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What is a construction worker?

A construction worker is someone who is employed as part of a construction crew and will perform many tasks that often involve physical labour on construction sites. 

However, there are plenty of roles that don’t involve being on a construction site. In this article we look at the definition, expected salary, and typical qualifications needed to become a construction worker.

Find out more information about becoming a general construction worker

Definition of construction worker 

The term construction worker can be used to cover a huge number of roles within the industry, but typically it refers to a someone who performs a variety of general construction tasks during all phases of a construction project.  

However, there are also those who specialise in certain areas, such as: 

  • Tearing down buildings 
  • Removing hazardous materials 
  • Building highways and roads 
  • Digging tunnels and mine shafts 
  • Laying concrete or asphalt  

Construction workers will use a variety of tools and equipment in their work, including simple tools such as brooms and shovels; other equipment is more sophisticated, such as pavement breakers, jackhammers, and surveying equipment. 

Different roles for construction workers 

Construction work has a huge variety of tasks that are performed, and as such there are many different skills needed.  There are many roles in construction, not all of which are just on a construction site.  

A few examples of job roles in the construction industry are: 

You can find out more information about all the different roles as a construction worker on our job role pages. 

Responsibilities of construction workers 

The responsibilities of a construction worker will vary depending on the role they carry out. All construction workers must ensure they adhere to strict health and safety regulations.  

Some responsibilities include:  

  • Setting up the construction site, including cleaning and removing any debris or hazards. 
  • Moving and preparing the materials to be used on the project  
  • Building or moving a variety of structures such as scaffolding, bridges, or barricades etc 
  • Preparing the earth for building – i.e creating trenches, filling holes, or compressing the soil 
  • Operating machinery such as diggers, concrete mixers, hammers and drills 
  • Assisting other craftsmen, such as joiners and roofers etc 
  • Liaising with planners, designers, or architects to ensure the project requirements are being met 

With special training, workers may take on further responsibilities, such as becoming certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals, or assisting craftworkers, such as electricians and carpenters, with a variety of basic tasks.  

Qualifications required for construction workers 

Qualifications required to become a construction worker can vary depending on the role. Many roles in the construction industry can be entered through: 

  • Apprenticeships 
  • College 
  • Traineeships 
  • University 
  • Work experience 

To find out which of these ways into the construction industry is right for you, check out our what are my options page. 

You will usually require a CSCS card to work on a construction site. 

Earning potential of construction workers 

The earning potential for salaries in the construction industry does vary depending on your role. For example, some more specialist roles such as a stonemason or electrician may have a higher salary than a general construction operative. 

As an ‘on-the-tools’ worker, average salary in the UK for is between £17,000 - £30,000. 

Professions that require further training and skills, such as an architect or civil engineer, are likely to command a higher salary of £60,000 and above when fully trained and experienced.  

Find out more 

From the latest news in the construction industry, to how construction works, we have plenty of information about careers in construction for you.    

Or, if you’re ready to start searching for roles right away, head to indeed.com’s construction job search results or the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) for exciting new opportunities across the industry.  

Not sure which role is for you?  Browse them all here to learn more, and be sure to follow us on  Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram, and YouTube.  

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