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Construction Helper Duties and Responsibilities

Construction helpers work in a variety of industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:

Unload Materials A typical responsibility of construction helpers is to unload materials such as lumber, tools, and other equipment at a worksite. They might have to also load materials to be taken to a worksite or transport materials and equipment from one worksite to another.

Set Up Equipment Construction helpers generally set up equipment to be used at a job site. They might set up work stations, run lines for power tools, erect scaffolding, lay out tools, set up forms for the pouring of concrete foundations, and even hand tools to workers as they perform their tasks.

Assist with Framing and Other Tasks Light construction duties such as pouring foundations or installing sheetrock can fall to construction helpers. They operate equipment to dig trenches, nail together boards for framing, or assist tradesmen with installing windows, electrical or plumbing systems, or other areas of construction.

Clean Up Worksites At the end of a workday, construction helpers remove all debris, pack up tools, put away any unused materials, and take down bracing and scaffolding if necessary. They also keep debris away from active worksites throughout the day to ensure the safety of workers moving about the area.


Construction Helper Skills and Qualifications

Detail-oriented individuals who are good at following instructions and like physical labor performed outdoors will make successful construction helpers. The skills and abilities most closely associated with this job are detailed below:
  • Mechanical Skills - The ability to operate light construction equipment such as trenchers and forklifts and set up scaffolding and other materials is essential for construction helpers
  • Physical Stamina/Strength - Construction helpers must be able to lift at least 100 lbs. and carry heavy tools and equipment in all kinds of weather on a daily basis
  • Listening - Following instructions to ensure proper installation of materials and workplace safety calls for strong listening skills in this occupation
  • Organizational Skills - Setting up tools and materials at a worksite requires above-average organizational skills for construction helpers
  • Math Skills - Measuring materials when cutting lumber or pouring concrete means that construction helps must often call on adequate math skills
  • Time Management - In most cases, building projects are on a schedule and it's essential that construction helpers can complete assigned tasks such as setting up work areas and unloading materials in a timely manner
  • Team Player - It's important for construction helpers to work closely with contractors, foremen, engineers, other helpers, and vendors on a worksite every day

Construction Helper Education and Training

Based on various job listings viewed for this occupation, it appears that most employers do not require a job candidate for construction helper positions to hold any formal postsecondary degree. Only a high school diploma is typically required. It might be helpful for those aspiring to this career to attend classes at a vocational school to focus on a specific construction area, such as carpentry or plumbing, to learn the basic skills needed to work in the field; however, this is not a requirement, as many employers provide on-the-job training. Candidates could also enter apprenticeship programs provided by professional organizations, which usually combine classroom studies focusing on tool use and safety in conjunction with hands-on work experiences.

Construction Helper Salary and Outlook

Salary information compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that construction helpers earn a median annual salary of just over $29,000. Those in the 10th percentile make about $20,000 annually, while top earners report a salary of nearly $47,000. Construction helpers working in commercial or nonresidential building construction tend to make the highest annual mean wages at about $38,000, followed by those employed by specialty trade contractors (about $31,000) and building equipment contractors (just over $30,000). Construction helpers working in Washington ($49,650), Illinois (about $44,500), and Alaska (just over $38,000) are paid the highest mean annual wages in the country. A faster-than-average employment growth rate of 12 percent is predicted by the BLS for this occupation through 2026. The continued need for the repair and replacement of much of the country's infrastructure and a continued increase in the construction of homes and buildings favorably impact this expected growth. However, it should be noted that there are highs and lows in this field, and unemployment in this occupation could increase when construction demands fall. There are presently over 230,000 construction helpers working in the US.

Helpful Resources

If you're interested in working as a construction helper, you might want to take a closer look at this occupation. Review the resources provided below to get more details on what it takes to be a construction helper:

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) - A national trade association founded in 1950, ABC provides construction helpers and others in the industry with safety training, webinars, workforce development opportunities, and apprenticeship programs.

Construction Project Management: A Complete Introduction, 2nd Edition - What are the roles of everyone on a construction site? How are projects bid? What are best practices when it comes to project scheduling? Everyone from construction helpers to foremen can find something of interest in this book written by Alison Dykstra.

Associated General Contractors (AGC) - From professional development and training to networking opportunities, AGC provides great support and growth for anyone involved in the construction trade.

"Construction Junkie" - From best practices to industry trends, this blog explores what's happening in the world of construction and provides articles about safety, wages, and other topics of interest to construction helpers.

"Building Design + Construction" - Construction helpers can find blogs and articles focusing on industry news, best product reviews, building systems, design strategies, and so much more.

Construction Management JumpStart: The Best First Step Toward a Career in Construction Management - Get an idea of what goes on at a construction site, who does what, construction site management and other aspects that you'll need to know as a construction helper or one who wishes to advance in the building industry with this book by Barbara J. Jackson.

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