Essential skills for success as a carpenter
Carpenters use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:
- learn how essential skills are used on the job;
- find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
- help prepare yourself for your career.
- Read project specifications to understand what is required for a project.
- Read specification books and notes on blueprints.
- Read and understand first aid and safety reports.
- Read and understand safety inspection manuals.
- Read and interpret building codes, regulations and standards to comply with regulations.
- Read installation manuals.
- Read industry trade magazines to learn about technological advancements, such as new construction materials and methods.
- Interpret labels such as the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) to follow safety guidelines.
- Interpret signs for information about directions, cautions and safety procedures.
- Complete time cards to record work hours.
- Interpret shop drawings and specifications for the sizes, locations and types of materials required for a job.
- Prepare lists of materials.
- Make sketches of drawings or plans to use on job sites.
- Refer to load charts to determine load bearing capacities when operating material handling equipment.
- Interpret blueprints to verify measurements, determine the integrity of plans and to report mistakes.
- Estimate how long it will take to complete a job.
- Calculate the quantity of materials needed for a job, such as the volume of concrete required for footings.
- Convert between metric and imperial measurement systems.
- Verify bills when purchasing tools, accounting for discounts and taxes.
- Analyze survey data for excavations to draw conclusions about safety.
- Take precise measurements using survey instruments.
- Make scale drawings.
- Calculate stringers, treads and risers to build stairs.
- Calculate a rafter line length using the measurements of rise and run.
- Record information on work activities such as problems encountered and resolved and hours of work.
- Write purchase orders for materials.
- Write safety and accident reports.
- Write change orders to recommend blueprint modifications.
- Write reports for project meetings.
- Talk to suppliers to order materials or compare prices.
- Interact with other carpenters to discuss work schedules, safety concerns and to share ideas.
- Communicate with a foreperson to report on work progress and troubleshoot problems.
- Talk to manufacturer representatives to discuss problems with equipment and materials.
- Interact with owner(s) to discuss new ideas and potential changes.
Working with others
- Work frequently in pairs.
- Lead construction teams while working with other tradespersons, forepersons, suppliers and engineers.
- Work as a team to promote safety.
- Adapt routine tasks when working in a confined space.
- Consult other carpenters to share knowledge and experience.
- Refer to blueprints and specifications to obtain detailed project information.
- Analyze blueprints and actual measurements to identify errors.
- Make decisions to use materials efficiently.
- Make decisions about constructing and building structures, such as decks, stairs and platforms.
- Use computer-controlled equipment, such as total stations, smart levels and workplace alarm systems.
- Keep up-to-date with codes, regulations, standards and materials.
- Keep up-to-date with emerging skills and methods from technological advancements.
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