Building Contractor
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
35d ago

There are no set pay rates for building contractors and what you earn depends on your ability, as well as how often you work and the success of your building company.

There may be times when your services are in high demand and times with little or no work.

This information is a guide only. )

What you will do

Building contractors may do some or all of the following :

  • discuss building plans or changes with architects, clients and other tradespeople
  • calculate the amount of materials required and estimate the cost of jobs
  • hire and supervise tradespeople such as electricians and plumbers
  • organise details of contracts
  • arrange building consents and notify building and plumbing inspectors
  • construct, alter and repair buildings
  • ensure building standards and correct health and safety practices are met
  • keep accounts and collect payments.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Building contractors need to have :

  • building and carpentry skills
  • knowledge of building methods and materials
  • understanding of building standards and safety regulations
  • skill interpreting drawings and architectural plans
  • knowledge of health and safety procedures on building sites
  • maths skills
  • small business skills.
  • Building contractors :

  • may work irregular or long hours, and often work weekends
  • work on building sites or existing buildings, in all weathers and in conditions that may be muddy, noisy and dusty
  • may travel within their region for work.
  • Entry requirements

    There are no specific requirements to become a building contractor, but most are experienced carpenters who have worked in the building and construction industry.

    A New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry or other building qualification may be useful. The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) oversees carpentry apprenticeships.

    Secondary education

    No specific secondary education is required for this job, but English, maths, construction and mechanical technologies, and accounting to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.

    Year 11 and 12 students can learn more about the construction industry, and gain relevant skills, by doing a National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades (Levels 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme.

    For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.

    Personal requirements

    Building contractors need to be :

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • safety-conscious
  • able to make good judgements
  • able to work with a range of people
  • motivated, as they often work independently and must find their own work
  • good at planning and organising.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for building contractors includes :

  • carpentry work
  • other building trade work
  • running a small business.
  • Physical requirements

    Building contractors need to be fit, healthy and strong as they have to lift heavy materials and equipment. They must also be comfortable working at heights.


    Some building work has to be carried out or overseen by a Licensed Building Practitioner. To get a licence, you have to prove your experience and / or have appropriate qualifications.

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