The construction industry is an industry that is expansive and vast in that there are a plethora of roles that each differ from one another. The skill sets for one job could be very different to the next. For instance, someone working in project management would not have the same skills as a carpenter, because what they do cannot be realistically compared. 

This is what makes construction so intriguing; there are numerous pathways for one to explore and build their career in. The process of progressing through courses and gaining work experience to ultimately attain new levels of employment isn’t the same for everyone, but there is no disputing that the journey is one of an enriching experience. 

But since skill sets are so different, what skills should a professional in building and construction have? Because there isn’t one answer, we can focus on the generalised skills of the most common areas of study within courses, as well as generalised skills developed from hands-on experience.

What skills should a building and construction professional have?

Building Knowledge

This is quite clearly the most important aspect, because it relates to the entire question. Without knowledge in building and construction, how will you function in the industry? Levels of building knowledge will differ for many. For example, a construction manager would be required to know most aspects of building knowledge to effectively manage a project. In contrast, an electrician is only responsible for being proficient in their area of expertise. 

Engineering is also important with regards to this skill. This is key when considering the physical and technical parts of construction, particularly when analysing complex projects. 

Physical Ability

Most roles in construction are reliant on being able to complete feats that require physical strength, endurance etc. after all, behind structures are people who used considerable strength and stamina over a long period of time to complete the task. Maintaining proper positioning and using correct methods in lifting items, holding things together etc. is paramount to upholding safety requirements and preventing accidents occurring from unintended hazards. 

With that being said, not every role in construction is physically demanding. Jobs such as financial advisors are primarily focused on determining the costs and benefits of projects, and forecasting future cash flows to ensure projects run smoothly. 

Reading and Mathematics Skills

Being able to physically perform tasks is one thing. Being able to interpret information is another. The physical side of construction is one part of the equation, and the other is actually being able to understand the processes behind the physical aspect. 

Hence, it is imperative for those working in construction to have a strong grasp of maths and literacy. If calculations are not done correctly, minor mistakes can be the difference maker in projects not being completed to a standard fit for requirements. On the literacy side, being able to read and write documents, as well as understanding material such as blue prints, is very important. Lots of technical information can be part of a construction process, so being able to understand, comprehend and relay information is a skill that should be a necessity. 

Communication

A construction team working in tandem requires everyone to be in sync. If this is not the case, deadlines will not be met and final outcomes may be unsavoury in comparison to previous expectations. This is not just incumbent on the leaders of a project; but rather the entire team. Being able to understand everyone’s role and how to effectively share information, give instruction, explain aspects of the project etc. is how a team is able to reach deadlines and ensure quality and safety standards have been met. Without this skill, construction projects are doomed to fail, as it could require parts of the construction process to be re-done. 

With relation to leaders, they have the most responsibility in ensuring communication is understood when relaying information. By ensuring everyone is on the same page by communicating effectively, leaders can save themselves trouble and hassle by ensuring a smooth process. 

Technology skills

The far-reaching hand of tech is dipping itself in every industry, and construction is no exception. Steadily, new technological processes are being added or substituted for previous measures to increase capabilities and innovate everything about construction. This skill is most applicable to those with a penchant for tech. Those whose roles revolve around staying updated with the latest developments to ease the construction process. Such technologies like applications with software to enhance processes, artificial intelligence to improve productivity, and even virtual reality, all are being slowly incorporated, and having the skills to proficiently interact with these is a big plus.

For others who aren’t as focused on this type of skill, it is still important to be aware of these developments, and be willing to experiment with some of them. For instance, construction management software is becoming frequently used, and is something that should be learnt if you are working on projects frequently. 

Teamwork

We mentioned communication earlier. Communication is a smaller part of a larger skill, which is teamwork. It goes without saying that construction is not a one man job. It requires every member working together to achieve a common goal, reflective of a team spirit. A team in sync is able to motivate each other to reach positive outcomes whilst meeting deadlines. When this balance is not present, it can create a host of problems. This is why teamwork is such an important skill to have. It can be the difference maker between a project failing or succeeding. 

Leadership

Direction is needed on construction sites. If there wasn’t someone in this position, it would be very difficult to complete, let alone get started on projects. A leader, such as a project manager or professional builder, needs to be able to gain the respect of his colleagues. To achieve this, they would need to have the ability to inspire and motivate, as well as provide constructive criticism where needed. This will allow them to delegate tasks more easily as they have the trust that their colleagues will carry these tasks out. 

Emotional intelligence is a significant part of leadership that many do not realise. By having a high level of emotional intelligence, leaders can understand, manage and handle the emotions of their team to make sure that there is a harmonious balance, ultimately aiding the process of completing projects to desired effect. 

Of course, there are more skills that could be cultivated by participants in the building and construction industry. A plumber will not have the exact same skill set as a project manager, and thus we can safely ascertain that these technical skills are more indicative of the specific roles they are meant for. However, the skills mentioned above are applicable to most if not all professionals of building and construction, and will surely hold you in good stead as you seek to advance your career.

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