.


If you’re ready to start your journey towards becoming a builder, the first step is to find out more about what this profession entails. Talk to builders in your area, read books or articles about the construction industry, and shadow a builder on a job site. This will give you a better understanding of what builders do on a day-to-day basis and whether or not this is the right career for you.


By attending industry events and job fairs, keeping your resume up-to-date, and networking with people in the industry, you will be on your way to starting an exciting career as a builder. Once you have all of the necessary information, you can start planning your next steps towards becoming a builder!


One of the most important parts of becoming a builder is learning about building and construction through a certification. Courses exist for you to complete in order to become certified in different areas of construction. The quality of those entering the industry is maintained through what is known as the AQF which stands for the Australian Qualifications Framework. This is a framework where the Certificate IV and Diploma which will be discussed later in relation to builders, are levels that exist within it as level 4 and 5 respectively. The framework separates the qualifications in education and training classifying them as levels. 


There are courses of different areas such in the different levels that exist, for instance carpentry. Building and construction is also one of them and is the area we will be looking at in this blog. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) outlines the levels and standards of educational qualifications in Australia. In total, there are 10 levels, and they are as follows:


  • Certificate I
  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
  • Masters Degree
  • Doctoral Degree


Let us now briefly break down both the Certificate IV and Diploma in Building and Construction to see what exactly these courses comprise and how these will help you in your goal to becoming a builder in the industry. This will also help you make the decision on which of these courses to start with based on your own current knowledge and level especially if you were in another trade and now want to become a builder.



Certificate IV


In the Certificate IV, we are looking at the building and construction course which is one of the courses that features prominently at this level. 


The course itself comprises 19 units, with 11 of them being core and the other 8 being elective. The topics covered include but are not limited to:


  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Managing occupational health and safety (OH&S)
  • Conducting on-site supervision of projects
  • Reading and interpreting plans and specifications
  • Arranging for building applications and approvals


This course is one that is extremely helpful for builders to complete. The Certificate IV is in essence an entry point into the construction industry. If you have no idea where to start, but you want to become a builder, start here. 


It will provide you skills in planning projects, applying codes/regulations and many other other relevant skills. These skills can be utilised to not only understand the whole construction process, but be able to manage it as well. This course is not only limited to aspiring builders. Roles sought after completing this level can include contract administrators, estimators and site supervisors.





We now arrive at the Diploma in Building and Construction. There is a definite increase in difficulty at this level in comparison to the Certificate IV. This course is more strenuous and is not recommended for beginners in the industry to jump into. If you are someone who doesn’t know where to even begin or has zero certifications and experience, the Certificate IV is the wise starting point. 


At this level both the theoretical and practical components of the Diploma will become more complex continuing on from the Certificate IV. At this level the course in question for us to look at will be the Diploma in Building and Construction.


The Diploma of Building and Construction contains 27 units, of those 27 there are 24 of them that are considered core units with the other 3 being elective units. Various areas are covered in the diploma such as:


  • Applying principles of OHS risk management
  • Controlling project quality and risk
  • Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
  • Applying site surveys and set out procedures
  • Managing environmental and energy conservation practices and processes


When it comes to finding work in this industry, the best way to get started is by the aforementioned practice of networking. Talk to people you know who are in the construction industry and see if they have any recommendations for builders or companies that are hiring. You can also search online job boards or contact builders directly to inquire about open positions. Once you’ve found a few potential leads, it’s time to start applying for jobs!


Applying for a job as a builder is similar to applying for any other type of job. Start by sending in your resume and cover letter, then follow up with a phone call or email. Be sure to highlight your skills and experience in your application materials, as well as why you’re interested in working for the company. If you’re selected for an interview, be prepared to discuss your experience in the construction industry and answer any questions the interviewer may have.


Becoming a builder can be a rewarding and challenging career path. If you’re up for the challenge, make sure you have the right skills and experience, then start networking to find job openings. With hard work and determination, you can achieve your goal of becoming a builder!