Trades & Services
Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials. They also also install cabinetry.
What does a Carpenter do?
Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures - such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, and rafters - made from wood and other materials. They also may also install kitchen cabinets, wall cladding, and plasterboard.
As a carpenter or joiner, you may carry out some of the following tasks, depending on where you work:
- cut and shape timber for floorboards, skirting boards and window frames
- make and assemble doors, window frames, staircases and fitted furniture or cabinetry
- fit wooden structures, like floor and roof joists, roof timbers, staircases, partition walls, and door and window frames (first fixings)
- install skirting boards, door surrounds, doors, cupboards and shelving, as well as door handles and locks (second fixings)
- build temporary wooden supports to hold concrete in place while it sets, for example building foundations (formwork)
- make and fit interiors in shops, bars, restaurants, offices and public buildings
- construct stage sets for theatre, film and TV productions.
Key skills and interests
To become a carpenter, you would need:
- good practical skills
- an organised approach to work
- an eye for detail
- the ability to follow technical drawings and plans
- good maths skills for measuring and working out quantities and angles
- a reasonable level of fitness.
Working hours and conditions
Carpenters would normally work standard hours, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends or evenings may be necessary to meet construction deadlines.
Some work can take place outdoors in all weathers, on ladders, scaffolding or roofs. Some work is indoors where conditions could be quite dusty. You will use protective equipment on all jobs.
You will normally travel between sites, and you may occasionally work away from home on some contracts. You are likely to need a valid drivers' licence.
How to become an Carpenter?
Entry Level Education
To become a carpenter you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in carpentry. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior school certificate or equivalent.
Carpenters must generally either hold, or work under someone who holds, a valid builder's licence.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (CIC). Authorised training is conducted by Registered Training Organisations.
Employment of carpenters is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations. Population growth should result in new-home construction—the largest segment employing carpenters—which will stimulate the need for many new workers.
Home renovation needs should also spur demand for carpenters.
However, growth may be moderated by the increasing use of modular and prefabricated components. Roof assemblies, walls, stairs, and complete bathrooms are just a few of the prefabricated components that can be manufactured in a separate facility and then assembled onsite by carpenters. Installing prefabricated components replaces the most labour-intensive and time-consuming onsite building activities.