What is a builder?

A builder oversees the entire process of construction projects. They supervise, coordinate and work on building, excavating, demolishing and renovating homes and commercial or industrial buildings. Some further specialise in their work, such as focusing on custom homes, green homes, housing developments or specific styles of homes. They have a broad knowledge of all aspects of construction so they can:

  • arrange and communicate with subcontractors

  • assess job sites

  • get permits

  • plan and manage the building process

  • provide cost estimates

  • read and interpret plans.

Builders may work for firms, but they’re often self-employed. If they work for a firm, the firm’s size may affect the types of projects that they do. However, if they’re self-employed, builders are responsible for coordinating all subcontractors, ensuring the safety of their team, sourcing all materials and completing on-site clean-up.

What does a builder do?

Responsibilities of a builder:

  • address problems that may occur

  • complete building work as needed

  • comply with safety regulations

  • coordinate land surveying to prepare for a project

  • ensure building plans satisfy client specifications and code requirements

  • follow up with local authorities or councils to ensure they issue building permits

  • interpret architectural drawings and building plans

  • manage the project budget

  • organise contractors to work on the project, such as plumbers, electricians and carpenters

  • oversee the purchase and delivery of building materials

  • prepare project quotes and timelines for clients to review

  • schedule the building process for each project

  • submit project plans to local authorities for review and approval

  • supervise the entire construction crew, including hired contractors

  • update clients about the project process and receive their input when required

  • work with building inspectors during the process to ensure projects meet requirements.

Builder skills

Builders often rely on a variety of skills, including:


Builders need a broad understanding of construction. It’s important for them to understand construction theories and concepts, and they may need to have the technical abilities to assist with building. This may include knowing how to work with materials like:

  • bricks

  • concrete

  • iron

  • lime

  • mortar

  • plasterboard

  • steel

  • stone

  • terracotta

  • wood.

Builders may also operate heavy machinery and work with tools like:

  • brick hammer

  • brush

  • concrete vibrator

  • drill

  • hammer

  • laser level

  • measuring tape

  • pick

  • plastering trowel

  • pliers

  • plumb line

  • saw

  • scalpel

  • shovel

  • spirit level

  • taping knife

  • trowel

  • wheelbarrow.

Ability to work under pressure

The ability to work under pressure allows builders to work calmly in stressful situations. Working on a job site often means there are many things happening at once, and some scenarios may involve risky situations or dangerous equipment. Also, builders are responsible for ensuring they complete projects by the agreed-upon deadline.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail refers to the ability to complete tasks with precision and without error. It’s important for builders to have excellent attention to detail and be able to think in an organised, logical way. This helps them effectively oversee their team, ensure all aspects of a project are complete and prevent issues when interpreting building plans or architectural drawings.

Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills are essential for evaluating situations to identify the causes of problems and develop solutions. Builders need excellent problem-solving skills so they’re able to respond to the range of challenges that may occur during construction. For example, they may need to handle budget issues or time constraints for meeting a deadline.


Leadership skills include the traits that enable someone to organise a team to achieve a common goal. Builders need leadership skills to motivate a variety of professionals to complete their tasks. These skills also help them create a safe, productive work environment.