The work of a concreter involves laying concrete, spreading it, smoothening the mixture, and sealing the mix, on the required surface. Concreters are part of construction projects where they work on different surfaces such as ramps, stairs, floors, walls and footpaths.
Concreters are crucial for new building foundations and structures such as bridges that need to be
strong and long-lasting.
Exploring the job of a concreter is essential to know if the career would work for you. Know more about the different tasks of a concreter and the risks involved to make the right career decision.
Duties of a Concreter
The job of a concreter is key to the construction sector. Their work involves the building of robust concrete surfaces that can function alone such as bridges or driveways. Concreters also work on components that work in unison with other structures to improve the strength of a construction. For example, a concrete slab is a contributing element essential for the structural integrity of a building.
Some tasks of a concreter include:
- Preparing concrete mix at construction sites for pouring
- Laying and levelling concrete for achieving a smooth surface
- Spreading concrete and shaping it to form required designs
- Sealing the mix to preserve concrete integrity and structure strength
- Ensuring proper curing by covering concrete with sand and plastic
- Operating screeds, trowelling machines or different types of trowels, to level concrete
- Securing concrete in the right place through the use of wiring mesh
- Operating concrete pumps to pour mix on large surfaces
- Being up-to-date on weather conditions to decide the right timing for pouring concrete
- Ensuring process accuracy at all levels so that pouring is efficient
- Working on wall-finishing by using water and abrasives on concrete
- Cutting well-cured concrete for different purposes using power tools
- Using different powders to colour concrete
- Installing door sills, steel bolts and plates, or other fixtures
- Creating joints using a jointer or straight edge tool
Concreter Working Environment
The job of a concreter requires physical exertion. They have to constantly squat, sit, stand, bend, lift heavy weights, work underground or at heights, to perform their tasks. The job nature of concreters requires them to work outdoors in most cases. This outdoor work exposes them to harsh weather. Their work surroundings are mostly noisy.
Concreters workhours are usually regular. But they may have to work on holidays and weekends for projects with tight deadlines. In unfavourable weather conditions such as hot summers, they may have to start work early to avoid the sun. In winters, concreters usually start late as the frost in the mornings makes concrete setting difficult.
The working environment and job nature of concreters make them vulnerable to injuries and accidents. Protective gear is important as is insurance. Trade insurance, in particular, protects them from allegations of negligence and damage by third-parties. Find out more here on insurance.
Processes, Tools and Safety Gear
Concreters need to be knowledgeable of the different types of concrete and the process and materials essential for forming each type. Concreters must also be adept at handling tools such as trowels, shovels, straight edge tool and concrete vibrators. They must be able to operate boxing, wheelbarrows and concrete pumps.
Concreters must be able to drive heavy vehicles, sometimes those that are fitted with concrete pumps and industrial-grade cement mixers.
Given the tools, devices, and machines involved in the job, concreters must be safety-conscious. Using safety gear such as gloves and gumboots with steel caps, are a must.
Qualification to Become a Concreter
There is no specific education essential as a qualification to becoming a concreter. However; experience as an apprentice can help you get a high-paying job faster. A concreter apprenticeship requires you to work as an apprentice for 24 months.
You can start such apprenticeship as a student with your education still in progress. Your school should be able to help you enroll as an apprentice. You can also work as an apprentice as an adult.
As a formal apprentice, you are required to work for an employer. You can also approach a licensed training institute to join as an apprentice.
A White Card is mandatory to be able to work as a concreter across Australia. If you are a concreter working in the construction industry, then a White Card is issued upon undergoing a safety training.
Aspirants need to undergo online or face-to-face training at a government-recognized institute.
You can pursue additional educational courses to enhance your knowledge and skills in concreting. The CCAA or the Cement Concrete & Aggregates is an apex entity for Australia’s construction materials sector. The CCAA offers training in Concrete Basics, Concrete Practice, Concrete Technology, and Advanced Concrete Technology.
Skills Important to Be a Successful Concreter
Technical skills such as understanding concrete and the process of pouring and right curing can be acquired on the job or through short courses. But there are certain skills you need to cultivate on your own, to grow on the job. These include:
Concreters have to be physically fit to be able to perform their tasks with efficiency. On a typical day, they have to lift heavy weights such as cement bags, and handle power tools and handheld devices.
Concreters also assume different positions, from sitting and squatting to bending and climbing, to accomplish jobs onsite. Without physical strength, concreters can get injured easily. Good food and exercise are crucial to maintain physical fitness.
Good Communication Skills
As a concreter, you have to work with different teams and stakeholders at the site. From understanding client requirements to issuing clear instructions to teams, good communication is essential to ensure process accuracy, from start to finish.
Good listening and verbal communication are both crucial to receive messages and convey your requirements with clarity. Without good communication, processes can go awry, leading to safety, cost and deadline issues.
Being a Team Player
An ability to work with others ensures that the job gets done quickly. Being aware of one’s own job responsibilities, and supporting each other with their duties, helps improve process efficiency.
A concreter usually earns $80, 000 on average in Australia. The income is higher for concreters with greater experience and working in premium cities. If you are keen on a career as a concreter, then you can be successful by undergoing relevant training, nurturing key skills, and observing safety precautions.