Property, Architecture & Construction Careers • Roles debunked

You might have heard that careers in construction are all about tea breaks, wolf whistling, laying a few bricks and getting a suntan in the summer. You might have also heard that careers in architecture involve sitting around in stylish offices, building models of skyscrapers out of ice lolly sticks and chewing gum. You may have even heard that careers in maintenance involve just doing a bit of painting, tightening a few screws and rewiring a few plugs.

Well I hate to disappoint you, but you’re way off the mark.

So before you make the decision to get into construction, architecture and maintenance, you should firstly discover what it’s really all about.

It’s all about buildings. Well, it’s really all about the entire built environment. Without the essential work of architects, builders, painters, plasterers, surveyors, plumbers and electricians, we would have nowhere to live, nowhere to work, nowhere to watch sporting or music events, and no bridges to cross. Basically, civilisation would not have happened. It’s safe to say, then, that our lives wouldn’t be the same without the hard work of the people that work in construction, architecture and maintenance.

Careers in construction, architecture and maintenance cover a wide range of specialist activities, from architectural design and the planning of building projects to the active construction of properties and the restoration, regeneration and maintenance of existing buildings.

Would I enjoy a career in construction, architecture and maintenance?

Each building project allows employees to undertake a varied range of tasks and often enjoy a working life that is at least partly outside of a conventional office environment. Each construction project has a concrete end to it (excuse the pun), and thus the successful design, planning and construction of a building can provide its employees with an immense feeling of satisfaction.

Understandably, many jobs in the construction and maintenance industry require specialist practical skills. Architectural work requires people with creativity, a talent for drawing and a mathematical brain. Similarly, jobs in surveying and civil engineering require logic, technical skills and mathematical ability. All in all though, everyone involved in construction, architecture and maintenance must have excellent organisational skills and the ability to work as part of a team.

Who designs a building?

Before construction materials can be bought and building work can begin, the structure itself needs to be designed. This is where an architect earns his money. Basically, architects design both new structures and extensions to properties that have already been built. Sometimes they even provide an advisory service to clients who wish to renovate older properties. It’s all about understanding a client’s needs, doing the appropriate calculations and producing detailed drawings and specifications from which surveyors and construction teams can start to do their bit.

Who manages a construction project?

Construction projects need to be meticulously planned and managed throughout the project lifecycle. Consequently, technical consultants, such as surveyors and civil engineers, are needed to provide expert advice from the beginning to the end of all construction projects. They also provide guidance from a project management perspective, making sure that everything is done on time and within budget.

Who actually builds a building?

Buildings would never be physically built without the construction teams who do the actual manual labour. These teams are the heart and soul of the industry. All the people who work in these careers are a valuable piece in the puzzle of each construction project, from building service engineers, roofers and carpenters to stonemasons, bricklayers and scaffolding teams.

Who takes over once a building has been constructed?

Completing a building’s outer shell and structure is not the end of a successful construction project. The interior and other bits and pieces need to be sorted too. Otherwise, every building would just be a glorified shed. This is where plumbers, electricians, painters, plasterers and decorators earn their stripes. These practical heroes make buildings look shiny and new, comfortable and functional.

They also help to keep buildings maintained throughout their entire life. All buildings have nagging little problems and suffer some wear and tear. Therefore, painters are needed to paint walls; facilities managers are needed to manage facilities such as toilets, office equipment, heating systems etc.; steeplejacks are needed to maintain steeples and church spires; and landscapers are needed to maintain outdoor areas.

Careers in construction, architecture and maintenance can be as creative as they are strenuous, as artistic as they are technical. Such a varied industry is unlikely to get tedious and will always be as important as the day our forefathers laid the first brick of civilisation…well, maybe not. But if this brief introduction has grabbed your attention, a job in construction, architecture, and maintenance could be the one for you!

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