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Level One

Trainee Guide

Fourth Edition

f • f'vT-'r


Prentice Hall

Upper Saddle River, New Jersey Columbus, Ohio contrerr

Learning Series



National Center for Construction Education and Research

President: Don Whyte

Director of Product Development: Daniele Stacey Carpentry Project Manager: Daniele Stacey Production Manager: Jessica Martin Product Maintenance Supervisor: Debie Ness Editor: Brendan Coote

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Pearson Education, Inc.

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This book was set in Palatino and Helvetica by Carlisle Communications, Ltd. It was printed and bound by Courier Kendallville, Inc. The cover was printed by Phoenix Color Corp.

This information is general in nature and intended for training purposes only. Actual performance of activities described in this manual requires compliance with all applicable operating, service, maintenance, and safety procedures under the direction of qualified personnel. References in this manual to patented or proprietary devices do not constitute a recommendation of their use.

Copyright © 2006, 2001, 1998, 1992 by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), Gainesville, FL 32614-1104 and published by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by copyright, and permission should be obtained from NCCER prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, elec­tronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regarding permission(s), write to: NCCER Product Development, P.O. Box 141104, Gainesville, FL 32614-1104.

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Learning Series


109876543 ISBN 0-13-228591-6


If you're ready to nail down a career in-construc­tion, consider carpentry. Carpenters make up the largest building trades occupation in the industry and those with all-around skills- are^in high demand. Because of increasing demands for hous­ing, roads, and bridges,, job opportunities for car­penters are expected to Ije excellent over theiae&t' decade, particularly fjor t%ase with the most S&ps*^ , Carpenters are involved in many diffeJem'Pf \| kinds of construction activities, from biiildirig^W highways and bridges to installing kitchen cabi-■ nets. Carpenters construct, ere^.. install, and " repair structures and fixtures maie from wood , and'- other materials. Depending on type of construction, size of company, and other factors, carpenters may specialize in one or two activities or ma> perform many different tasks. Each car­pentry task is somewhat different, but most involve the same basic sfeps:'.workrng from blue­prints, laving out the structure, assembling the structures, and checking the work afterward. Hav-* ing good hand-eye coordination, an attention to detail, ability to perform math caicifta-

tiorfr wilt help vou as you progress through^our car^bt^t"e^&vg. More important, however, is your willingness to learn. Employers often look favorabl^-upon students who complete their training and usually start them at a higher level of responsibility and pay than those who do not. In terms of advancement, carpenters typically have ^greater opportunities than most other construc-; tion workers because carpenters experience the '„ entire construction process.

We wish you success as you embark on your first; year of training in the carpentry craft and hope that you will continue your training beyond this textbook. There are more than one million people employed in carpentry work in the United States, and as most of them can tell you, there are many opportunities awaiting those with the skills and desire to move forward in the construction industry ' a


NCCER and Prentice" Hall are pleased to present the fourth edition of Carpentry Fundamentals Level One. *tfa\sedition presents a new design and has been updated to include two new modules on concrete and reinforcing material and basic stair layout.

,' Check out the^pepaig pages to each of the ten modules in -this textbook to see people in the car­pentry trade competing m nationally renowned > events. SkillsUSA, as welf'^s Associated Builders aftd Contractors, provide fe^etliods of national recognition through their yearly competitions.

Sk&IsUSA^ a national nonprofit pr^ganization, serves more than 280,000 high school&nd college students and professional members enrolled in training programs in trade? technical; and skilled service occupations. SkilisUSA programs inclu^te^ local, state, ancf .national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leader- ! ship skills. During the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, more than 4,600 stu­dents compete in 80 occupational and leadership skill areas. SkillsUSA programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the classroom. For information on SkillsUSA and to see how you might get involved visit i .

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABjp) is a national association representing 23,000 ' merit shop construction and constructionrrelated fkrm-in 79 chapters across the United States. The annujl. ABC Craft Olympics competition spotlights the-j nation's top craft professionals. As an integral part of ABC's annual convention, craft students from chapters and member firm training pro­grams around the country partidpajq* A;, the National Craft Olympics. Duringthis intense two-day event, young men and wonierk .compete in one of 13 craft categories, including cajjpentry. For more information on ABC and the Craft Olympics .'

We also invite you to visit the NCCER website at for the latest releases, training irtformatkxv. newsletter, and much more. You can also reference the Contren® product catalog online at . Your feedback welcome. You may email your comments to t\-, trriculum@or send general comments * 1 and j^ouiries to info@.


Wei-illustrated, ma tion

NCCER alsomai provides transcript

The National Center for Cori^|ru^onJBducation and ResearcS^fCCER) is a not-for^Mit 501(c)(3) education foundation established irtil995 bf the world's largest and most progressive,^fis,tru<Jtion companies and national construction associa­tions. It was foundeditd address the severe Work­force shortage facing the industry and to develop

,a standardized framing process and cu4$figMf; *toindividuaiswnV. Today, NCCER is supportectfty hundreds of lead- moc|uiesQf NCCERs ing construction and maintenance companies, -^ainine programs must X/rnanufacturers, arjd national af*• xu^' - - °*' c ° 'Cootren® Learning Series was

.pat^iership with prentice Hall, the :geM educational publisher. Some features ;of NCCER's Contren® Learning Series are as follows: *"*

• An^^ustry-proven record of success

• Curricula developed by the industry for the industry

tion providing portability and educational credits prenticeship, Training, ices (ATELS) require-room training (CFR

• National sti of learned jot

• Compliance- wit Emj^pyer, a'ncl Lc

'^aifc&^for relate

and practical infor-

Registrythat wallet cards

Contrevt Curricula

NCCER's training programs comprise more than 40 construction, maintenance, and pipeline areas and include skills assessments, safety training, and management education.

Boiiermaking Carpentry

Carper\try, Residential Catyirtetmaking Concrete Finishing Construction Craft Laborer .Construction Technology Core Curriculum: lntroducton Craft Skills Curriculum Basico

.....* ; - H]ectri^al> Residential


\4^-- !*'*----*'

4% V^N^^'f'

Pipelayer Plumbing

Reinforcing Ironwork



Sheet Metal

Site Layout

Sprinkler Fitting



Control Center Operations, Liquid

Corrosion Control

Electrical and Instrumentation

Field Operations, Liquid

Field Operations, Gas



Field Safety

Orientation de Seguridad Safety Orientation Safety Technology


Introductory Skills for the Crew Leader , * ^rbject'. Management -

Special Features of This Book

In an effort to provide a comprehensive user-friendly training resource, we have incorporated many different features for your use. Whether you are a visual or hands-on learner, this book will provide you with the proper tools to get started in the construction industry.





Introduction Page

This page is found at the beginning of each module and lists the Objectives, Trade Terms, Required Trainee Mate­rials, Prerequisites, and Course Map for that module. The Objectives list the skills and knowledge you will need in order to complete the module successfully. The list of Trade Terms identifies important terms you will need to know by the end of the module. Required Trainee Materials list the materials and supplies needed for the module. The Prerequisites for the module are listed and illustrated in the Course Map. The Course Map also gives a visual overview of the entire course and a suggested learning sequence for you to follow

Notes, Cautions/ and Warnings

Safety features are set ott from the main text in high­lighted boxes and are organized into three categories based on the potential danger of the issue being . addressed. Notes simply provide additional information -v^^-?l3^{''^i^:"ate^;-0^ii^c^i&':-^!iea^:-^rou o£a danger that





Color Illustrations and Photographs

Full-color illustrations and photographs are used throughout each module to provide vivid detail. These figures highlight important concepts from the text and provide clarity for complex instruc­tions. Each figure is denoted in the text in italic type for easy reference.

Trade Terms

Each module presents a list of Trade Terms that are discussed within the text, defined in the Glos­sary at the end of the module, and reinforced with a Trade Terms Quiz. These terms are denoted in the text with blue bold type upon their first occur­rence. To make searches for key information eas­ier, a comprehensive Glossary of Trade Terms from all modules is found at the back of this book.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step-b\ -step instructions are used throughout to guide \ ou through technical procedures and tasks from start to finish. These steps show \ ou not only how to perform a task but hov\ to do it safely and efficient! \.

Review Questions

Re\ lew Questions are pro\ ided to reinforce the knowledge \ou ha\e gamed. This makes them a useful tool tor measuring what you have learned.

Profile mSuccess

Profiles in Success share the apprenticeship and career experiences of and adviog troiri stjce^ssftsfl professionals in the carpentry field. [ t • , .

.:is-< ■ ':' . ft. I

27101-06 Orientation to the Trade l.i

Reviews the history of the trade, describes the apprentice program, identifies career opportunities for carpentry and construction work­ers, and lists the responsibilities and characteristics a worker should possess. (2.5 Hours)

27102-06 Building Materials, Fasteners,

and Adhesives..............................2.i

Provides an overview of the building materials used in construction work, including lumber, sheet materials, engineered wood products, structural concrete, and structural steel. Also describes the various fasteners and adhesives used in construction work. (7.5 Hours)

27103-06 Hand and Power Tools..............3.i

Provides detailed descriptions of the hand tools and portable power tools used by carpenters. Emphasis is on safe and proper operation of tools, as well as care and maintenance. (10 Hours)

27104-06 Reading Plans and Elevations.......4.i

Builds upon the basic information presented in the Introduction to Blueprints module studied in the Core Curriculum. Trainees will learn the techniques for reading and using blueprints and specifications with an emphasis placed on those drawings and types of information that are relevant to the carpentry trade. Introduces the subject of quantity takeoffs. (20 Hours)

27105-06 Floor Systems......................5.i

Covers framing basics as well as the procedures for laying out and constructing a wood floor using common lumber as well as engi­neered building materials. (25 Hours)

27106-06 Wall and Ceiling Framing...........6.i

Describes the procedures for laying out and framing walls and ceil­ings, including roughing-in door and window openings, construct­ing corners and partition Ts, bracing walls and ceilings, and applying sheathing. (20 Hours)



27107-06 Roof Framing......................7.i

Describes the various kinds of roofs and contains instructions for lay­ing out rafters for gable roofs, hip roofs, and valley intersections. Coverage includes both stick-built and truss-built roofs. (37.5 Hours)

27108-06 Introduction to Concrete and Reinforcing Materials.......


Describes the ingredients of concrete, discusses the various types of concrete, and describes how to mix concrete. The module also covers basic job-built footing, edge, and wall forms and form ties, and it describes the types and uses of concrete reinforcing materials. (5 Hours)

27109-06 Windows and Exterior Doors........9.i

Describes the various types of windows, skylights, and exterior doors, and provides instructions for installing them. Also includes instruc­tions for installing weather-stripping and locksets. (12.5 Hours)

27110-06 Basic Stair Layout.................lO.i

Introduces the trainee to the various types of stairs and the com­mon building code requirements related to stairs. The module focuses on the techniques for measuring and calculating rise, run, and stairwell openings, laying out stringers, and fabricating basic stairways. (12.5 Hours)

Glossary of Trade Terms..................................G.l

Figure Credits..........................................FC.l



. This curriculum Was revised as a result of the farsightedness and-leadership of the following sponsors:

ABC jfieart of America Chapter ABC National

Associated Training Services-ABC Wisconsin Brasfield &.Gorrie

Consfaijcti«%]Education Fourufetl^ri of ..Georgia Greenville technical College Guilford Technical Community College Mid-Maine Technical Center

Cjnslow-Shef^feld, Paul Risk Associat River Valley led SC Department of I The Haskell Comt TKTEIf-Turner Construct! on Company

This curriculum would.not exist were it not for the dedication and unselhsh^energy <$those volunteers who served on the Aiflh^rmg Team. A sincere thanks is extended to the following: * :

Peter Klapperich '$erry Moore Mark Onslow John" Payne Roy Rucks Duane Sellers Todd Staub


John Ambrosia . Mark Champagne Shane Harvey . Curtis Haskins Chuck Hogg R.R Hughes Gary Humphries ,*%inM. Hunter


A frial note: This book is the result of a collaborative effort involving the production, editorial, and development staff at ||j^ti^*Hall and the National* Center for Construction Education^tid Rese Thanks to all of the deoKtlq[ people involved in the many stages of this project



Ame^pSft^pEe Sprinkler Association American Petroleum Institute American Society for Training & Development Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. ■Associated General Contractors of America ■Association for Career and Technical Education parol rhas AGC, Inc. -Construction Industry In&ttigte Construction Users Roundtame >„ Design-Build Institute of America Electronic Systems Industry Consortium Merit Contractors Association of Canada Metal Building Matofacturers Association ' National Association of Jifcority Contractors National Association of State #uperyiscwc9^for Trade and Industrial Education


National Association of Women National Insulation Association National Ready Mixed Concrete Association National Systems Contractors Association > National Technical Honor Society 'National ^|ilif^^04^^X)rs Association North American Crane Bureau«. v^-North American Technician Excellence Painting & Decoraling Contractors of America

Portland Cement Assoc! SkillsUSA * ->

Steel Erectors Associa|iofhc»r:* Texas Gulf Coast 0&pter U.S. Army Corps oMogineers University of Florida Women Construction Owners & Executives, USA

Lucas Epperly, a Cabinetmaking contestant at the SkillsUSA 2005 National Championship, uses a router to bevel the sides of a cabinet component. The router was used to create several types of joints called for in the project plans including the dado, rabbet, and shouldered-edge. The router was also used to create beaded edges on the drawer front. Routing the edges of a piece is a crucial task that can upset a project—by wasting time and material—if not done correctly the first time.


Orientation to the Trade

Topics to be presented in this module include:

1.0.0 Introduction................................ .1.1

2.0.0 History of Carpentry ...........................1.1

3.0.0 Modern Carpentry.............................1.6

4.0.0 Opportunities in the Construction Industry . . .........1.8

5.0.0 Human Relations..............................1.16

6.0.0 Employer and Employee Safety Obligations..........1.17

The carpentry trade offers numerous career opportunities, from constructing concrete forms to creating fine cabinetry. Carpenters build beautiful structures that can last for centuries and have one of the highest job satisfaction rates of any career in the construction industry. Carpenters have opportunities to work in residential, commercial, and industrial construction. Apprentice carpenters can go on to become master carpenters, estimators, architects, construction managers, and contractors.

When you have completed this module, you will be able to do the following:

1. Describe the history of the carpentry trade.

2. Identify the aptitudes, behaviors, and skills needed to be a successful carpenter.

3. Identify the training opportunities within the carpentry trade.

4. Identify the career and entrepreneurial opportunities within the carpentry trade.

5. Identify the responsibilities of a person working in the construction industry.

6. State the personal characteristics of a professional.

7. Explain the importance of safety in the construction industry.

Finish carpentry Rough carpentry Takeoff

1. Pencil and paper

2. Appropriate personal protective equipment

Before you begin this module, it is recommended that you successfully complete Core Curriculum.

This course map shows all of the modules in Carpentry Fundamentals Level One. The suggested training order begins at the bottom and proceeds up. Skill levels increase as you advance on the course map. The local Training Program Sponsor may adjust the training order.




Opportunity is driven by knowledge and ability, which are in turn driven by education and train­ing. This program of the National Center for Con­struction Education and Research (NCCER) was designed and developed by the construction industry for the construction industry. It is the only nationally accredited, competency-based construction training program in the United States. A competency-based program requires that the trainee demonstrate the ability to safely perform specific job-related tasks in order to receive credit. This approach is unlike other apprentice programs that merely require a trainee to put in the required number of hours in the classroom and on the job.

The primary goal of the NCCER is to stan­dardize construction craft training throughout the country so that both employers and employ­ees will benefit from the training, no matter where they are located. As a trainee in an NCCER program, you will become part of a national registry. You will receive a certificate for each level of training you complete. If you apply for a job with any participating contractor in the country, a transcript of your training will be available. If your training is incomplete when you make a job transfer, you can pick up where you left off because every participating contrac­tor is using the same training program. In addi­tion, many technical schools and colleges are using the program.



Tools are an essential part of carpentry. Although modern tools have advanced beyond the primitive stone tools used by our ancestors, they serve the carpenter's needs in much the same way. Carpentry, like other trades, relies on tools to make difficult tasks easier. If you take the time to learn the proper way to handle and use your tools safely, you'll be able to work much more effectively and produce a high-quality product.


Primitive carpentry developed in forest regions during the latter years of the Stone Age, when early humans improved stone tools so they could be used to shape wood for shelters, animal traps, and dugout boats. Between 4000 and 2000 b.c.e, Egyptians developed copper tools, which they used to build vaults, bed frames, and furniture. Later in that period, they developed bronze tools and bow drills. An example of the Egyptians'


skill in mitering, mortising, dovetailing, and paneling is the intricate furniture found in the tomb of Tutankhamen ("King Tut"). European carpenters did not produce such furniture until the Renaissance (1300 to 1500 c.e.), although they used timber to construct dwellings, bridges, and industrial equipment. In Denmark and ancient Germany, Neolithic people (around 5000 b.c.e.) built rectangular houses from timbers that were nearly 100 feet long. In England, the mortised and fishtailed joints of the stone structures at Stonehenge indicate that advanced carpentry techniques were known in ancient Britain. Before the Roman conquest of Britain (100 c.e.), its car­penters had already developed iron tools such as saws, hatchets, rasps, and kriives. They even had turned-wood objects made on primitive pole lathes.

In the Middle Ages, carpenters began a move­ment toward specialization, such as shipwrights, wheelwrights, turners, and millwrights. How­ever, general-purpose carpenters were still found in most villages and on large private estates. These carpenters could travel with their tools to outlying areas that had no carpenters or to a major building project that required temporary labor. During this period, European carpenters invented the carpenter's brace (a tool for holding and turning a drill bit). The plane, which the Romans had used centuries earlier, reappeared about 1200 c.e. The progress of steelmaking also provided for advancements in the use of steel-edged tools and the advent of crude iron nails. Wooden pegs were used to hold wooden mem­bers together before the use of nails. Screws were invented in the 1500s.

The first castles and churches in northern Europe were constructed of timber. When the great stone buildings replaced those made of tim­ber, skilled carpenters built the floors, paneling, doors, and roofs. The erection of large stone build­ings also led to the inventions of scaffolding for walls, framework for arch assembly, and pilings to strengthen foundations. Houses and other smaller buildings were still made of timber and thinner wood. Clay was used to fill the gaps between the beams.

The art of carpentry contributed significantly to the grandeur of the great buildings of the Renais­sance. Two noted masterpieces of timber con­struction are the outer dome of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the 68-foot roof of the Sheldonian Theater in Oxford. After the Renais­sance, other examples of architecture requiring skilled carpentry appeared, including the man­sard roof with its double slope, providing loftier attics, broad staircases, and sashed windows. These architectural features were incorporated in homes constructed in Colonial America. George W. Snow introduced balloon-frame con­struction (Figure 1) in Chicago in 1840, which proved to be a much cheaper and quicker method because it used machine-made studs and nails. In balloon framing, the studs run from the bottom floor to the uppermost rafters. This method gives the structure exceptional ability to handle strong winds, but requires very long studs that are diffi­cult to manufacture, transport, and store. Because of these problems, balloon framing has almost disappeared. It is used to some extent in Florida to frame the gable ends of buildings in order to pro­vide protection from hurricanes. Today, platform (western) framing (Figure 2) has almost com­pletely replaced balloon-frame construction.

This brief history illustrates that carpentry has a long and rich heritage. It also shows that carpentry is an ever-changing trade. You will inevitably dis­cover that learning never ends as you practice the carpentry trade because new and better ways of construction will continue to emerge.




Ancient Construction

Modern carpentry is a continuum from ancient times. Carpenters and other craftsmen were responsible for construction of the world's most celebrated examples of historical architecture. From the lavish interiors of ancient Egypt's great pyramids to the outer dome of London's St. Paul's Cathedral (shown here), the rich heritage of carpentry can be found across the world.



The scope of carpentry has expanded in modern times with the use of synthetic building materials and ever-improving tools. Today's carpenters must not only know about wood, but also about materials such as particleboard, gypsum wall-board, suspended ceiling tiles, plastics, and lami­nates. They must also know how to use many modern tools, fasteners, construction techniques, and safety procedures.

The duties of carpenters can vary significantly from one job to another. A carpenter who works for a commercial contractor may work primarily with concrete, steel, and preformed building materials {Figure 3). A carpenter who does resi­dential work is more likely to work with wood-frame construction and wood finish materials, but will also encounter an increasing variety of pre­formed and prefabricated building materials {Figure 4).


Figure 3 ♦ Typical commercial construction.



Figure 4 # Typical residential construction.

In the construction industry, carpentry is com­monly divided into two categories: rough and fin­ish. Examples of rough carpentry include erecting frameworks, scaffolds, and wooden forms for concrete, as well as building docks, bridges, and supports for tunnels and sewers. Finish carpentry (Figure 5) includes building stairs; installing doors, cabinets, wood paneling, and molding; and


putting up acoustical tiles. Skilled carpenters do both rough and finish work.

The duties of carpenters vary even within the broad categories of rough and finish carpentry. The type of construction, size of the company, skill of the carpenter, community size, and other factors affect the carpenter's work. Carpenters who are employed by a large contractor, for example, may specialize in one area, such as laying hardwood floors, while others who are employed by a small firm may build wall frames, put in insulation, and install paneling. They may even perform concrete finishing, welding, and painting. The duties of car­penters also vary because each job is unique.

Carpenters often have great freedom in plan­ning and performing their work. However, car­pentry techniques are standard, and most jobs involve the following steps to some extent:

• Use construction drawings to lay out the struc­ture on the site.

• Use drawings and specifications to perform a takeoff of materials needed for construction.

• Assemble the materials, tools, and equipment needed for construction.

• Schedule the work.

• Assemble the structure using hand and power tools.

• Check the work using levels, rules, and squares.

Carpenters also use powder-actuated and pneumatic tools and operate power equipment such as personnel lifts, equipment and material lifts, and small earth-moving machines. You will learn more about the various tools and construc­tion methods used by carpenters in other modules of this program.

As in other building trades, the carpenter's work is active and sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, and squatting are often neces­sary. Many carpenters work outside under adverse weather conditions. Carpenters risk injury from slips or falls, from contact with sharp or rough mate­rials, and from the use of sharp tools and power equipment. Being new to the trade increases the chance of being injured. Therefore, it is essential that you rely on the knowledge of more experienced workers, learn applicable safety procedures, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

In order to be successful in the carpentry trade, a person should possess the following:

• Physical strength to lift and move materials

• Hand-eye coordination to use tools

• The ability to perform math calculations in order to estimate materials and lay out the structure

• Attention to detail in order to accurately meas­ure and cut building materials

Above all, a carpenter must be a responsible person with a high degree of concern for the safety of workers and the quality of the work.



The construction industry employs more people and contributes more to the nation's economy than any other industry. Our society will always need new homes, roads, airports, hospitals, schools, factories, and office buildings. This means that there will always be a source of well-paying jobs and career opportunities for carpen­ters and other construction trade professionals. As shown in Figure 6, the opportunities are not limited to work on construction projects. A skilled, knowledgeable carpenter can work in a number of areas.

As a construction worker, a carpenter can pro­gress from apprentice through several levels:

• Journeyman carpenter

• Master carpenter

• Foreman/lead carpenter

• Supervisor

• Safety manager

• Project manager /administrator

• Estimator

• Architect

• General contractor

• Construction manager

• Contractor/owner

Journeyman carpenter - After successfully complet­ing an apprenticeship, a trainee becomes a jour­neyman. The term journeyman originally meant to journey away from the master and work alone. A person can remain a journeyman or advance in the trade. Journeymen may have additional du­ties such as supervisor or estimator. With larger companies and on larger jobs, journeymen often become specialists.

Master carpenter - A master craftsperson is one who has achieved and continuously demonstrates the highest skill levels in the trade. The master is a mentor and teacher of those to follow. Master carpenters often start their own businesses and become contractors/owners.

Foreman/lead carpenter - This individual is a front­line leader who directs the work of a crew of craft workers and laborers.

Supervisor - Large construction projects require supervisors who oversee the work of crews made up of foremen, apprentices, and journeymen. They are responsible for assigning, directing, and inspecting the work of construction crew members.

























Figure 6 ♦ Opportunities in the construction industry.

Careers in Carpentry

Apprentice training is the first step in a career that has endless possibilities. Carpenters gain knowledge of many different trades and skills while developing their craft. This broad set of skills is a valuable asset in the construction industry and will open the door to a wide variety of exciting career opportunities. In addition, the carpentry trade has long been rated #1 for job satisfaction, perhaps because carpenters participate in creating beautiful and lasting structures, the results of which can often be seen at the end of each day.

Safety manager - An individual responsible for project safety and health-related issues, including development of the safety plan and procedures, safety training for workers, and regulatory compliance.

Project manager/administrator - Business manage­ment and administration deal with controlling the scope and direction of the business and dealing with such concerns as payroll, taxes, and em­ployee benefits. Larger contracting firms may have one or several managers/administrators. This person is responsible for worker output and must determine the best methods to use and the way to apply workers to accomplish the job. A project administrator is responsible for a contrac­tor's support operations, such as accounting, finance, and secretarial work.

Estimator - Estimators work for contractors and building supply companies. They make careful estimates of the materials and labor required for a job. Based on these estimates, the contractor sub­mits bids for jobs. Estimating requires a complete understanding of construction methods as well as the materials and supplies required. Only experi­enced carpenters who possess good math skills and the patience to prepare detailed, accurate esti­mates are employed to do this work. This is a highly responsible position since errors in esti­mates can result in financial losses to the contrac­tor. Depending on the size and type of the business, the job of estimating may be done by the owner, manager, administrator, or an estimating specialist. Today's estimators need solid com­puter skills because advances in computer soft­ware have revolutionized the field of estimating.


Architect - An architect is a person who is licensed to design buildings and oversee their construc­tion. A person normally needs a specialized degree in architecture to qualify as an architect.

General contractor - A general contractor is an indi­vidual or company that manages an entire con­struction project. The general contractor plans and schedules the project, buys the materials, and usually contracts with carpentry, plumbing, elec­trical, and other trade contractors to perform the work. The general contractor usually works with architects, engineers, and clients and/or the client's construction manager in planning and implementing a project. General contracting is a natural career path for a master carpenter because, of the many trades involved in a con­struction project, the carpenter generally plays the largest role and is more likely to have knowledge of the other trades. The general (prime) contractor is also responsible for safety on site.

Construction manager - The role of the construc­tion manager (CM) is different from that of the general contractor. The CM is usually hired by the building owner to represent the owner's interests on the project. The CM is the individual who works with the general contractor and architect to ensure that the building meets the owner's requirements.

Contractor/owner - Construction contractors/own­ers are those who have established a contracting business. Generally, they hire apprentices, jour­neymen, and master carpenters to work for them. Depending upon the size of the business, contrac­tors may work with the crew or they may manage the business full-time. Very small contractors may have only one or two people do everything, including managing the business, preparing esti­mates, obtaining supplies, and doing the work on the job. This group includes specialty subcontrac­tors who perform specialized tasks such as fram­ing, interior trim work, and cabinet installation.

More than any other construction worker, the carpenter is likely to become knowledgeable about many trades. This makes carpentry work interesting and challenging and creates a great variety of career opportunities.

The important thing to learn is that a career is a lifelong learning process. To be an effective car­penter, you need to keep up-to-date with new tools, materials, and methods. If you choose to work your way into management or to someday start your own construction business, you need to learn management and administrative skills on top of keeping your carpentry skills honed. Every successful manager and business owner started the same way you are starting, and they all have one thing in common: a desire and willingness to continue learning. The learning process begins with apprentice training.

As you develop your carpentry skills and gain experience, you will have the opportunity to earn greater pay for your services. There is great finan­cial incentive for learning and growing within the trade. You can't get to the top, however, without learning the basics.

4.1.0 Formal Construction Training

Over the past twenty years, the rate of formal training within the construction industry has been declining. Until the establishment of the NCCER, the only opportunity for formal con­struction training was through the U.S. Depart­ment of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT). The National Apprenticeship Act of 1937, commonly referred to as the Fitzgerald Act, officially established BAT. The federal govern­ment recently created the Office of Apprentice­ship, Training, Employer and Labor Services (ATELS) that consolidated both BAT and new employer-labor relations responsibilities.

The federal government established registered apprenticeship training via the Code of Federal Reg­ulations (CFR) 29:29, which dictates specific requirements for apprenticeship, and CFR 29:30, which dictates specific guidelines for recruitment, outreach, and registration into BAT-approved apprenticeship programs.

Compared to the overall employment in the construction industry, the percentage of enroll­ment in BAT-style programs has been less than 5 percent for the past decade. BAT programs rely upon mandatory classroom instruction and on-the-job training (OJT). The classroom instruction required is 144 hours per year while the OJT requirement is 2,000 hours per year. A typical BAT program requires 8,000 hours of OJT and 576 hours of related classroom training prior to get­ting the journeyman certificate dispensed by the BAT.

Craft training via the BAT has not been changed for 30 years, which is believed to be one reason for the lack of use of this program in the construction industry today. Education and train­ing throughout the country is undergoing signif­icant change. As education, political, financial, and student factions argue over the direction and future of education, educators and researchers have been learning and applying new techniques to adjust to how today's students learn and apply their education.


NCCER is an independent, private educational foundation founded and funded by the construc­tion industry to solve the training problem plagu­ing the industry today. The basic idea of the NCCER is to supplant governmental control and credentialing of the construction workforce with industry-driven training and education programs. NCCER departs from traditional classroom learn­ing and has adopted a pure competency-based training regimen. Competency-based training means that instead of requiring specific hours of classroom training and set hours of OJT, you sim­ply have to prove that you know what is required and can demonstrate that you can perform the spe­cific skill. NCCER also uses the latest technology, interactive computer-based training, to deliver the classroom portions of the training. All completion information for every trainee is sent to the NCCER and kept within the National Registry. The National Registry can then confirm training and skills for workers as they move from company to company, state to state, or even within their own company (see the Appendix).

The dramatic shortage of skills within the con­struction workforce, combined with the shortage of new workers coming into the industry, is forcing the industry to design and implement new training initiatives to combat the problem. Whether you enroll in a BAT program, an NCCER program, or both, it is critical that you work for an employer who supports a national, standardized training program that includes credentials to con­firm your skill development.

4.2.0Apprenticeship Program

Apprentice training goes back thousands of years; its basic principles have not changed in that time. First, it is a means for individuals entering the craft to learn from those who have mastered the craft. Second, it focuses on learning by doing; real skills versus theory. Although some theory is pre­sented in the classroom, it is always presented in a way that helps the trainee understand the pur­pose behind the required skill.

4.2.1Youth Apprenticeship Program

A Youth Apprenticeship Program is also available that allows students to begin their apprentice training while still in high school. A student enter­ing the carpentry program in eleventh grade may complete as much as one year of the NCCER Stan­dardized Craft Training four-year program by high school graduation. In addition, the program, in cooperation with local craft employers, allows students to work in the trade and earn money while still in school. Upon graduation, the student can enter the industry at a higher level and with more pay than someone just starting the appren­ticeship program.

This training program is similar to the one used by NCCER learning centers, contractors, and col­leges across the country. Students are recognized through official transcripts and can enter the sec­ond year of the program wherever it is offered. They may also have the option of applying the credits at a two-year or four-year college that offers degree or certificate programs in the con­struction trades.

4.2.2 Apprenticeship Standards

All apprenticeship standards prescribe certain work-related or on-the-job training. This on-the-job training is broken down into specific tasks in which the apprentice receives hands-on training during the period of the apprenticeship. In addi­tion, a specified number of hours is required in each task. The total number of hours for the car­pentry apprenticeship program is traditionally 8,000, which amounts to about four years of train­ing. In a competency-based program, it may be possible to shorten this time by testing out of spe­cific tasks through a series of performance exams.

In a traditional program, the required OJT may be acquired in increments of 2,000 hours per year. Layoffs or illness may affect the duration.

The apprentice must log all work time and turn it in to the Apprenticeship Committee (discussed later) so that accurate time control can be main­tained. Another important aspect of keeping work records up-to-date is that after each 1,000 hours of related work, the apprentice will receive a pay increase as prescribed by the apprentice­ship standards.

The classroom-related instruction and work-related training will not always run concurrently due to such reasons as layoffs, type of work needed to be done in the field, etc. Furthermore, apprentices with special job experience or course-work may obtain credit toward their classroom requirements. This reduces the total time required in the classroom while maintaining the total 8,000-hour on-the-job training requirement. These spe­cial cases will depend on the type of program and the regulations and standards under which it operates.

Informal on-the-job training provided by employers is usually less thorough than that pro­vided through a formal apprenticeship program. The degree of training and supervision in this


type of program often depends on the size of the employing firm. A small contractor who special­izes in home building may provide training in only one area, such as rough framing. In contrast, a large general contractor may be able to provide framing in several areas.

For those entering an apprenticeship program, a high school or technical school education is desirable, as are courses in carpentry, shop, mechanical drawing, and general mathematics. Manual dexterity, good physical condition, a good sense of balance, and a lack of fear of working in high places are important. The ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately and to work closely with others is essential. You must have a high concern for safety.

The prospective apprentice must submit to the apprenticeship committee certain information. This may include the following:

• Aptitude test (General Aptitude Test Battery or GATB Form Test) results (usually administered by the local Employment Security Commission)

• Proof of educational background (candidate should have school(s) send transcripts to the committee)

• Letters of reference from past employers and friends

• Results of a physical examination

• Proof of age

• If the candidate is a veteran, a copy of Form DD214

• A record of technical training received that relates to the construction industry and/or a record of any pre-apprenticeship training

• High school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED)

The apprentice must:

• Wear proper safety equipment on the job

• Purchase and maintain tools of the trade as needed and required by the contractor

• Submit a monthly on-the-job training report to the committee

• Report to the committee if a change in employ­ment status occurs

• Attend classroom-related instruction and adhere to all classroom regulations such as that for attendance

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