How much do builders earn in Australia?

The construction industry is a large industry, one that plays host to a significant aggregate of roles. When discussing the advantages of certain courses to be touched upon soon within the article we must first understand that there are indeed a numerous variety of roles in the industry and this is an important factor.


Not only is the industry large in the aforementioned sense of its amount of rules but in the diversity and variance that exists in the roles. Roles range from construction management to carpentry and a lot of roles are quite different such as the roles of construction management and carpentry which can be used as an example. What one does is so vastly different to another. A plumber and a carpenter will have quite dissimilar skills that they will utilise in their respective goals in a construction project and these comparisons can be drawn across the construction field with numerous other existing roles.


In construction there are obviously many phases in actually constructing a building. There is a lot of careful planning including creating a timeline/workflow as well as takeoffs and estimation of costs among many other phases or aspects to a construction project. Hence there are a variety of roles specifically related to the building of a project. 


The role to be looked at in this article is that of the builder, what they do and lastly, but most importantly how much they earn. Before we discuss the earning potential of builders in Australia, we must establish what a builder is and what the role entails. On top of this we will explore the different types and levels of builders to give more context to the role and the pathways available.


So what is a builder? It sounds vague, but a builder is essentially someone who builds professionally. More specifically they are an individual who builds(including demolition) and renovates both residential and commercial edifices or structures. 


Even more specifically they might not necessarily physically build the building with their hands however they will oversee the work on construction jobs and manage different aspects of the project. Builders must work with clients and different stakeholders and employees, engaging and communicating with them about the different aspects of the job as well as being able to think on their feet and adapt to different situations.


Builders renovate, build and demolish various structures. The different types of structures they build include residential structures such as homes and apartments, commercial buildings and industrial buildings. In the course of erecting these structures the builder not only oversees the building but takes on a range of tasks.


Their role starts by staking out the construction site with relevant fencing and barriers. All the necessary equipment and machinery is sent to the site, following this they will make sure the ground is prepared. After this preparation the construction starts with foundations being laid eventually leading to the erecting of the walls with wall placement being marked out and concrete being steel reinforced.

How much do builders earn in Australia?The walls are then built and so on and so forth through all the rest of the stages of building the home/structure such as making sure walls are level and stable as well as insulated all the way to eventually connecting electricity, water, gas. At this stage the builder will be working with electricians and plumbers and they will utilise interpersonal skills and management to make sure the job is done properly. Lastly they will fit doors and windows to the property, make sure the painting of different surfaces is completed and the site is cleared.


As aforementioned, builders professionally erect buildings and structures and mainly manage and oversee the construction process. For a builder to achieve success they must enhance their communication abilities to work with various clients and manage their employees and the stakeholders of a project. On top of this their ability to problem solve is important as there may be situations where they are required to think on their feet and act quickly.


Builders not only manage the building process, there are a variety of areas they will be adapt at, these can include the ability to complete assessments of the site, estimate the costs of the project, work with tradesmen to complete tasks on the project as well as ensuring the safety of those on site by adhering to safety and hazard protocols. 


It is important to note that self employed builders will be able to work on a variety of tasks on the construction site. Sometimes, the builder may do all the work themselves on smaller projects like a home renovation where the work will be more hands-on. However, a builder may work for a larger business and hence would be working on larger infrastructure such as tower blocks for instance. Hence, they will likely be specialised in one area and be very good at it, such as insulation. 


Expanding further on the role of the builder there is an important distinction to make. That distinction is the confusion that may occur around the difference between a builder and a construction manager. Let us establish the difference with clarity here. 


Builders as aforementioned build homes and commercial/industrial structures they also renovate, excavate and demolish structures. Builders’ work can be very fairly physical as they may do some or all of the tasks themselves. Construction managers on the other hand, mainly oversee and supervise the whole construction process or parts of it. They are more hands off in their work and will delegate tasks to various individuals in different processes or stages of the construction project. 


Employed builders tend to make less than construction managers, however if a builder does well they may move onto other roles such as construction management itself. However, if a builder is self-employed there is a potential to make even more money than if they were employed by a firm if their business was lucrative. 

There are different figures regarding how much builders earn. Builders earn a fairly decent amount, with the average hourly pay being $36.45/hour which translates to $1458 per week for a 40 hour work week and roughly $75k a year as a salary.


Builders make good pay because of stringent qualifications required as construction the industry relies on the AQF which stands for the Australian Qualifications Framework. There are courses of different areas in the different levels that exist, and building and construction is one of them that features quite prominently among the others. 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


Builders will usually complete at least a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. This gives them skills in:


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


They may move onto the Diploma in Building and Construction which is the next level up, and doing this will open more doors for them in terms of avenues to go in their career, as they can become more specialised in different areas of their choosing. 


The various areas studied in these courses help ensure the quality of the builders looking to work in the construction industry. Furthermore, beyond courses builders will have obtained white cards as well as the required licences to operate.


Parker Brent is an accredited provider of courses in building and construction. We currently offer the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). Enquire here for more details.