Divison of Construction

Build California

Construction Job Descriptions

coronado bridge

There are many trades within the Construction Industry.  This site features the top five transportation-related occupations, along with their definitions.



Tasks involving physical labor are performed by construction laborers.  Laborers work on building, highway, and construction projects, excavations, and demolition. They operate a variety of equipment including hand and power tools: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment. They clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, place shoring to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, clean up rubble and debris, and remove asbestos, lead, and other hazardous waste materials.


Operating Engineers

Operating Engineers operate construction equipment, including paving, surfacing and tamping equipment. They run various equipment used in applying concrete, spreading stone or tamping gravel and other materials for use in building roads, parking lots, or airport runways.  They move materials with fork lifts, lift loads with cranes, and operate barges on the bays.



Construction carpenters Construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures of wood, plywood, and wallboard, using carpenter's hand tools and power tools.  They build falsework for bridges to be built on, platforms for workers to stand on, and forms to hold concrete until it hardens. 


Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers

A concrete finisher, or cement mason is a tradesman who works with concrete. Work includes placing, finishing, protecting and repairing concrete. Concrete finishers are often responsible for setting the concrete forms and ensuring they have the correct depth and pitch. Concrete finishers place concrete from the concrete truck chute, concrete pump, concrete skip or wheelbarrow. They spread the concrete using shovels and rakes, sometimes using a “screed” or level to get a good level surface on the freshly placed concrete. After leveling the concrete, they smooth the surface using either a hand trowel, a long handed “bull float” or powered floats. When the concrete is leveled and floated, concrete finishers may press an edger between the forms and the concrete to give a chamfered edge that is less likely to chip.


Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers

Ironworkers are tradesmen who work on a variety of tasks in construction and civil engineering. They work with wrought iron and mild steel as the primary material to fabricate columns, beams, build bridges, skyscrapers and ornamental metalwork such as gates and handrails. Rebar is an important part of projects that make use of concrete, and the ironworker is responsible for building and tying together cages of rebar that are encased in concrete columns, bridge soffits and bridge decks. A variety of other metals are also installed by the trade including cor-ten, aluminum, stainless steel and even titanium used to make prefabricated panels to cover to outer skin of some buildings


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