11 Common Construction Job Titles (and What They Mean)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 November 2022

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're working on or visiting a construction site, you're likely going to encounter a wide range of individuals performing different tasks. Some of these roles involve working on a construction project throughout its different phases, whereas others only come to the site at specific points during the construction process. Knowing what some of these roles are can give you a better understanding of what's happening and who's responsible for what. In this article, we explain what the various construction job titles are and what these individuals are responsible for.

Common construction job titles

Below is a list of construction job titles that are commonly found on construction sites and elsewhere in the construction industry:

1. Construction labourer

National average salary: £10.93 per hour

Primary duties: These are also called ground workers or construction operatives. These individuals prepare building sites and then carry out the manual work required to complete the construction. Becoming a construction worker can be achieved through an apprenticeship, a college course or by applying directly. They have a good working knowledge of building work, are capable of performing physically demanding tasks and are attentive to detail. Some of their tasks include:

  • marking and digging trenches for drains and foundations

  • laying concrete for floors and foundations

  • paving for roads and pedestrian areas

  • bending and fixing bars to create reinforced concrete structures

  • putting panels in order to hold the concrete in place while it sets

  • joining steel sheets for the purpose of making retaining walls in excavation work

Related: What does a construction worker do?

2. Plumber

National average salary: £17.20 per hour

Primary duties: Plumbers are tradespeople who work with hot and cold water, drainage and heating systems. They work with many machines and tools, know a lot about construction work and mathematics and can work with their hands. In construction work, their role involves the installation of heating, drainage and water systems, such as central heating systems and radiators. Common tasks in the construction field include:

  • installing heating, drainage and water systems

  • fitting roofs, chimneys and walls with weather-proof materials, joints and flashings

  • cutting, shaping and joining fittings and pipes

  • installing showers, washing machines and other appliances

  • working on drains and boilers

3. Scaffolder

National average salary: £17.64 per hour

Primary duties: Scaffolders are the individuals who put up scaffolding to allow builders and others to carry out their tasks safely. Becoming a scaffolder often involves working towards the role, an apprenticeship or a college course. In addition to attention to detail and physical strength, scaffolders need a good working knowledge of health and safety. They know a lot about construction work and spend a lot of time working with their hands. They must be physically fit and comfortable working at great heights. The typical duties of a scaffolder include:

  • delivering or unloading scaffolding at a construction site

  • creating a stable base for the scaffolding

  • putting up the scaffolding and securing it, including fixing it to a building

  • laying down planks for builders and others to walk on

  • installing safety nets and guard rails

  • ensuring that the scaffolding is safe and secure

4. Electrician

National average salary: £18.07 per hour

Primary duties: Also known as an electrical fitter, installation electrician or electrical technician, the electrician is responsible for the installation and servicing of circuits and wiring, machinery and other electrical equipment. They typically get to this position through an apprenticeship, college course or by working towards the role. They have an excellent working knowledge of machines and tools, can understand and work with technical plans, know a lot about circuits and electricity and can work with their hands. Common tasks of an electrician in construction work include:

  • installing control panels for operating a building's electrical systems

  • installing lighting

  • fitting electrical wiring, switches and sockets

  • repairing the electrical components of machinery

  • ensuring the safety of electrical systems

5. Carpenter

National average salary: £19.04 per hour

Primary duties: Also known as a joiner or bench joiner, a carpenter is responsible for the construction and installation of wooden structures and fittings. Carpenters typically acquire their skills from an apprenticeship or a college course. They have a good working knowledge of mathematics and construction work, are skilled in the use of various tools and machines and have great attention to detail. Carpenters also work in many other fields outside of construction, including furniture making and restoration work. In construction, the common tasks of a carpenter include:

  • discussing plans with site managers and clients

  • constructing wooden support structures for holding the concrete in place while it sets

  • construction of interior structures like staircases, doors, frames and partition walls

  • installing cupboards and shelving

  • cutting and installing floorboards and skirting boards

6. Bricklayer

National average salary: £19.07 per hour

Primary duties: Sometimes called a mason or brickie, the bricklayer's job involves working on the construction of houses, chimneys and walls. They also perform repair work on all of these structures and can also carry out refurbishment or restoration of decorative stone structures. Bricklayers often start as construction labourers and acquire the knowledge, experience and training to become a bricklayer over time. They, therefore, possess many of the same skills, such as attention to detail, physical strength and good working knowledge of building and construction. Their tasks typically include:

  • using plumb lines, laser levels or spirit levels to ensure that rows are kept straight

  • laying bricks and mortar with a trowel

  • mixing mortar with a mechanical mixer or by hand

  • measuring working areas and laying down the initial rows of bricks

  • shaping and trimming bricks using power and hand tools

Related: Vocational Training: Definitions and Examples

7. Building site inspector

National average salary: £29,097 per year

Primary duties: Also called a clerk of works or building site supervisor, the building site inspector is responsible for checking the quality and safety of the work on a construction site. There are many ways of reaching this position, including university and college courses, apprenticeships and working towards the role. They know a lot about construction work, health and safety, and building regulations. Their responsibilities include:

  • regularly inspecting construction sites

  • ensuring that work follows regulations

  • measuring and sampling materials for quality

  • locating problems and recommending solutions

  • ensuring plans are followed

  • advising clients and construction managers

8. Civil engineer

National average salary: £36,683 per year

Primary duties: Also known as engineering consultants, civil engineers are responsible for the design and management of construction projects. This could be the construction of houses, sewage systems, bridges, transport systems and more. Civil engineers typically have a degree in civil engineering, although there are other ways of getting to this position. They have an excellent working knowledge of science and mathematics, possess design and planning skills and often use dedicated software packages. Common tasks for a civil engineer include:

  • consulting and planning with clients

  • designing structures and creating blueprints

  • evaluating the potential costs and time needed for a project

  • monitoring and assessing progress

  • assessing the risks and environmental impact of the work

Related: What is Civil Engineering? Definition and Steps To Become a Civil Engineer

9. Building surveyor

National average salary: £39,565 per year

Primary duties: A building surveyor advises clients on the construction, design, repair and maintenance of buildings. They have in-depth knowledge of construction, possess analytical thinking skills and understand health and safety. Typically, their work involves:

  • advising clients on construction work, repairs and boundary disputes

  • handling planning applications and grants

  • ensuring properties meet regulatory standards like fire safety and accessibility

  • assessing any damage for insurance purposes

10. Architect

National average salary: £43,007 per year

Primary duties: Architects are primarily concerned with the design of new buildings and the conservation of existing ones. In addition to knowledge of construction, they know a lot about design and how to make structures aesthetically pleasing. They typically have a university degree but could also have worked towards this role through an apprenticeship. Typically, their tasks include:

  • designing the exterior and interior of a structure

  • drawing hand sketches, developing 3D models and making technical plans

  • managing construction projects

  • working with engineers on planning and implementation

  • visiting sites to assess progress

  • advising on material usage

Related: How To Become an Architect

11. Construction manager

National average salary: £52,827 per year

Primary duties: Construction managers are sometimes referred to as site managers, and they organise the work of a building project. They also ensure that work is done safely, on time and within the allocated budget. They reach this position through an apprenticeship, working towards the role or a university course. They must have a good working knowledge of construction work and procedures, health and safety regulations and mathematics. They must also possess business management, leadership and communication skills. Typical tasks include:

  • reviewing plans with surveyors, engineers and architects

  • monitoring progress and costs

  • hiring staff and supplying materials

  • organising work schedules

  • checking quality and safety

Related: How much does a bricklayer apprentice make? (with FAQs)

Types of roles in construction

Within the construction industry, you can think of the various roles as being separated into three levels or categories. These are as follows:

  • Construction workers: Craftspeople and labourers who carry out the physical work. They may include general labourers and specialists like plumbers and electricians.

  • Middle management: Typically oversee the daily operations of a construction project.

  • Upper management: Involved in the planning and design work that precedes actual construction. These roles also involve supervisory work.

Related: 11 useful construction skills to develop to find work easily

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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