How to become a builder

A builder applies cement and mortar while constructing a brick wall.

Whether you’re new to the workplace or thinking of a career change, becoming a builder is a stepping stone into an industry of creation.

There are a number of careers available in the construction industry, ranging from general labouring to more specialised fields like electrical work, plumbing or carpentry.

Keep reading to find out more about becoming a builder in the UK.

What do builders do?

A builder is someone who constructs, repairs and renovates properties (both commercial and residential) and infrastructure (for example, roads or bridges). As well as completing building work themselves, a builder may also supervise other workers - sometimes other general builders, sometimes specialists like joiners, plasterers or tilers.

Depending on the scale of the job you’re working on, you may work alone or as part of a larger team of builders. Builders have to work to a set of regulations that help to keep themselves and the public safe, as well as ensuring the quality of work is up to standard.

If you want to become a builder, you’ll need:

  • Good physical fitness
  • An eye for detail
  • The ability to work well in a team

You may also be required as part of your contract with a client to take out insurance policies directly relating to your work. For example, this might include public liability insurance. This doesn’t just serve the purpose of reassuring your clients - it also covers your back in the event of a disagreement. Builders insurance helps to protect your business and your livelihood.

How to become a qualified builder

When people are hiring builders to carry out work on their home or business, it’s understandable that they want to make sure the people they hire are professional, capable and honest. Many careers in the construction industry require qualifications or certification to prove that you are equipped with the skills and knowledge to do the job well.

The Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) is a nationally recognised program in the construction industry that acts as confirmation that you are qualified to do your job. The CSCS database lists people in the industry who have, or are studying towards, a construction qualification. These people will have a card to show to employers and clients that confirms this - and there are different cards for different types of qualification.

While you’ll need to undergo some form of training before you can get a CSCS card, don’t assume that a qualification alone will get you into the industry. CSCS are seen as something of an industry standard, so if you don’t have a CSCS card, you’ll be at a disadvantage.

So, how do you become qualified?

What qualifications do you need to be a builder?

From a legal standpoint, builders don’t need any qualifications to carry out construction work in the UK. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be hired to do any jobs if you can’t prove your skill set. The majority of builders secure experience through apprenticeships and trainee ‘learning on the job’ schemes.

As one of the most popular choices as a way of getting into construction, apprenticeships offer a range of benefits. Generally, an apprentice’s time will be split between on-the-job experience at a building site and training at a college or university. This allows you to build on your practical skills as well as learning everything you need to know from a technical perspective.

One of the clear benefits of an apprenticeship in any field is the opportunity to earn a wage while you complete your training. While you won’t earn as much as a fully-fledged builder, you will be paid for your time, which can help to support you while you train up. Additionally, many apprenticeships end with a job offer - or, at the very least, a meaningful reference from a well-established industry professional - which can help you to get your foot in the door of the industry once you’re qualified.

How to get a building apprenticeship

Apprenticeships aren’t always easy to find. In fact, you might not know where to start when it comes to choosing the right apprenticeship for you. Fortunately, the government website provides a list of apprenticeships across the country. You can narrow down your search by field and location, and find out how to apply.

Here at Markel Direct, we offer a bespoke builders insurance package. This allows you to combine a number of covers together into a single, specialised policy.

Business insurance from £5 a month