Carpentry

Is carpentry a stable job?

Whether any profession is good is largely subjective — carpentry might be right for lots of people, but that doesn’t mean it’s suited to you. But you can decide if carpentry is good for you based on objective facts. Carpenters may earn slightly less than the average for all workers, but they have strong job prospects. To become a carpenter, you’ll need to put in time and effort, and you may find the working conditions unpleasant.

Do you like building or creating things with wood? Do you have an eye for detail, and like to be precise in what you’re doing? A career as a carpenter could be right for you!

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who work in the construction and cabinet making industry. They fabricate all sorts of wood constructions; from entire frameworks of buildings to custom kitchens or ornate details on wood trim.

Hitch Property Constructions offers carpentry services Melbourne for residential and commercial projects.

What Do Carpenters Do?

Carpenters typically work with wood-based materials in the construction of homes and commercial property. They frame interiors, set windows and specialise in finish work, as well as work in cabinet shops. Carpenters can also become qualified to do related work such as roofing and insulation.

Physical demands of carpentry include heavy lifting, reaching, climbing ladders and scaffolding, use of power tools and equipment, and frequent kneeling and bending. Workers are often exposed to the elements on the job site.

Carpentry

Common Carpenter Job Titles:

  • Carpenter builds structures for construction projects.
  • Lathe specialist: operates and adjusts automatic lathes for machine operation on a construction site.
  • Millwright: handles repair work and installation of construction machinery on job sites. 
  • Residential carpenter specialist: specialises in residential and home building projects.
  • Commercial contractor: responsible for commercial construction jobs. 
  • Finishing contractor: specialises in drywall, plasterwork, insulation and other services to finish a building project. 

As you gain experience in the field and move up the ladder, managerial roles for carpenters include:

  • Construction project manager: oversees all aspects of a job, including negotiating costs, preparing budgets and setting work schedules.
  • Crew leader: manages a team of carpenters and workflow for various projects. 
  • Foreman: acts as the first supervisor on a job site. 
  • Safety director: ensures all workers follow established policies and safety regulations. 
  • Lead hand: assists the supervisor in coordinating work activities.

A carpenter’s unique job duties vary depending on whether they work in rough carpentry or finish carpentry. Also, there are many areas in which carpenters can specialise in making specific types of wood products, or engaging in specialised carpentry processes.

Rough Carpenters 

Typically work outdoors on large construction projects. They use blueprints to decide what amount and type of materials are needed for the job. After materials are selected, rough carpenters cut materials according to specifications. They may use hand saws, power saws, or woodworking machines.

After cutting the materials to a specified size, a carpenter will then join or assemble them as elements of a larger structure. Sometimes, to move these elements into place, carpenters must build scaffolding or other temporary supports. Carpenters may even build sleds to haul timber through wooded areas and rough terrain where motorised vehicles cannot go.

Finish Carpenters

Are primarily involved in making cabinetry, furniture, models, and instruments. They also create ornate, detailed, and fine wood products for a variety of uses. They must be detail-oriented and work on a small scale efficiently. Their work is often performed in a shop, though some finish carpenters travel to construction sites to fit and install trim, fine cabinets, and other household furnishings.

Is Carpentry a Good Profession?

Earnings Potential

Carpenters earn slightly less than the typical American worker. As of 2013, the average annual wage for American carpenters was $44,980, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, the average wage for all U.S. workers in 2013 was $46,440. Carpenters have the potential to earn more, however, with the top 10 per cent making more than $73,100 per year.

Job Opportunities

A profession only pays well if you can find work. Fortunately, carpenters can expect better than average job prospects in the coming years. Between 2012 and 2022, the BLS predicts that overall job growth for all occupations will increase by just 11 per cent. But construction trades workers are an exception, with expected job growth of 22 per cent. Carpenters specifically can expect even higher growth with a 24-per cent increase over this period.

Requirements

Anyone who is physically able can be an unskilled construction labourer, but not everyone has what it takes to be a carpenter. To become a carpenter you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent, and you will most likely need to complete a three- or four-year apprenticeship with 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training during each year of the apprenticeship. If you have the time to put in the work, carpentry can be a good trade for you, but it’s not the right choice if you can’t wait.

Working Conditions

Carpentry isn’t a good profession if you always want to be comfortable. Carpenters perform physical tasks that can be extremely demanding, and they may work outdoors where they are subjected to unfavourable weather at times. According to the BLS, carpenters have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average, with muscle strains, falls and cuts being the most common injuries. Carpenters may also work overtime on weekends and evenings. While this can be good for your pocketbook, it can be tiring and put a damper on your social and family life.

How to find a carpentry job?

The best way to find a job is through networking. The easiest way to do this is to go directly to construction sites and ask if they are looking for any workers. You might have to go around to a few job sites, but usually, someone on the site will be looking for workers or will know someone who is. By going directly to a job, sites show you are committed and know how things work in Aus.

In my opinion, applying for jobs online is difficult in this line of work. If you get desperate, it is worth a try networking at pubs, bars or better yet on construction sites.

We have an extensive range of carpentry services at Hitch Property Constructions to meet your constructions and carpentry needs in Melbourne.

How much do carpenters earn in Australia?

A qualified carpenter with their tools who are subcontracting can expect to be paid anywhere from $45 – $60 per hour. A labourer can expect to be paid roughly $20 – $30 per hour.

Which safety equipment and tools do I need?

You will need to obtain the required safety equipment such as steel-capped boots, Hard Hat & Protective Eyewear.

If you are subcontracting as a fully qualified Carpenter, then you will most likely need to have your tools. The very basic tools required include Drill and Driver, tool belt, chisel set, hammer and a nail gun.

If you are doing work experience or vocational placement, then you will often borrow the main employer’s tools.

Why Should You Choose Carpentry?

Carpentry has been developed over hundreds of years and is one of the world’s oldest and most respected trades. Timber-based building and construction laid the foundations of many great cities over the world, and over the years it has specialised to include various modern materials and techniques.

Many carpenters are highly satisfied with their work and enjoy the versatility that comes with the industry. Carpentry has various specialties to choose from, meaning you can easily learn new skills and develop new expertise – without changing your trade.

What Skills Do Carpenters Need?

You might have thought about how to become a carpenter in Victoria. Carpenters use a number of skills throughout their day including basic mathematics, time management, communication and planning, as well as specific skills to work directly with wood.

You must also have a basic ability to read blueprints/design plans. Most building and construction courses teach their students how to do this.

Each day will require you to keep deadlines in mind, as your job will likely be one within a larger pipeline. This means communication and asking questions are of the highest importance, particularly if you anticipate a delay.

If you are someone who can meet deadlines and works hard to maintain a high standard of quality in everything you do, you will probably enjoy carpentry.

As a carpentry student, you need to be able to commit to your learning and be able to handle assessments and classwork.

Although with Builders Academy, you will have theory lessons through online learning, much of the course is practical, and you can look forward to being onsite regularly.

What Careers Can You Enter?

There are a number of building and construction courses that can get you qualified to work as a carpenter in various areas. Below we’ve highlighted the three main areas carpenters work across and specialise in.

Commercial Carpenter

  • Works on projects involving commercial buildings such as hotels, office towers, educational institutes, restaurants and retail developments.
  • Carpenters in this area work with a range of materials other than wood, such as steel, plastic and plaster.
  • Specialised commercial carpenters may work on installing panelling, windows and ceilings.

Industrial Carpenter

  • Works on major industrial projects such as power plants or mining infrastructure. They are usually employed by resources industries such as energy, manufacturing and resource extraction.
  • Industrial carpenters handle a range of tasks such as building scaffolding, bracing, partitions or concrete pouring forms.
  • They may also use their skills to work alongside civil engineers on projects such as bridges and tunnels.

Residential Carpenter

  • Works on housing such as townhouses, detached homes and smaller projects.
  • They usually work on framing interior and exterior walls, building stairs and constructing decks and roofs.
  • Some may even work on concrete foundations or putting up drywall.
  • Residential carpenters can specialise even further to work on finishing touches such as cabinets, floors, and crown moulding if they see themselves as having a flair for perfecting things.

How Can You Get Qualified?

With the wide range of building and construction certificates available, it can be hard to choose which one is the right one for you. Many people opt for a certificate III carpentry course as it is delivered over a three year period and qualify you to work as a carpenter in a range of areas.

Many building and construction courses require individuals to have some knowledge of the industry. Still, you can complete a carpentry course, no apprenticeship skills required, through a Certificate III in Carpentry.

Building and construction courses have a high practical component which means you will get the opportunities to put all your new skills and knowledge to use almost straight away.

Where Can a Certificate III in Carpentry Take Me?

Successful completion of a certificate III in carpentry can qualify you to work in a range of roles such as those listed in this article. You can also further your skills and abilities by enrolling in a certificate IV which will allow you to work in supervisory and management roles.

Carpentry is an exciting and hands-on field with plenty of room for growth. Individuals who are keen to launch their career can choose from a range of building and construction certificates which will give them the skills they need to be an excellent carpenter.

Major skills carpenters need.

Successful carpenters enjoy working with natural materials. They have physical stamina and great hand-eye coordination. They are also extremely detail-oriented and good at calculating and measuring.

The demands are even higher for self-employed carpenters and for those who decide to start their own carpentry business.

A solid understanding of the entire construction process

A career as a sole trader provides you with valuable skills and experience that can be applied to the construction industry as a whole. By building major structural components, carpenters need to be aware of the work completed by other trades.

When building a framework, you will need to be sure that items such as concrete footings or brickwork are built and formed correctly. This is vital as any failings in other structural components can lead to the timber frame failing.

Similarly, not completing the framework correctly presents issues for other trades down the line. This can include issues with fitting doors and windows, or bowing frames providing an uneven finish.

Skills in estimating projects and placing orders.

A sole trading carpenter should effectively and profitably tender for projects. You are required to have a solid understanding of how the whole project works, how to do an estimate of the materials, such as timber, nails and bracing straps, and the labour involved to complete it. Underestimating or overestimating a project are usually the two major challenges to be fought.

By overestimating on a project, either through high-profit margins or incorrect takeoffs, there is the potential to lose the job by submitting a quote that is far higher than what your competitors offer.

On the other hand, underestimating a project can have disastrous financial consequences. Should you win the bid, you may find that your profit margin is incredibly low, or not profitable at all, causing major cash flow issues.

Networking and communicating skills

You should be an effective communicator as you often work with your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. To scale your business, you will also need to be great at building connections and expanding your professional network.

Marketing and PR skills

When you start producing your work, get ready to promote the beauty you create.

Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your work. Build relationships with local business owners and request referrals from flooring companies, kitchen and bath installers, painters and other contractors. Use your customers’ reviews to build trust with your prospects.

Looking for high-end Melbourne carpentry services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Work Conditions

Working conditions for carpenters vary from one job to another. Some carpenters work indoors and work a standard 40-hour week (8 hours a day, five days a week). Other carpenters work mostly outdoors and may work varied hours depending on the demands of the project.

As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in and will vary from one job to the next.

Carpenters may work alone, in teams, or with helpers. The job can be physically demanding. You will often have to lift heavy materials and work with sharp tools. The work is also mentally challenging – you may have to make quick mental calculations.

As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Carpenters are trained to work safely and take special precautions to protect against injury.

Journeyman carpenters continue accruing documented experience and coursework toward master carpenter status, which enhances their earning potential. In some places, it allows them to hold supervisory responsibilities. Some states do not require a contracting company to be owned by a master tradesperson, but in that case, a master tradesperson is usually required to be on staff.

The approach you take depends on your personal preference. Trade school is a shorter time commitment and provides a higher initial wage. However, students must pay for their education. Apprentices endure a longer time commitment but pay no out-of-pocket costs other than applicable state licensing fees. They emerge fully qualified and command a journeyman’s wage.

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