A carpenter is a tradesperson who possesses the full range of knowledge and abilities required to construct, renovate and repair institutional, commercial, industrial (I.C.I.) and residential structures made of wood, steel, concrete and other materials.
They can work for a wide array of employers, including construction firms, building owners and users, building developers and government departments. A significant number of carpenters are union members or may be self-employed.
While the scope of the carpenter trade includes many aspects of building construction, a growing number of carpenters work primarily in one area of specialization within the trade, such as concrete forming, framing, finishing, interior systems and scaffolding. Carpenters are employed in a variety of job environments, including houses under construction and renovations, plants that pre-fabricate buildings, residential or commercial sites and industrial sites. They may work in a variety of weather conditions. Many carpenters routinely work overtime in peak periods or according to the needs of each project. Safety is of prime importance to all carpenters. There is some risk of injury resulting from slips and falls, falling objects and the use of hand and power tools. The proper use of personal protective equipment is very important to carpenters regardless of their location of work.
Though not described in this analysis as knowledge or abilities, some important competencies of the carpenter are: good knowledge of mathematics, the ability to use metric and imperial measurements, an understanding of building science, communication skills, problem solving skills and the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Other skills present in a competent carpenter are: the ability to work at heights, the ability to stand or kneel for long periods of time, manual dexterity and good balance. Carpentry is a physically demanding occupation requiring the lifting of heavy tools and materials. As carpentry is primarily a work-based training trade, mentoring of apprentices and workers is a skill required to ensure capable completion of duties and quality workmanship.
This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps in the work of other tradespersons such as roofers, lathers (interior systems mechanic), floorcovering installers, concrete finishers and cabinetmakers. Experienced carpenters may advance to foreman and construction superintendent or may become contractors. Carpenters are involved in every step of building construction, which is an advantage when applying for supervisory positions.
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