What is the commitment required to complete Certificate IV or Diploma of Building and Construction

Khalid Noor, 2022.


Allocating time to tasks can be potentially vexing. Time is a valuable resource that is finite. And with a finite resource, also comes many considerations to make. How do we tackle a task or problem for the best angle? How much time should we realistically spend on each component? And do we need to make sacrifices to achieve the completion of a task or problem?


These are some of the questions you may ask yourself in pursuit of a goal, task etc. However, it is not as if we have only one pressing matter in our lives. In reality, we can have a number of competing interests which we need to manage. And time is the common denominator that links them all together. As mentioned earlier, time is finite. It is important to distinguish the things that matter most to us to maximise our time and productivity.


Something that many experience which is related to time is commitments. Dividing the appropriate time to competing commitments can be daunting, especially when they require significant resources to undertake effectively. The truth is that finding a balance between commitments is the answer to managing time well, and thus becoming as productive and efficient as possible.


With regards to building and construction, the amount of learning required is lengthy. Such is the requirement for an industry that ranks in the upper echelon of needle-moving industries in Australia. It is not just a case of understanding how to construct or build something, but many other surrounding factors such as safety, quality and management.


From this, you may be able to ascertain that becoming a professional in building and construction is not easy. There are steps to follow to ensure you are on the right path, however the path itself requires time to explore and develop. The section of this process that will be referred to in this blog is education. 


Education could be considered the most important part of entering the building and construction industry. The industry requires professionals trained to a high level to ensure effective outcomes are met in the delivery of infrastructure projects. From the processes involved, to being safe and responsible, many factors go into becoming a professional in the industry. The courses available are designed to maximise learning to ensure you are as ready as possible to contribute to projects. 


Australia follows the Australian Qualifications Framework, which specifies the standards for education in Australia. There are 10 levels in total, 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


The two that we will be focusing on in this blog are Certificate IV and Diploma. 


Now that we have outlined the courses of interest, we can ask the question: what is the commitment required to complete a Certificate IV or Diploma of Building and Construction?


To answer, we first need to understand each course and what they comprise.


Certificate IV


The Certificate IV in Building and Construction course is a generalised course designed to introduce building and construction at an advanced level. The course itself comprises 16 units, with 13 being core and the other 3 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


What the course seeks to do is enable you with skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It will also enhance your knowledge in building and construction to an advanced level, which drastically increases chances of landing job opportunities. 


 Students will also be able to attend classes which introduce and teach topics and at later points provide assessments, and perform a minimum of two hours of their own research. The time taken to complete the course is roughly 34 weeks, which takes into consideration the amount of content needed to learn before one is adequately trained to the level required for Certificate IV.


The Diploma, on the other hand, is the next step from Certificate IV. It includes 18 units, with 13 of them being core and the other 5 being elective. Various areas are covered 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


The course lasts for 50 weeks, covering many topics such as the ones mentioned above. Students will need to reserve a minimum of 2 hours per week of self-directed research, supplementing classes which will be supervised by a Trainer. 


As this is an advanced course, it is generally aimed at tradespeople and other employed people in the construction industry who are looking to advance their skills in management and development of residential/low-rise construction.


It is evident from viewing both courses that the Diploma of Building and Construction is quite a bit longer than its predecessor, the Certificate IV in Building and Construction. This is mainly due to the content. It is an advanced course, which means that it builds upon concepts introduced at the Certificate IV level and expands upon them, whilst also bringing new topics to the frame. 


From the time needed to complete these courses, significant commitment would be necessary. Both courses last for a long period of time, this is a given. However, what is key to ask yourself is whether you intend to only complete the Certificate IV course, or if you are more keen on going the whole mile and completing the Diploma course as well. 


If your goal is to fast track employment into the industry, then you may decide to stop at the Certificate IV level. This course teaches you just enough so that there are ample opportunities in the job market to explore. The benefit is that you do not need to have completed courses at the levels of Certificate I, II and III to be able to undertake the Certificate IV in Building and Construction. This means that commitment, on a whole, is not as strenuous as it may seem.


Whereas when it comes to the Diploma of Building and Construction, when adding it to the Certificate IV course, totals around 84 weeks. This is more than 1 and a half years of your time that you will need to dedicate to studies. Of course, this can be spaced out, but at the very least you can see what kind of commitment is needed to complete both courses. 


To satisfy the commitment needed, what you can attempt to do is understand your priorities and how they factor in with your career progression. Do you have other competing interests such as family and friends? Do you also work at the same time so managing your time is difficult? These are the kind of considerations you would realistically need to make in order to satisfy commitment requirements for the Certificate IV and/or Diploma of Building and Construction. 


What we can certifiably say, above all else, is that the commitment needed for these courses is substantial. It mostly depends on you and how you proceed in order to advance your studies and build your career.


Parker Brent is an accredited provider of courses in building and construction. For more info, talk to our experts and enquire here.