Construction trades helpers and labourers (NOC 7611)

About this job

Construction trades helpers and labourers support skilled tradespersons and work on industrial sites in residential, institutional and commercial settings. They prepare and clean up the site, set up and remove equipment/materials and help where needed. On some sites, they may also do security and safety checks.
 
Common job titles
  • asphalt / paving
  • bridge gang
  • cement / concrete
  • clamper
  • construction
  • crane chaser

Duties

Construction trades helpers and labourers:

  • Load and unload construction materials, as well as move materials to work areas
  • Put up and take down concrete forms, scaffolding, ramps, catwalks shoring and barricades at construction sites
  • Mix, pour and spread materials, such as concrete and asphalt
  • Help tradespersons, such as carpenters, bricklayers, cement finishers, roofers and glaziers
  • Assist heavy equipment operators secure special attachments to equipment
  • Guide operators as they move equipment 
  • Assist in lining up pipes and work on other activities during oil and gas pipeline construction
  • Help with drilling and blasting rock at construction sites
  • Support miners with excavating, setting up and operating various drills as well as other surface mining machinery
  • Use a laser level to grade the earth
  • Help demolish buildings using prying bars and other tools, as well as sort, clean and pile salvaged materials
  • Remove rubble and waste at construction sites using rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and other equipment
  • Operate pneumatic hammers, vibrators and tampers as directed
  • Take care of machines or equipment used in construction, such as mixers, compressors and pumps
  • Clean up chemical spills and other waste products, and remove asbestos and other dangerous materials
  • Oil and grease hoists and similar equipment
  • Direct traffic at or near construction sites
  • Perform other activities at construction sites as directed

Work environment

People in these jobs work for construction companies, contractors and surface mine and quarry operators. They work in industrial settings, including pipelines, utilities, hydroelectric dams, roadways, bridges, tunnels, shipyards, mining and railways.

For the most part, people in these jobs work outside in a range of weather conditions. Some work may take place indoors.

Depending on the project, individuals may need to work 10 to 12 hours a day. Some schedules have up to 14 consecutive days of work with seven days off. Or, 21 days of consecutive work and 10 days off. Sometimes the work takes place in remote areas. This means that construction trades helpers and labourers may have to leave their families for periods of time.

Construction trades helpers and labourers need to be physically fit since they regularly lift heavy items. 
Working on job sites means that people may have to work with or near hazardous items and use equipment, instruments, machinery or power/hand tools. The work is often noisy and has strong smells.

Insights from industry

Industry sources say that new technologies and opportunities to learn is important for individuals in this job.

On larger projects, drug and alcohol use is strictly monitored and zero tolerance for violations applies. Most workers on large sites will need to pass drug and alcohol tests to be considered for employment.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Continued education, training and apprenticeship programs can lead to more senior positions. Keeping up with new technology and equipment assists individuals who want to move into other positions on a job site.

Additional resources