What does a builder do?
As mentioned previously, the role of a builder covers many different areas, with the main ones being public and private housing, repair and maintenance, non-residential public property (i.e. hospitals and schools) and industrial and commercial.
Daily tasks will depend on experience and project type, but in general, a builder will carry out tasks such as:
- Preparing and operating equipment and machinery
- Insulating and soundproofing
- Both putting up and dismantling scaffolding
- Helping out clients with planning processes, particularly when it comes to planning permission
- Organising materials – working out the quantities and then managing when they need to be delivered and where
- Providing quotes for projects
What qualifications and skills do I need to become a builder?
The apprenticeship route and learning on the job is the most common route to becoming a builder.
Applicants are usually required to have GCSEs in Maths, English Language/Literature and a technology subject (grades A-C), however, there are also other ways to enter an apprenticeship programme, such as having taken construction-based courses.
It’s probably best to approach firms and ask exactly what they require for you to join up.
In terms of skills, being able to work well in a team, having attention to detail, working well under pressure and being a good multitasker are all vital for becoming a builder.
Benefits of becoming a freelance builder
As with all self-employed professionals, there are a number of benefits to being your own boss, whether this is working as a sole trader or working through your own limited company.
Freelancers will often find that their income is much higher compared to those who are employed due to the fact that you can take on as many clients as you want at a time and you are able to claim back on business expenses, which can reduce your tax bill at the end of each year.
As well as these financial benefits, you’ll also have a great deal more freedom and flexibility than an employed worker – being able to choose when you work and the projects you want to take on.
For more information on what you can gain from becoming self-employed, read our page The Benefits of Contracting.
What do I need to know about the Construction Industry Scheme?
Everyone working in the construction sector will need to be aware of the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) and how it affects them.
CIS is a deduction scheme designed to put a stop to fraud and tax evasion within the construction industry by having a contractor withhold a certain percentage of a subcontractor’s pay and then paying it on to HMRC – this will then count as advanced payments toward the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance (NI).
All contractors within the industry need to register for CIS, and subcontractors can choose either way, but it works in their favour to register as it means less is withheld from their earnings.
If you’re not sure what CIS is or how it will affect you, you may find the following pages useful:
- CIS: What’s the difference between a contractor and a subcontractor?
- How do I register for the Construction Industry Scheme as a contractor?
- CIS: What are my responsibilities as a Contractor?
- How does Construction Industry Scheme tax work?