A Day in the Life of a Builder


Building is the perfect job for those people who enjoy working with their hands on short term projects that require practical, real-life solutions. Builders can differ quite a lot in their training and experience level, and this will effect what projects they get involved with. Generally, a builder can work on projects in commercial or residential properties, those where maintenance and repair is required or with very specialized tools and materials.


5:30 The Day Starts

More than anything, a builder needs to be flexible. Some days, there will be no work at all – i.e. between projects or while the building crew waits for paperwork or materials. Other days, there will be tight deadlines and very, very long days of hard physical labour. Typically, a builder wakes up early to get started on the day’s project. If the builder is hired by a company for the long term, this company will coordinate their projects for them, but some builders go it alone and become private contractors who choose their own projects.


There is no desk work – the builder arrives at the site and may start the day by preparing materials, cleaning up the work area and chatting to the foreman to plan out the day’s work. A driver’s license is essential as builders may need to drive trucks to pick up extra supplies, drop off other workers etc.


For example, a home remodelling project may take place at a person’s private residence and require several skills: plumbing installation, brickwork and plastering, electrical, paving and more. The builder needs a sound technical knowledge, plenty of stamina and the ability to work well with others to create a good end result.


Part of a builder’s job is also to manage relationships with clients, other builders and drivers, contractors and suppliers. Occasionally, a builder needs to manage conflict if there are delays with a project or miscommunications with materials or invoicing.


13:00 Lunch

Building is, obviously, very hard work. Expect heavy lifting, working outside and sometimes in the sun, and lots of walking, standing, climbing, bending and stretching. It’s vital for workers to take a rest, hydrate themselves and have a good meal to keep up their stamina.


13:00 to Late

Some builders are required to do night shifts and overtime, but many work a standard 40 hour week, just sometimes with an erratic schedule. Builders are entrusted with a lot of responsibility, but the pay increases sharply with more experience and seniority. Special certificates in welding, electrical engineering or concrete mixing can add value to a builder’s repertoire.

Builders can end the day quite late, but the positive side is that they don’t take any work home with them and can get an enormous sense of accomplishment when they complete a job well. Builders need to have good coordination, the ability to work well with a team, good memories, multitasking skills, the will to learn and the ability to keep their cool in high-pressure situations.