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Project builder

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Summary of occupation

Builders oversee and undertake a range of projects in the construction industry. These may include the construction of homes or other buildings, the repair of existing building structures, or the alteration of buildings to give them new form and function. They may liaise with clients to work out the best way to undertake a project, work out quotes for the project, arrange plans for the project with local authorities, organise subcontractors to complete particular work, make calculations about quantities of materials needed, supervise the project and co-ordinate the activities of the building team and other staff, and undertake some of the building work themselves.

ANZSCO description: Plans, organises, directs, controls and  coordinates the construction, alteration and renovation of dwellings  and other buildings, and the physical and human resources involved in  the building process. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Builder, Building Contractor, Professional Builder
Specialisations: Bricklayer, Carpenter, Floor Finisher and Coverer, Painter, Plasterer, Roofer, Tiler
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Builders need:

  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • good communication skills
  • management and leadership skills
  • good organisational skills
  • technical aptitude
  • physical fitness and strength
  • the ability to work at heights
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Working conditions

Builders usually work outdoors as part of a construction team, often in large industrial conditions, with loud, and potentially dangerous equipment. They work with building materials such as wood, steel, cement, plaster and stone, and the fittings and materials that are used to join and finish these. Due to the hazardous nature of much construction work and the exposure to the elements that accompanies it, builders are usually required to wear safety equipment such as hard hats, steel-capped work boots, ear protection and protective wet-weather clothing.

Builders may also work in offices co-ordinating the administrative elements of a building project, or liaising with clients or local authorities.

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Salary details

On average project builders, classified under construction managers, can expect to earn between $1,730 and $2,500 per week ($90,000 and $130,000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. 

Most building contractors are self-employed as sole proprietors, work as partners in small companies or work as company directors in larger firms. Earnings for small business operators will depend on their level of skill and experience, the level of demand for their services, as well as the amount of work completed.

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Tools and technologies

As they work on construction sites, builders will usually need to know how to use a range of construction-related equipment such as power and hand tools, measuring equipment, machinery like cement mixers and utility vehicles. They also need to know how to use building materials such as timber, steel, cement and plaster, and how to work with these in construction processes.

As they may also work in an office undertaking administrative tasks, they may also be required to use general office equipment, including computers.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a project builder, you usually need to gain a qualification in building and construction.

The Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a registered provider near you, browse the TAFE Admissions full time studies guide website and the My Skills website.

Most project builders will generally have worked for a number of years in building and construction positions before progressing to a project builder role. 

Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a “white card”). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

In Western Australia, builders carrying out work valued at more than $20,000 must be registered as, or work under the supervision of a registered building practitioner. For further information, contact the Building Commission Division, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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