One of the largest industries is the construction industry, a massively expansive industry that is host to a large aggregate of roles that differ in their complexity. The roles themselves are many and also differ in what is expected. There is a large variance and diversity of choice that exists within the large confines of the construction industry.
What one person in one role will do is different from another. For example some roles such as plumbers and carpenters which can both exist within the construction industry differ widely in their roles with respect to building a home. They are so dissimilar in their roles.
There are also roles such as builders, which this article is concerned with as well as construction managers. These two roles are largely similar with the difference being a builder can potentially be hands-on in their work participating in some aspects of construction whereas a construction manager will never be involved. Not only that, a construction manager is commonly seen in large industrious and commercial projects hired to manage the project whereas builders work on smaller residential construction projects. All of these roles that exist have something in common. That is you need to obtain certification to do these roles and be successful in them.
Each role requires its own set of skills and speciality which is going to vary from role to role. How one may decide to commence their construction journey changes in regards to one’s goals. There are courses that are offered in the building and construction industry that are specific to your needs.
Where you start and how you progress in your career is something you need to envision. Some people start with an end goal in mind and go forth and work their way upwards to their destination. Others may pivot and decide to change their path later on. This is no different with aspiring builders. In fact, it happens that some individuals may start with a specific trade and work in the industry with that qualification gaining experience and knowledge on site and later change to get their certification and licence in building aiming to become a builder.
It is important to note that while the aim of this blog is to delve into why you should be certified as a builder, we must first establish the certification levels and standards that exist in construction. You will need to study to complete your certification no doubt. Not only that but it is not necessarily a breeze. As a professional you will be held to a high standard. The effort and time spent pursuing your certification is indicative of the quality that is assured that you will have, based on the completion of these courses.
The economic impact of the construction is to a degree that it is an advantage for you to seek certification in the industry regardless of what you do as you can be sure that your effort will be paid off in the skills and competency you are guaranteed to acquire.
Speaking of quality in the construction industry, certification is a large part of that. Courses exist for you to complete in order to become certified in different areas of construction. The quality of those entering the industry is maintained through what is known as the AQF which stands for the Australian Qualifications Framework. This is a framework where the Certificate IV and Diploma which will be discussed later in relation to builders, 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 such in the different levels that exist, for instance carpentry. Building and construction is also one of them and is the area we will be looking at in this blog. 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
Let us now briefly break down both the Certificate IV and Diploma in Building and Construction to see what exactly these courses comprise and how these will help you in your goal to becoming a builder in the industry. This will also help you make the decision on which of these courses to start with based on your own current knowledge and level especially if you were in another trade and now want to become a builder.
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 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 one that is extremely helpful for builders to complete. The Certificate IV is in essence an entry point into the construction industry. If you have no idea where to start, but you want to become a builder, start here.
It will provide you skills in planning projects, applying codes/regulations and many other other relevant skills. These skills can be utilised to not only understand the whole construction process, but be able to manage it as well. This course is not only limited to aspiring builders. Roles sought after completing this level can include contract administrators, estimators and site supervisors.
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 roughly 36 weeks, which will take into consideration the amount of content which will need to be learnt before one is adequately trained to the level required for Certificate IV.
We now arrive at the Diploma in Building and Construction. There is a definite increase in difficulty at this level in comparison to the Certificate IV. This course is more strenuous and is not recommended for beginners in the industry to jump into. If you are someone who doesn’t know where to even begin or has zero certifications and experience, the Certificate IV is the wise starting point.
For those who have some experience in the industry, such as being in the trades and having gained from working there, the diploma is a good starting point. Even if someone may have only completed up to Certificate I in a particular area, while difficult, their experience can help push them along in the diploma.
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 is quite lengthy lasting 65 weeks, covering many topics such as the above mentioned topics like applying building codes which continue on from the level that was reached in the certificate IV course.. 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 as aforementioned is a continuation of the Certificate IV course. Due to the increase in the course’s difficulty, it is going to be aimed at tradespeople and other employed people in the industry. These individuals may be looking to potentially advance their skill set in the management and development of residential/low-rise construction.
Roles that are commonly sought after upon completion of this level are 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, one must decide which one to complete. As we discussed at the very beginning of this article, this depends on a variety of factors. These factors may relate to your experience and current skill level, your needs and what you are looking to achieve with respect to the amount of time you have.
One example to illustrate the differences in choices is someone who lacks knowledge and experience in the industry, and has not undertaken any previous courses. This individual will struggle in the diploma in Building and Construction and quite simply should begin with the certificate IV and move onto the diploma if they choose to do so.
An alternative scenario to further illustrate the difference in choices is one where you may have already completed a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. In this case the next step is to progress to the Diploma in Building and Construction.
This does not mean completing the Certificate IV in Building and Construction level is a prerequisite for the diploma. It is the step before the diploma but one can jump straight into the diploma without it, it is only simply not advised if it is too big of a leap. A case where someone has not done the certificate IV is where for example they have a Certificate III in Carpentry and have some experience working as a carpenter. In this case they may want to go straight to the Diploma in Building and Construction.
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. It is also evidently quite clear that either the Certificate IV and Diploma in Building and Construction whichever you choose is a must if you want to become a builder.
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