Builders plan, supervise and work on the construction and alteration of buildings.

Tasks and Duties:

  • discusses building plans or changes with architects and clients
  • studies the plans and instructions
  • calculates the materials required
  • works out how much the work will cost
  • may hire tradespeople, such as electricians and plumbers
  • organises the details of contracts
  • may arrange building consent and notify building and plumbing inspectors of work that requires inspection
  • constructs, alters and repairs buildings
  • ensures building standards are met
  • keeps accounts and collects payments
  • may run their own business


Builders need building and carpentry skills and good planning and organising ability. They should be skilled in making calculations and interpreting drawings and they must be able to run a business.


Builders need to know about building methods and materials, and building and safety regulations. They must know how to read architectural plans and diagrams, and also how to deal with local authorities, architects and other contractors.

Personal Qualities:

Builders need to be accurate and careful about details, safety-conscious at all times, and they must have good judgement. They also need to be firm when dealing with people. It is important for builders to be self-motivated as they often work alone, and must find their own work. They need to be efficient to be able to run a profitable business.

Physical Requirements:

Builders need steady hands and good hand-eye co-ordination, and they should be fit, healthy and strong.

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 with English, maths, workshop technology, graphics, economics, or accounting is preferred. Completion of a carpentry apprenticeship and several years’ practical experience are normally required before a carpenter becomes a builder.

Entry Requirements:

Pre apprenticeship courses at polytechnics are recommended for people who want to train as carpenters. These courses are effectively the first year towards the completion of an apprenticeship.

Useful Experience

Building industry work, draughting, or work as a carpenter or a building site labourer is useful experience for builders.

Training on the job

Building skills are gained on the job, and builders can gain further knowledge by doing courses on building and running a business.

Work Places

Builders work inside and outside, on small and large building sites and in all weather conditions. They travel from one building site to another.


Builders are usually self-employed and their pay depends on the success of their business.

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