So you have just got into a place and you want to start doing jobs yourself. Maybe you’re usually in the office so the thought of spending your summer evenings building patios or ripping down walls gets you excited. If that’s the case read on for my construction tips for beginners.
Tip 1) Always get advice from a builder before carrying out any works.
Tip 2) Start small and work your way up to the bigger jobs (So don’t go all guns blazing ripping out a bathroom if you can’t put one back) get used to working with tools so start on something small like hanging a door or putting some stud work up.
Tip 3) Wear the right safety equipment, steel toe caps as standard with a reinforced mid sole. Gloves, hard hat goggles, face mask, ear protection. Decide what is required when you are doing the job although the list above is pretty standard on construction sites now.
Tip 4) Start doing some labouring for a builder on the weekends this will help you gain confidence and you can learn a lot from watching others. Most of the trades start in some form of labouring job before they get into their chosen trade.
Tip 5) Your house is a great place to learn so try your hand at all the different jobs don’t just stick to one or two
Tip 6) Check YouTube out it has a how to guide for everything.
Tip 7) Sign yourself up to evening classes. local colleges run part time construction courses for most of the trade related jobs.
Tip 8) Look at my top rated tools page to get yourself set up with some good tools for the job.
Tip 9) Build up a rapport with the local builders merchants they can give you good deals on materials for your project.
Tip 10) Construction work is dangerous so be aware all the time and I would personally recommend staying away from working at height and especially working off a ladder. For this type of work employ a professional.
Tip 11) Don’t give up as soon as something goes wrong keep trying. The builders mentality is everything can be gotten over one way or the other, the fun bit is finding out how.
Tip 12) Building work is very strenuous make sure you lift things correctly and don’t overdo it at the start. It will take time for you to get use to the physical side of it. Don’t think because you go to the gym that it will be easy, it is a completely different workout. Going to the gym for an hour and Digging and barrowing mud into the skip for 9 hours a day, day after day is no comparison and it will test you physically and mentally and take time to get used to.
Tip 13) Following on from tip 12, cancel your gym membership it won’t be needed anymore.
Tip 14) Remember the 5 P’s Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Plan what you are going to do and require well before you start the job. It’s the construction game so you will probably come up against something, but if the bulk of it is there and you have planned well it will save a lot of hassle and time as the job progresses.
Tip 15) Get to know other trades, chance is you will come up against something where you will definitely need professional help on. Keep a list of useful contacts so if the worst happens you have a list to hand of trades you can call at a moment’s notice.Tip 16) Don’t let people worry you, you will always have those acquaintances that worry about everything and in turn make you worry about what you are doing. Unless they have a proven track record or a trade back ground then what do they know? Get advice from a professional and crack on. Like I said earlier “A good builder can overcome anything” and that’s how you will learn.
Tip 17) Have a plan and don’t deviate too much, as soon as you start changing your mind during a project that is when the budget and time scale go out the window. Try and stick to the original plan and don’t get too focused on minor details.
Tip 18) My old step dad was a carpenter he didn’t give me much advice because to be honest I don’t think he had much advice to give. But the two bits he did that have always stuck and which has helped me in my business were:
– Measure twice cut once
-Always clean up after yourself
So two tips for one there.
Tip 19) Don’t keep your phone in your pocket. I have broken 2 already by heaving something up into the van or onto a scaffold and pressing it against the phone in my pocket. Also if you are anything like me it’s always going off and distracts you from the task at hand.
Tip 20) Building work is really hard physically and challenging mentally. On those long hot days when you have 4 ton of aggregate to take around the back garden or 3 packs of slabs or 1000 bricks to move by hand. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. My tip is to break the job down into smaller tasks and set little goals. So for example I may say “I’ll load 200 bricks first then I’ll stop for a drink” or “I’ll empty one dumpy bag of aggregate before I stop for some food” and so on. By setting these small goals throughout the day even the most physically demanding job can fly by and believe me I have had to do this many times myself over the years and when it’s your full time job, its day in day out so then this system is really needed.
Tip 21) This is more of a self-improvement tip, but if I have jobs where I’m just loading a job up all day or the really mundane side of the build is happening then I get my audio books on and listen to them as I carry out the task. Obviously this has to be a safe environment to do this so not on a large construction site where there are heavy machinery driving around the place. But if it’s safe to do so listen to a business audio or self-improvement book or even learn a language. It’s a really good use of time and it keeps you entertained all the while educating yourself in some shape or form.
If you are interested in the knowing what sort of business/motivational audio books I can recommend then comment on this post and I will give you some advice on where to start.
Tip 22) Sketch the job out onto a pad of paper, so if a fence or patio you are deciding to build, draw it as it will look with all the measurements. This will help you to work out what materials are needed and give you an idea of the finished product. It may also highlight potential problems that you might not of spotted if you hadn’t of drawn it out. Every time I see a job now I sketch it this way and take down all the measurements. I also take photos of the area so I can refer back to it when I am pricing the works.
I hope these construction tips for beginners will guide you on your next project..