Carpenters adjust, control, handle, and operate machinery and materials in order to build, erect, install, repair, and demolish structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, concrete, etc.
They are usually self-employed, but can sometimes be employed by Carpentry Contractors, Construction Managers, or by maintenance departments of buildings and other establishments. They work closely with Construction Managers, ensuring all aspects of the project are completed as per company protocols; focusing on quality, cost control, and consistency. Carpenters are often required to work with all levels of maintenance, production, engineering and outside services.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Carpenters are required to complete.
- Reading and interpreting drawings/blueprints/sketches to determine specifications and calculate requirements:
- Measuring, estimating, selecting, and requisitioning the right materials.
- Preparing layouts according to building codes, using measuring tools.
- Assembling and erecting scaffolding wherever it’s not possible to reach the height.
- Building, maintaining, repairing, and demolishing wooden structures and frameworks in industrial and residential establishments, using hand and power tools:
- Installing anchor bolts and embedded steel prior to pouring concrete footings, foundations, walls, columns, slabs, and beams;
- building foundations and temporary divisions, installing floor beams, laying subflooring and erecting wood or metal walls and roof systems;
- measuring, cutting, shaping, welding/joining, and/or assembling materials (e.g. wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel);
- fitting and installing trim items, such as doors, windows, stairs, moulding, and hardware;
- installing modular furniture/cabinets; and
- finishing the interior and exterior of a building.
- Assisting the Construction Manager in the coordination of on-site activities.
- Cleaning up properly after a job and maintaining good housekeeping habits throughout the project:
- Securing and putting away tools, equipment, and materials at the end of each work day; and
- dismantling scaffolding and temporary divisions, as required.
- Preparing estimates:
- Analyzing, collecting, calculating, and comparing data.
- Reading blueprints, planning calculations, and preparing layouts.
- Building, installing, and repairing structures and components of structures made of wood, wood substitutes, lightweight steel, and concrete.
- Demolishing structures and components of structures as required.
The average Carpenter salary is $48,687 per year or $25 per hour. This is around 1.5 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $34,000 while most experienced workers make up to $68,000. These results are based on 1,438 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal, communication, and customer service skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with clients and colleagues, using a non-technical language as required.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities in order to manage time efficiently while managing a high volume of work; and
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Analytical skills and a strong sense of logic:
- Approaching tasks in a reliable and resourceful manner; and
- being able to calculate areas and to relate calculations to required material.
- Exceptional attention to detail.
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
- Continual focus on safety, cost control, and client satisfaction:
- Wearing respirators, safety boots, hard hats, glasses, and ear protection, as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE) as required.
- Manual dexterity, motor coordination, and physical strength:
- Displaying good hand skills with a high regard for neat workmanship;
- being able to move around construction sites and to lift or carry objects weighing up to 50 pounds;
- being able to stand, crouch, kneel, and crawl for extensive periods of time; and
- being able to climb ladders and being comfortable working at heights.
Most Carpenter positions require a minimum of 0 to 3 years of work experience within a related industry, while some other require up to 10 years of work experience.
The ideal candidate is proficient in both rough carpentry (e.g. framing, stairs, and board ups) and finish carpentry (e.g. casing, baseboards, cabinetry, closet shelving, doors, and windows). Prior rigging knowledge and experience in the use of concrete pumps, concrete placement/finishing, and rebar installation are definite assets.
In Canada, Carpenters must have completed a General Carpenter Certification (403A) or any other recognized construction/carpentry course in an accredited trade school. A Journeyman Certificate and/or a Carpenter Red Seal Certification is usually preferred. Carpenters must also comply with the health and safety standards and legislations, as well as with the building code regulations.
Additional certifications are usually preferred, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Health and Safety training, including First-Aid training;
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS);
- Confined Spaces Certification; and
- Oil Sands Safety Association (OSSA) Fall Protection Training.
Finally, Carpenters must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends, as well as working outdoors in all weather conditions. They also need a valid driver’s license and a good driving record, as well as a reliable mean of transportation, in order to get themselves and their tools to job sites within their designated area.