Construction is a demanding career, both mentally and physically. It is, however, financially rewarding and personally fulfilling. You get to see a masterpiece emerge out of blueprints. You also get to build something that others look up to with admiration and awe.
You, however, need specific skills and knowledge for a successful career in construction. While some of these are hard skills such as carpentry, bricklaying, erecting drywall, and installing equipment, others are much softer and include communication, leadership, and management skills.
For a successful career in construction, you need to learn and master the essential construction skills. This requires an ability not only to perform the physical tasks but also to interpret construction blueprints and see a project from start to finish. Sticking to construction deadlines and budgets is also critical.
Below are six of the most essentials construction skills you need for success:
1. Stamina and Strength
Construction work requires heavy lifting, physical endurance, and the ability to safely and appropriately wear protective equipment. You need to be physically fit to use construction equipment. You will also require appropriate skills to use equipment efficiently, effectively and safely.
Besides being strong, an ability to move your body properly and to use proper ergonomics is critical. Issues such as the correct posture when lifting heavy objects are critical, so is the ability to move with precision and with minimum effort. You should also be able to lift equipment without exerting yourself to avoid injuries.
2. Technical Knowledge
Having mechanical and building knowledge is critical. In fact, you can’t work at a construction site if you don’t have the know-how. The same way you cannot work at a construction site without physical strength and stamina, having the technical know-how is a mandatory requirement for a construction worker.
You will need to be adequately trained for the job to do the job. Without the technical skills required for construction work, you simply cannot work.
3. Office & Administrative Skills
Like any other business, construction companies require administrative skills. An ability to plan, budget, and observe best record-keeping practices are all essential construction skills. The ability to use spreadsheets, publishing software and word processors are essential, so are excellent communication and organizational skills. Besides, excellent customer relations and telephone etiquette are critical skills in this industry.
Even if most of your work is based on the field at a construction site, you should be able to log in time at the office, especially if it is understaffed. For instance, you need to deal with telephone inquiries, respond to emails, use office software, communicate clearly in both oral and written form, provide customer service, etc.
While not every construction work requires such skills, having them adds value to a company and makes you that much valuable.
4. Management and Leadership Skills
Construction work is not just about lifting equipment and building stuff. It’s also about managing projects and leading people. For instance, construction sites should be professionally managed to avoid wastage and enhance efficiency.
As a construction site manager, you need to negotiate prices, come up with estimates, reach out to existing and prospective clients, and perform quality control. These construction skills are important, and every construction worker should strive to acquire them.
Some specific skills needed for construction management companies include teamwork, ability to give and follow directions, project management, collaboration, quality assurance, leadership, problem-solving, among others.
5. Design and Planning Skills
Even if you are not responsible for designing or preparing plans for a project, you must have the skill to read and interpret a blueprint. To identify design mistakes, you should at least know what a good design looks like. Although it is a rare thing, a blueprint can have errors, and you can’t pick them if you have no skills in planning and design. In any case, depending on the design, you may have to decide what materials to use.
You will also be required to manage the project by scheduling its different phases. Without an ability to read and interpret a blueprint, you will mostly be lost at sea. Among design and planning skills you should have include flexibility, estimating, and understanding the building process.
Others construction skills are interpreting blueprints, identifying material costs, preparing construction reports, project management, and an ability to give and follow directions.
6. Ability to Read Construction Regulations and Codes
Every construction project has to adhere to certain safety codes, environmental regulations, labour agreements, and building codes. While not every construction worker is responsible for implementing the stipulated regulations and codes, knowing them is a huge advantage.
A site inspector is extremely comfortable working with someone who understands the regulations and codes of the trade. Someone who knows exactly the type of information they need whenever they make site visits. Besides, you will know when your supervisor or employer is breaking the rules.
The safety of your colleagues and yours, and that of others living near the construction site could be entirely on you. Attributes required when interpreting construction regulations and codes include compliance, integrity, problem sensitivity, environmental awareness, and attention to detail, labour relations, and adherence to safety measures, discernment, and negotiating skills.