Learn about different roles, and where they fit into the sector. Unsure about which area is right for you?
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Almost all construction projects use machinery. It could be a 1,000 tonne, 7 meter wide remote-controlled boring machine needed to tunnel out an underground railway, or a crane that sits 1,000 feet in the air and lifts glass panels to the top of a skyscraper. Or it could be an excavator, earth moving truck or pile-driver and paving machine. Whatever type and size of machine it is it needs an operator, a supervisor and a mechanic to fix it should it go wrong. People are also needed to make sure that vehicles and machines, both loaded and unloaded, are in the right place at the right time and ready for use. This area of work is called Logisitics. Salaries in this area can be up to £50,000 at high levels.


People who work in these job roles will use a variety of tools, machinery and materials to help them to do their jobs. They may work on new constructions or be involved in on-going repair and maintenance work on existing structures. Whether they work for big national companies or for smaller contractors these people will be expected to work well as part of a team, to be practical and to work in a variety of locations. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to £60,000 and beyond.


Some people who work in the construction industry are based in workshops and factory-style environments where they may be using fixed machinery like CNC routers which are ‘guided’ by computers. Off-site workers might make components such as door and window frames, or they might create modular or pre-fabricated buildings. These people will be expected to work to very precise measurements and details. Salaries in this area can be up to £55,000 and beyond.


For nearly every construction job there is a technical role. Technicians are the people who support the work of the designers and consultants. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to £70,000 and beyond. Technicians will assist or be responsible for buying, estimating and development planning. They may also be involved in the planning approvals for a project. Many are required to understand design and planning software such as Building Information Modelling (BIM)


Just like any big business, larger construction companies require support from a range of people who may be office based including receptionists, human resource specialists, finance and legal. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to £100,000 and beyond at senior levels. They may require people to market and sell properties, or write bids to win work contracts. Some companies will employ people to work with local communities to make sure projects are positively contributing to the local community and environment. Even the smallest companies will need to employ someone to do the accounts.


Any construction project whether it’s a new stadium, road-bridge, housing estate or a house extension needs to be designed. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to £70,000 and beyond at senior levels. The same is true for existing buildings or road systems which are to be extended or re-purposed. Generally, Architects design structures and Civil Engineers design infrastructures. These design and planning professionals work closely with other specialists to ensure designs don’t harm the environment or over-burden existing transport, water and power grids. The design and planning element of construction can take a very long time.


Surveyors provide support and guidance to construction projects, big and small. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to £70,000 and beyond at senior levels. They often use technologies such as GPS and satellite imagery to help them with their work. There are many different specialisms within surveying including geospatial and hydrographic surveyors, land surveyors, building surveyors and quantity surveyors. All these roles require people to take accurate measurements and to be able to analyse and report on these. They may also be required to carry out financial calculations. They usually spend time at various outdoor locations as well as in an office.


Nearly every project needs to gain approval before it can begin. Town planners are usually employed by the Local Authority and will consult with the community and people such as Environmentalists, Ecologists and Archaeologists before they decide whether a project can go ahead. They will set conditions on the project which must be met. If the project involves buildings then work is checked at every stage by Building Control. Site Inspectors and Safety, Health & Environment advisers will also visit to ensure that everyone is working safely and that materials are being used and disposed of correctly. Yearly salaries in this area can be up to 60,000 and beyond at senior levels.


There are many roles in the construction industry which need people with a high level of management skills. These people are qualified specialists in their area of work and are sometimes responsible for more than one project at the same time and for the teams of people who work on them. They may also be responsible for the management of systems such as Business Information Modelling (BIM). These specialists will be constantly checking to make sure that each project is progressing to time, on budget and to the customer requirements. They may have to make very quick decisions to solve issues and communicate these to the project team and the customer. Salaries in this area can be up to £100,000 and beyond at senior levels.