What is meant by construction work?

In civil engineering, construction means the application of principles of science and mathematics for building bridges, dams, buildings, roads, highways, tunnels, airports, structures, etc. Different branches of science, like physics and chemistry, are extensively applied to design and analysis in construction. Material properties, the science of atmospheric conditions (like solutions, mixtures, etc.), the impact of environmental factors like, corrosion and acidity are some of the primary knowledge of chemistry which are used by civil engineers to carry out construction. Estimation of forces, application of laws of mechanics, fluids mechanics, soil mechanics, etc. are some of the fundamental concepts of physics, which are well applied in construction works. Building construction and structural engineering are two of the most primary areas in civil engineering that parallelly applies principles of both chemistry and physics to carry on construction works.

The work of construction is well carried out by both civil engineers and construction workers. A civil engineer performs design and analysis by performing mathematical calculations and applying scientific principles to design buildings, structures, etc. whereas the constructional works are carried out by on-site or on-the-job workers. The construction of the design is primarily carried out in suitable geographical locations, preferably known as a construction site. Here the construction workers make use of special tools and equipment to complete the work of construction.

Role of construction workers

Construction workers are especially skilled individuals that accomplish construction works by utilizing various tools and equipment. Construction workers primarily find their employment in construction sites hired by different construction companies. Construction workers majorly fall under the category of construction laborers. Construction laborers use physical strength and stamina to carry out the required specific task in construction.

Construction workers play various roles in construction sites, some of them are outlined below.


Electricians are those construction workers, whose primary working condition involves laying electrical cables, Installing equipment like motors, machinery, performing electrical wiring, being involved in the electrification of buildings, repairing electrical faults and circuit breakdowns. Additionally, these construction works should also have adequate knowledge to read and interpret electrical drawings and simple line diagrams on construction sites.


Carpenters are construction workers who specialize in carpentry works associated with construction. The work of a carpenter is to read blueprints given by supervisors to install, erect and repair structures made out of wood and other materials. Carpenters measure, cut, join and shape materials made out of plastics, wood, fiberglass, and acrylics using power tools on the construction site.


Pipefitters working in construction sites especially engage themselves in plumbing and related works. Pipefitters working in building construction sites plans and build pipe layouts for the water system, hot and cold water supply, and installation of boilers for steam supply. Besides working in construction sites, a pipefitter also works in private households and carries out plumbing works.


Welders working in construction sites perform welding operations to join beams made of steel, trusses, metallic columns, and footers. Welders also perform non-structural welding like joining steel bars to form stairs railings, metallic bridges between rooms, installing and joining pipe works, etc. Welders should have exceptional expertise and skills in welding to provide an accurate and strong joining. A Welder must also have adequate equipment skills to handle various welding equipment to provide joints that are according to prescribed standards.

The task of welding requires precise control and concentration to maintain a uniform weld bead through the metal surfaces which are to be joined.

A welder performing overhead arc welding
CC BY-SA 4.0 | Image Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Weldscientist

Equipment used in construction site

On the construction site, there is various equipment used starting from small power tools to large overhead cranes. Some of the important equipment that is used in construction sites are outlined below.


Jackhammers are electromechanical devices that are primarily used for demolition purposes. It has a chisel tip with a mechanism that provides a reciprocating hammer action. Jackhammers are used to break down rocks, pavements, and concrete. As concrete is a highly brittle material, the rapid reciprocating motion induces cyclic loading in the concrete. As brittle materials are strong in compression but weak in shear, concrete fails but develops fracture in the shear plane.

The requirement of exceptional skills is limited while operating a jackhammer. A worker must possess adequate physical strength to handle the jerks produced by the machine.

A jackhammer
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image Credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Anthony Appleyard


Various equipment is used in construction sites which possess a potential risk to the workers as well non-workers. Barricades act as warning barriers for individuals if one approaches near hazardous zones. A barricade is generally red that signifies danger. Barricades also follow other color codes depending on applications.

Overhead cranes

Overhead cranes are large lifting and supporting types of machinery. An overhead crane generally lifts heavy construction equipment to heights that are usually not possible by ordinary types of machinery to reach. Apart from carrying construction materials, overhead cranes also lift workers to higher elevations so that can carry on with fitting works and perform the task of scaffolding.

Career path as a construction worker

The role of a construction worker is a mix of physical labor with good job security. The work of a construction worker involves day and night shifts with working in risky environments. But they form the forefront of any construction project because of their exceptional domain skills and physical strength.

One needs to complete a high school diploma followed by a year of apprenticeship training in a construction site. Undergoing apprenticeship training equips the individual with proper work-related and equipment skills. An individual has a choice to undergo apprenticeship training in any of the fields that are highly required in construction sites.

Context and Applications

This topic finds its existence in different undergraduate degree courses like-

  • Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelors in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelors in Business Administration (Finance)
  • Masters in Business Administration (Finance)

Practice Problems

1. Which of the following is construction equipment?

  1. Jackhammer
  2. Welding torch
  3. Overhead crane
  4. All of these

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Jackhammer, welding torch, and overhead crane are all equipment used in construction sites.

2. Which of the following color for barricades is used to signify danger?

  1. Orange
  2. Crimson
  3. Purple
  4. Red

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Barricades painted in red color are used to signify danger.

3. Which among the following is the other name for a construction worker?

  1. Apprentices
  2. Constructional laborers
  3. Fitters
  4. None of these

Answer: Option b

Explanation: Construction works are also known by construction laborers as physical strength is the primary requirement for a construction worker.

4. Which of the following is true for a pipefitter?

  1. They perform plumbing work.
  2. They perform welding work.
  3. They perform works related to carpentry.
  4. They perform electrical repair.

Answer: Option a

Explanation: A pipefitter apart from constructional works related to pipes, also perform plumbing works in private households.

5. Which is out of the following materials is handled by a carpenter?

  1. Steels
  2. Woods and plastics
  3. Glass
  4. Aluminum

Answer: Option b

Explanation: A carpenter is a works person who primarily handles materials such as wood, acrylics, plastics, and plies on a construction site.

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