Wise Geek give a fantastic overview of what this role entails:
“Steel erectors assemble scaffolds and structural components made from steel. They are part of a larger group of construction workers, and they are critical members of teams on extremely large structures that require steel framing for safety and integrity. The job of steel erector requires a high degree of training and skill, and the pay might be very good in some areas, especially during construction booms. Job outlooks are variable, and some steel erectors go through slow periods during which they have difficulty finding work because of construction slumps.
Before construction starts, steel erectors might arrive on the site to set up scaffolds, supports and other materials that the crew will use to access different parts of the job site. They also are responsible for setting up steel structural members as the building progresses. The rate of building can be determined by the pace of the steel erectors, and sometimes the pressure to work rapidly can be substantial. Other teams follow behind them to install decking and other components, slowly creating a structure from the ground up.
As buildings grow, steel erectors need to add scaffolds and supports for workers while moving and removing other components. At the end of construction, they break down the various pieces of equipment that they brought on the site so that they can be transported to another site. Steel erectors might also be consulted in demolition and building collapse situations. Their knowledge of how steel buildings are put together can be useful when the buildings fall apart or are deliberately taken down.
To become a steel erector, it is necessary to complete an apprenticeship in the industry. This usually takes about four to five years and they have an opportunity to work on increasingly complex projects and tasks. He or she also receives training in worksite safety, the characteristics of steel and related topics that might be of interest or could be useful on the job. Physical fitness is essential, because this work is very physically demanding.”
What you need to be a Structural Steel Erector
There are no set entry requirements, but some employers may look for GCSEs (A* to C) in subjects like maths, English, science and technology. Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering, or site experience may also be helpful.
The key skills you need:
- the ability to follow engineering instructions and plans
- communication skills
- practical skills
Starter: £14,000 to £20,000
Experienced: £21,000 to £28,000
Highly Experienced: £28,000 to £35,000
These figures are a guide only.
Working hours, patterns and environment
You’ll usually work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You might need to do overtime to meet deadlines.
You’ll mainly work outdoors and at height, and you’ll need to be physically fit.
Your employer will provide you with personal safety equipment.
You may need a driving licence to drive between jobs.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a site supervisor or engineering technician, or move into related areas like welding, site health and safety or training.
Example job description for a Structural Steel Erector
You will be constructing steel structures from large aircraft hangars to grandstands and highway bridges with all their steel components. You will have the opportunity to work on prestigious construction projects in the UK and overseas.
Main Duties and Responsibilities:
- Complying with all relevant Company Health, Safety and Environmental policies
- Possess the ability to read and understand drawings and follow safe working practices in the pre assembly and erection of structural steelwork at low and high levels
- Sling loads, signal and work with cranes
- Working at height and operating high level access equipment e.g. Mobile Operating Platforms (MEWP’s)
- Operate site plant and equipment
- Fit prefabricated sheet metal (flashings and trims) and structural decking
- Install roof, vertical and horizontal cladding systems
- Full UK driving licence
- Valid CSCS Steel Erector and/or Cladder card (training can be provided)
- Valid CPCS Plant Operator Card or IPAF for MEWPS Operator card
- Be willing to work away from home in the UK and overseas
This role would suit candidates currently working as: Steel Erector, Cladder, Slinger or Signaller and would be suitable for a trainee.
National Career Service