Helpful descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of various professions & trades people:
A bricklayer or mason is a tradesman who lays bricks to construct brickwork. The term also refers to personnel who use blocks to construct walls and other forms of masonry i.e. walls, chimneys and other structures such as bridges or arches.
- Block work – the laying of concrete blocks, mainly for load bearing walls.
- Face work – where bricks remain fully visible, as opposed to being covered up by plaster.
- Pointing – this is the process of renewing mortar joints.
A Carpenter fabricates and installs building components such as doors, windows, stairs, wooden paneling, moldings, shop cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and other wooden fittings.
- 1st Fix – Door/Window Frames, Stud Walls, Site Hoardings, Floor Joists, Plaster Boarding.
- 2nd Fix – Finishing Works: Architraves, Ironmongery, Hanging Doors, & Floor Boards.
- Shop-fitting – 1st & 2nd Fix and fitting wall panel systems.
- Hardwood – High specification 2nd Fix, installing fittings made of Ash, Oak, and Mahogany etc.
- Roofing – Working on roofs, enabling works for roof tiles.
- Shuttering – Builds wooden box frames to which concrete is poured and sets to desired shapes for structures.
A Ceramic Tiler is a tradesman who installs a piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic stone, metal, or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops.
- Wall – Application of tiles to a wall usually sized between 6 and 8 inches.
- Floor – Installation of floor tiles generally larger and thicker than wall tiles.
- Grouting – A procedure after tile application/installation to fill in gaps between the tiles.
A Handy Person will work directly under a site manager near to the end of a job. Their main duty is to get the property up to a standard that the contractor can hand the property over to the client or work from the contractors clients own snagging list.
- Basic Carpentry – Fixing Skirting and architraves, some ironmongery work.
- Basic Bricklaying – Brick maintenance, re-pointing and repairing damaged sections.
- Basic Decorating – Re-touching up damaged paintwork and woodwork.
- Basic Plastering – Patch plastering.
A Labourer will work directly under a site manager.
- General – General site assistance, helping with deliveries, clearing work areas etc.
- Welfare – Keeping communal areas clean & tidy i.e. Canteen, Site Office & Toilets.
- Cleaner – Builders clean at the end of site ready for handover to contractor’s client.
- Skilled – Experienced Labour.
- Trade Mate – Trade specific Labour.
- Store Person – Control material and tool lock ups, keeping an eye on.
- Gate Person – Mainly sit outside site signing visitors in and out.
- Demolition – Carry out Demolition works, breaking and digging out.
A painter and decorator is a tradesman responsible for the painting and decorating of buildings. Professional painters are responsible for all preparation prior to painting. All scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, wall or wood repair, patching, stain removal, compound, filling (of nail holes or any others with patch or putty), cleaning, taping, preparation and priming are considered to be done by the contracted painter.
- Wallpaper – wallpapers can come either as plain lining paper so it can be painted or patterned.
- Gloss – would be applied to all internal and external woodwork.
- Emulsion – used on ceilings and walls internally.
- Mastic – use of a sealant gun around edges to make water tight and neaten finish.
A Plasterer is a tradesman who works with plaster, such as forming a smooth layer of plaster on an interior wall, or plaster decorative moldings on ceilings and walls.
For quality work, or where the wall is out of plumb requiring a large variation in render thickness, a thin “scratch” render coat is first applied then a second coat finished as described above. After around 24 hours the render has dried but before the final plaster coat is applied a trowel is used to scrape loose sand grains from the surface which would otherwise spoil the plaster finish.
The finishing or setting plaster coat which is about 3/16 inches thick is worked with a hand trowel on the surface of the rendering, which must first be well wetted.
The plaster is applied in two coats to slow the drying speed of the second coat. After drying it must still be wetted and worked for a time to produce a thin film of watery plaster which has the effect of “Polishing” the finished surface.
- Rendering – if internal walls are bare brickwork, a cement mixture is applied to allow skimming.
- Skimming – application of a thin layer of plaster to a rough wall for a smooth surface ready for decoration.
- Machine – requires two plasterers, one to operate and deliver the mixed plaster to the wall, and the other to spread the plaster evenly over the wall surface.
An Electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. The job of an electrician is a regulated trade for safety reasons due to the many hazards of working with electricity, requiring testing, registration, or licensing. Licensing of electricians is controlled through government and professional societies.
- 1st Fix – Running new cables or restoring old cabling. Installing fuse boards etc.
- 2nd Fix – Finishing Works: Connecting run cables to fixtures and fittings.
- Testing – The testing of installed equipment.
A plumber is a tradesperson who specialises in installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage, drainage, venting, heating and air-conditioning, or industrial process plant piping.
Plumbers in the United Kingdom generally undertake the installation of domestic internal hot and cold water pipe work, sanitary fittings and related soil and waste pipe work systems.
Domestic, commercial and industrial gas-fired (central) heating installation, servicing and repair works, and works related to all other gas fired appliances, although undertaken by plumbers, also involves the use of other ‘sub-trades’ such as pipe fitters, gas fitters etc. and (in the case of gas fired appliances) is regulated by an organization called the GAS SAFE REGISTER (with whom such individuals and organizations are supposed to be registered before working in this sphere).
The Gas Safe Register is the new name for the organisation controlling and regulating the gas industry, previously known as CORGI Registration.
- 1st Fix – Running new pipes/testing & restoring old pipes. Installing water tanks, waste pipes.
- 2nd Fix – Connecting run pipes to fixtures and fittings (radiators, toilets etc.)
- Gas Installer – Connection and activation of gas pipes (must be on the Gas Safe Register).
A Plant or Machine Operator on a construction site is a tradesperson who will operate heavy moving machinery, to carry out tasks not suitable for manual labour.