What is a construction craft worker?

What is a construction craft worker?

Construction craft workers handle a variety of specialized tasks on job sites. Keep reading to learn more about what they do and how the term “construction craft worker” is used throughout North America.

Construction craft labor definition

Construction craft labor includes tasks and trades such as:

  • preparing and cleaning job sites
  • masonry
  • working with materials like concrete and steel
  • site security
  • operating equipment
  • monitoring safety

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There are hundreds of trades associated with construction craft labor.

This wide range means workers classified under the umbrella are often trained in a variety of disciplines. Many, however, specialize in just one.

In North America, the term “construction craft worker” is also used to reference apprenticeships like The Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. These educational programs teach participants the disciplines required to become craft laborers.

Construction craft labor job market statistics

Salary expectations for construction craft laborers vary wildly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the entire category’s median salary at $36,000. However, craft workers such as masons earn upwards of $46,500 per year.

Concerningly, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that craft workers endure some of the economy’s highest injury rates. This is a testament to the grueling nature of their essential work.

What are a construction craft laborer’s educational requirements?

Construction craft workers generally hone their skills through apprenticeship programs ranging in duration from a few months to several years.

Subjects explored during these training programs include:

  • STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
  • communication
  • organization and management
  • hands-on training applicable to specific types of equipment and processes

Training environments range from classrooms to job sites.

A closer look at construction craft workers

Next, let’s take a closer look at the roles construction craft workers fulfill on job sites.

Preparing and cleaning construction sites

Cleanliness promotes organization and safety on job sites. Craft laborers responsible for this service oversee tasks such as:

  • keeping passageways clear of debris
  • collecting and disposing of scrap material
  • securing and disposing of waste (including hazardous compounds)
  • keeping amenities like toilets accessible and clean

These tasks are essential for keeping a job site up to code before, during, and after a project.

Masonry

Masons work with materials such as brick, stone, and adobe, arranging them into structures. In addition to high school diplomas, masons are typically required to complete apprenticeships.

Concrete and steel workers

These two roles should be pretty self-explanatory. They serve, quite literally, as the foundation of many large building projects. It’s not uncommon for workers – and even entire contracting businesses – to specialize in concrete or steel.

Security

As discussed in this article, security is an essential tool in any construction project manager’s arsenal. It keeps assets ranging from data to physical materials and construction equipment safe from vandals and thieves.

Equipment operators

Construction equipment can greatly improve job site efficiency. This type of construction craft laborer’s training often involves acquiring the certifications required to legally operate specific machinery.

Skills required to become a construction craft worker

As you can imagine, the hard skills required to be a successful construction craft laborer number in the hundreds and vary depending on the particular trade in question.

However, construction craft workers have many multidisciplinary skills, including the following.

Dexterity

Dexterity – the ability to make good use of one’s hands – is essential in construction. People who lack this skill are often clumsy, which is a major liability on job sites given the size and scale of objects being moved around.

Problem-solving

Construction workers face many challenges on a daily basis. Whether related to conflicts between personnel or a project’s complexities, these issues must be solved – often sooner rather than later.

Professionals with excellent problem-solving skills typically thrive as construction project managers.

Math

From invoicing to accurately measuring materials, many aspects of a construction craft laborer’s work involve math. Having a firm grasp of the necessary calculations comes in handy and is often intuitive.

Spatial awareness

Construction job sites are filled with people, equipment, and materials. Everyone present – including craft laborers – needs a strong sense of spatial awareness to avoid injuries and property damage, among other risks.

Physical endurance

Construction can be back-breaking work. To thrive, craft workers need stamina, especially considering they often work in extreme weather conditions.

Collaboration

Every construction project is a collaborative effort. Workforce management professionals do their best to keep everyone on the same page but individual craft laborers also need team spirit.

The ability to follow instructions

Construction craft laborers don’t work in a vacuum. Even when clients trust their expertise, the finished product needs to meet certain standards and specifications. Workers incapable of following these instructions will have a very hard time thriving as construction craft laborers.

Technological aptitude

Construction craft workers need good organization skills to stay on top of tasks. Construction management software greatly assists in this regard but workers still need to be capable of learning these programs and integrating them into their workflow.

How Bridgit Bench helps construction craft workers

Bridgit Bench is the resource management software of choice for construction craft professionals. It helps companies effectively manage tasks such as the following.

Remote planning

Following COVID-19, remote planning has become a staple of construction management. Bridgit Bench keeps operational staff firing on all cylinders whether they’re in the office or working from home.

Workforce forecasting

Construction craft workers possess valuable human capital that must be carefully managed and secured like any other resource. Bridgit Bench’s forecasting functionality helps specialty contractors plan for future workforce demands.

Project database

It’s not uncommon for craft laborers to work on numerous projects at once. Bridgit Bench’s project database functionality helps companies keep track of their obligations.

Mobile application

For craft laborers who find themselves on the go, Bridgit Bench’s mobile application comes in handy. Get a glimpse of your tasks and resource allocations from anywhere in the world.


We hope this article has shed some light on what construction craft workers do. For more information about how Bridgit Bench helps subcontractors, click here.

To learn more about various aspects of construction management, visit our blog.


Lauren Lake

Lauren Lake is the CCO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more.

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