The construction industry is quite an expansive one, 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.
Beginning one’s journey in construction is going to vary from person to person. Some may work from the very bottom, harvesting knowledge sequentially in order to reach a point whereby they are proficient in a specific area of building and construction or have generalised expertise. Others may even look at starting from a point where it is easier to progress and expand on areas of study, albeit having a difficult entry in terms of understanding the inner workings of construction.
The latter is usually the more preferred option of the two, this is particularly for those who are not school leavers. There are courses which are designed to give you a necessary level of skills, competency and know how to be able to navigate the industry meanwhile accounting for different levels of experiences and knowledge of different individuals.
The two courses we have just mentioned that fall into this preferred category are the Certificate IV of Building and Construction (Building) and the Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). Both of these courses are absolutely excellent at introducing you to the key concepts of construction at a high level, and offer further specialisation pathways to explore if you want to delve even further.
It is also important to know a way in which individuals may commonly err in their construction journey is related to the fact that they may fall into the pitfall that most people encounter which is balancing their commitments. When your attention is split between different commitments, it is difficult to split your time behind them, you end up requiring more energy to actually spend time on these various commitments.
The typical responsibilities many are burdened with include, work, study and family. These are the general areas that can be found in everyday life, and creating positive synergy between these three requires analysis.
Undertaking studies in building and construction is certainly a time consuming effort on the part of the student. This is due to the fact that a thoroughly trained individual who is venturing into the construction industry will have spent the time and the effort gaining a certification that certifies their quality. The economic impact of the construction industry is large so it is an advantage to those seeking to enter the construction industry and aiming to complete the Certificate IV or Diploma in Building and Construction, as one can be sure that their effort will be paid off in the skills and competency they are guaranteed to acquire.
The construction industry is one with such a scope and breadth that there must be quality control. This quality in those entering the industry is measured through the AQF which stands for the Australian Qualifications Framework. This is a framework where the certificate IV and diploma 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 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
- Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
- Masters Degree
- Doctoral Degree
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 of 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 extremely helpful for builders to complete, especially if they are an aspiring builder. It effectively is an entry point into the construction industry which will enable you with skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It is going to enhance your knowledge in building and construction to an advanced level, which will greatly increase your chances of landing job opportunities. Roles commonly sought after and filled upon completion of this course include contract administrators, estimators, site supervisors etc.
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 timeframe for successful completion of this course is going to be around 34 weeks, which will take into consideration the amount of content which will be needed to be learnt before one is adequately trained to the level required for Certificate IV.
The Diploma represents a jump in difficulty from the Certificate IV. This level raises the bar in terms of difficulty as aforementioned it is more strenuous than the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and is not recommended for new comers which naturally make logical sense when considering the simple fact that after this level you are heading towards specialising at a university level by completing a bachelor’s degree.
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
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.
The Diploma of Building and Construction is a continuation of the Certificate IV course mentioned in the previous level. Due to the advance in difficulty, it is 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. Roles commonly sought after upon completion of this level include Site Manager, Project Manager or Domestic Builder. This course is also particularly useful for those seeking to start their own construction company as this course will give them absolutely crucial skills in being able to manage their construction business.
Now that we have had a look at why every builder should complete either the certificate IV or Diploma in Building and Construction, it begs the question, which course should you go for? At the end of the day it all depends on your circumstances. The factors relating to this may be your experience/skill level, your particular needs, how much time you have and what you are looking to achieve.
An example scenario is someone who lacks knowledge and experience in the industry, and has not undertaken any previous courses. Quite obviously, the individual in this scenario is not someone who should undertake the diploma. Why would they not take the diploma? This is because they clearly will not be able to handle the workload, nor are they at the level to be able to benefit from the diploma, it will simply be wasted time, they are much better suited to starting with the Certificate IV in Building and Construction and going from there. Without a doubt, the Diploma is more strenuous, therefore undertaking it unprepared is unwise.
The flipside of the previous scenario is one where you may have already completed a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. In this case the natural progression would be to undertake the Diploma in Building and Construction. However, this does not mean the certificate IV level was a prerequisite for the diploma, one might have completed other levels in the AQF at a potentially lower level but may have some more hands on experience in the industry on site that can provide aid to them.
Simply questioning and investigating your own circumstances including your current knowledge and skill level should easily give you a clue on how to navigate the correct path for you to undertake. Regardless, undertaking either of these courses will ultimately help you further your career in the construction industry and open new pathways to you.
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 for more details: www.parkerbrent.com.au