The construction industry is one of the most technical industries right now. The functions that industry workers fulfil dictates this. This is especially true when considering the construction industry’s importance to economic growth in the form of infrastructure for public and private use. In this blog, we are going to discuss the most important skills and qualities that every builder should have.
What is expected of a builder is to be proficient in a number of areas. Having proficiency makes you stand out as an individual, which you can utilise to your advantage by making the most of your opportunities as they come.
In this blog, we summarise the most critical skills and qualities builders must possess to effectively navigate the industry.
Construction roles have a direct correlation with the ability to engage with tasks that require physical strength, endurance etc. The structures that we see everyday came from the work of people who used lots of strength and stamina over a long period of time to complete the structure.
Another component of being physically capable is by using this skill to be safe. This involves maintaining proper positioning, using the right techniques in lifting items, holding things together etc. It is paramount to yourself and the colleagues around you that you are upholding safety requirements and preventing accidents occurring from unintended hazards.
Competent in reading and mathematics
You may be adept at the physical aspect of building and construction with little to worry about. What might trouble you instead is the process of interpreting information. The physical side of construction is one component, and the other it usually accompanies is actually being able to understand the process that comes before the physical component is put to practice.
Reliable and trusted builders are expected to have a satisfactory level of mathematics and comprehension. If required calculations are not computed in the right way, minor mistakes can be blown out of proportion, resulting in projects not being completed to a standard of acceptance. In terms of literacy and comprehension, the skill of reading and writing documents, as well as understanding material such as blue prints, is understated in importance. A lot of technical information can be part of a construction process, therefore understanding, comprehending and relaying information with a degree of effectiveness is a skill that should be categorised as essential.
Synergy is a key facet of construction, especially considering collaboration and teamwork is unavoidable on a worksite. When synergy is not present, or perhaps lacking significantly, deadlines cannot be adhered to and final results will not be considered satisfactory when compared to expectations. This is not simply a need to fulfil for the leaders of a project; but the entire team too. Having the ability to understand the role of each worker and how to effectively share information, give instruction, explain aspects of a project etc. is the method by which teams can meet deadlines and make sure that quality and safety standards are adhered to. When builders do not have this skill in their repertoire, construction projects will only struggle to succeed because there is a likely chance that parts of the work would need to be reviewed heavily and even worse, re-completed.
Builders in management roles have the most liability in making sure that communication is understood when relaying information. When everyone has an understanding from effective communication having taken place, leaders are indirectly ensuring processes are straightforward and easy to follow.
Teamwork directly feeds into communication, which is discussed above. Communication falls under the umbrella of a larger skill known as teamwork. It would be remiss to suggest that construction is a one man job. Every builder on a project is expected to work in tandem with each other to achieve a common goal; this is to achieve the impression of a team with synergy. A team in sync can generate internal motivation between each person to work faster whilst producing a higher quality of work. Without this synergy, a host of problems can become evident.
It should be clear why teamwork is such an important skill to have as a builder. Difference makers can vary, but this is one difference maker that really stands out when projects are undertaken, and is a large part of reviewing how successful a project was in meeting proposed outcomes.
Proficiency with new and existing tech
As the years go on, new developments in technology become more pronounced. In pretty much every industry there are eyes on new tech being introduced that analytically break down and find the root cause of problems, offer solutions to these problems, and increase productivity in the workplace in a healthy manner. These aspects are found quite often in construction and technologies being introduced within them. Because the physical nature is so heavily present in the industry, new tech such as automation is allowing builders to be more efficient with their time and produce results faster and to a higher standard.
There are a plethora of new technologies being introduced in the construction industry. Technologies such as applications with software to enhance processes, artificial intelligence to improve productivity, and even virtual reality are all being slowly moulded into the fabric of the industry, and possessing the skills to use them is something looked upon favourably.
Even if you are not as dedicated to learning such technology or the relevancy to your job as a builder is minimal, it is still imperative that you are keeping up to date with what is being introduced, so that you can take the opportunity to experiment and see what can improve your work. A great example is construction management software, which any builder can take the time to learn and attempt to use which would only seek to improve your capability as a builder.
Exhibiting memory retention
People like someone who can reliably recall things with ease. It means that person is considered to be dependable. A builder who possesses a strong memory is given more respect in their work. In construction, it is almost certain that you will be faced with lots of information to read, review and process. What will make your life easier is developing or harnessing your cognitive abilities to remember things of different levels of importance. This could be as small as a coffee chat you were supposed to have, or as important as technical specifications to be realised. Having solid memory skills as a builder will make you stand out to employers because it means you can be trusted to retain, use and give out information with ease.
Willingness to learn
The truth about construction and building is that no one starts off as a genius. It is inevitable that you will make errors or missteps that change the course or make things more difficult to deal with. The faster you understand this, the easier it will be to navigate the trials and tribulations of being a builder. People within the industry value the want to improve and gain more knowledge. Exhibiting this characteristic will ultimately make you a better builder in the long run as you face new obstacles and find ways to overcome them through learning and development.
Always being focused on adhering to safety requirements
Construction projects once completed are supposed to be immediately available for use. An apartment building is for people who need accommodation. Roads are required for travel. Even though the examples provided are quite simplistic, there is a clear correlation. Before apartments and roads were built, there were people who had possessed a need for them but could not realistically actualise these needs with any semblance of manifestation. Builders performing the required construction allowed these needs to be met.
One factor of this section that needs to be considered heavily is safety. Safety is one of the basic needs every person has apart from food and shelter. Without it, other needs cannot be met sufficiently. What builders need to be able to do with proficiency is develop and provide construction that has no hazards or risks to people. No one likes to discover that the place they are at such as an apartment building or workplace is compromised due to safety concerns.
What has become evident within the construction industry is that there is a clear skill shortage. This is because there is a clear absence of builders capable of adhering to quality and safety requirements for each project they engage in. This usually comes down to education and experience.
The way in which every builder must become compliant with health and safety standards is by completing a construction induction training course. Also referred to as a white card course, it is a requirement for every professional in the building and construction industry. The course duration is one day, and by the end you receive a white card. Without a white card, you are legally not allowed to enter a construction site or perform construction. Doing so is a violation of legislation as outlined by WorkSafe Victoria, the governing body for providing authorised white cards.
Making sure you are always focused on maintaining safety standards in any engagement you are working on is one of the hallmarks of a good builder, and highlights your ability to make safety the forefront of your priorities no matter what you are working on.
Understanding and obeying rules and regulations
Law and order is paramount to the everyday ongoings of society. Without rules and regulations, it is safe to say there would be pandemonium. What law and order provides is a framework by which everyone can abide by, and it ensures a logical and encompassing aspect to how society operates.
Ignoring rules and regulations is a huge red flag as a builder in the construction industry. The aftermath of breaking them is not something you should want to face. This is especially so when considering your career could become the focus of scrutiny by the relevant authorities.
One part (albeit significant) of construction laws and regulations is permits. In a general sense, a permit is authorisation given to be able to do something. There are many types of permits in building and construction, and an example is a planning permit. According to the Victorian Building Authority (VBA), planning permits give permission to develop or use land in a specific manner. This could be for any type of project such as a home or renovation.
Another type of permit is a building permit. Building permits are documents validating that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations. A building permit is written and signed by a private or municipal building surveyor. Once you have a building permit, you can perform works according to the approved plans, specifications and other relevant documentation you have constructed.
Permits are present to show builders the clear boundaries they may operate within. The work approved by the relevant governing body is subject to by-laws existing within the frameworks of the permit. If you cannot abide by these rules, the punishment given will be relative to the offence you commit. Something basic could be a warning (informal or formal), or at a higher level you could be faced with a hefty fine or a trip to the magistrates court.
People who understand and comply with existing rules and regulations are usually considered the most trustworthy. The reason for this is quite simple: they do not have malicious or mischievous intentions because they are aware and cognisant of the importance of following rules. A builder who follows the rules is most definitely not going to take shortcuts to save time in completing projects.
Builders should be able to comprehend and follow rules and regulations, as this is not only a basic requirement but an important skill which is looked at favourably within the industry. As mentioned previously, there is a lack of skilled labour. One of the things in this case that makes builders stand out is their willingness to follow rules and avoid pitfalls arising from negative behaviours in skirting law.
Parker Brent is a provider of courses in building and construction. For more details, enquire here.