Job: Residential Construction

By , March 23, 2010

Whether you live in a tree house, a condominium, or a mansion, you can bet carpenters were there at some stage in the construction process – measuring, drilling, and hammering. Carpenters are builders. They erect the structures of buildings, and build and install many of their components, such as stairs, porches, floors, doors, and closets. They also do maintenance and repairs when things need patching up. Carpentry is an obvious choice for those who enjoy working with their hands and using hand and power tools.

The Framework

There are as many different kinds of carpenters as there are kinds of wood. And every good carpenter knows the ins and outs of every sort of wood: What type of grain is it? How dense is it? How flexible? With this information in mind, they select the most appropriate type of wood for the job. They may also need to consider other materials such as copper, cement, and steel. Although it is sometimes possible for carpenters to work outdoors in the winter, the majority of work is still done in the summer, spring, and fall.

Specific Duties

Carpenters perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings and sketches to determine specifications and then calculate requirements. Prepare layouts that conform to building codes and measurements.
  • Measure, cut, shape, assemble and join materials made of wood, cement, steel, etc.
  • Build foundations, install floor beams, lay subflooring and erect walls and roof systems. Fit and install trim items, such as doors, stairs, moulding and hardware.
  • Maintain, repair and renovate homes, mines, mills, hospitals, industrial plants, etc.

Reading the Blueprints (Education and Training)

  • Grade 12 education is preferred.
  • After completion of a four-level apprenticeship training, a passing grade on the interprovincial exam will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, the BC Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal.
  • The ability to work independently yet still cooperate with a team are crucial to success, as are communication and coordination skills.
  • Computer use and knowledge are becoming necessary occupational skills as computer programs are being used to design blueprints, track materials and job progress.
  • Carpentry provides the foundation skills to succeed in many areas of the construction industry, such as Construction Manager, Architect, or Site Superintendent.

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