Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Tilesetters cover interior and exterior walls, floors and ceilings with ceramic, marble and quarry tile, mosaics or terrazzo. They are employed by construction companies and masonry contractors, or they may be self-employed.
- Often have to work with rooms that are not square. Tilesetters compensate for irregularities by squaring the room using the Pythagoras Theorem and cutting perimeter tiles to fill the gaps. (1)
- Sometimes are faced with potentially hazardous job conditions, such as a job in an operating gas plant, a job site where there are code violations, or a job where large equipment is moving around. They assess the situation to determine what action should be taken and implement the solution they decide is appropriate. The solution could be to work after operating hours, to report the code violation and wait until it is rectified before commencing work, to call the supervisor to re-schedule the job, or to refuse to undertake the job. (2)
- Encounter situations where not enough materials have been ordered to complete the job. If the material is in stock, they can have it delivered. If supplies are either unavailable or temporarily out of stock, tilesetters arrange with the client or supervisor to reschedule the job, modify the design to accommodate alternative materials, or re-do the job with materials that are readily available. (2)
- May discover that grout used is a different shade than grout applied previously. They may opt to do nothing if the two grout batches have not been used close to each other. They may also decide, with input from the client, to dig out the grout from the earlier application and re-grout. (2)
- Must correctly align tiles with borders or patterns when tiling around corners. This can be challenging if tiles must be cut and walls are not straight. To avoid the problem of pattern misalignment, adjacent corner tiles are cut to ensure pattern continuity. (2)
- Decide which surface to tile first. (1)
- Often have to decide how many tilesetters and assistants should be assigned to each area of a large tiling job. They must assess the amount of work to be done, the complexity of the layout, and the number of workers that can be accommodated in each area. (1)
- Often arrive at a site and find that it has not been properly prepared for tiling. They must determine the amount of additional preparation required, and whether they will assume responsibility for the additional work. (1)
- Usually work with surface areas which will not accommodate an even number of tiles. Tilesetters decide whether it is possible to adjust grout lines to avoid cutting perimeter tiles. The decision involves considering spacing tolerances, the layout pattern, tile size, and border treatments. (2)
- Decide which grout width would best complement the tile layout chosen by the client. This decision is often made with the client and involves both practical and aesthetic considerations. (2)
- Are sometimes asked to perform work under conditions they consider potentially dangerous. They decide whether to take the risk or refuse the job. (3)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
For most jobs, tilesetters are given a working drawing or work order to follow. In a commercial job, the tilesetters, with the supervisor, decide upon task sequencing and work priorities. Time management is determined by the project timelines. If more than one tilesetter is on site, they usually decide among themselves their areas of responsibility. The tilesetter's own work plan is dictated by the tilesetting procedure - the steps are well defined and must be completed in an established order. Tilesetters must take into consideration the setting times of the adhesive they are using - setting materials can only be applied for a certain amount of time after mixing, epoxies having the shortest "open time". In a construction setting, tilesetters arrange their work schedules around those of other trades; tilesetters cannot begin their work until most of the other trades have completed their work, and must be finished in time to allow the painters to meet their schedules. In many cases, tilesetters are dependent on other trades to prepare surfaces adequately or they cannot begin work. In a residential setting, tilesetters must organize their work around the schedules of the occupants. (3)
Tilesetters can be called upon to be working forepersons. Working forepersons have additional planning responsibilities such as assigning areas of responsibility to the tilesetters on the job, sequencing tasks and coordinating work with the other tradespeople on site. They also ensure daily production schedules are met. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember priorities and directives for the day.
- Remember what safety equipment is required by various worksites if they are working on more than one project at a time.
- Remember special client instructions not normally associated with a procedure, such as an unusual approach to terrazzo installation, an unusual placement of accent tiles, or an unusual layout pattern.
- Remember job-specific installation details such as grout colour, layout pattern and special instructions if they are working on several projects concurrently.
- May have to remember the projected start-up and completion dates of various jobs to allow effective time management and task sequencing.
- Remember which setting products work best in specific situations and with specific materials.
- Remember where they left off in projects when they are working on two or more projects concurrently.
- Contact their supervisor to obtain information about procedures or technical problems. (1)
- Consult peers to gain technical knowledge and assistance with problems. (1)
- May consult suppliers to obtain information about a product. (1)
- Consult clients to obtain information about layout preferences and material selections. (1)
- Refer to provincial building codes to remind themselves of specifications such as the maximum length permitted for a control joint. (1)
- Consult shop drawings and floor plans to gain specific information about layouts and site dimensions. (1)
- May consult technical training manuals to locate information about unfamiliar or forgotten procedures. (1)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
In a commercial setting, tilesetters usually work with an assistant. They may also work with other tilesetters on the same site although each tilesetter would complete a different tiling project at that site. Tilesetters often work independently (with the exception of an assistant in commercial settings) and are often responsible for an assigned project from beginning to end. In some cases, two tilesetters will work together, one doing the main floor area and the other addressing the more complex and time consuming components. Tilesetters can also be part of a larger construction team including a variety of trades. Tilesetters communicate effectively with assistants, assigning tasks, providing instructions and coordinating work activities. They also coordinate assignments with co-workers and divide areas of responsibility such as who will be responsible for which tiling components of the job. In addition, they coordinate their work with that of the other trades as tilesetters cannot begin their work until most of the other tradespeople have completed theirs. In residential situations, tilesetters coordinate work schedules with the client/resident. Tilesetters maintain close contact with supervisors, forepersons and clients who assign jobs to them, address problems, and perform quality control checks.
Technical upgrading is offered by manufacturers when new products or equipment are introduced. Provincial construction associations offer safety training courses which tiling companies sponsor tilesetters to attend. Tilesetters may pursue training at community colleges (management training, computer courses) on their own time and at their own expense, although in some cases, the company will pay for upgrading if the tilesetter is being considered for a management position. One of the most practical ways for tilesetters to gain new expertise is "on-the-job" from other more experienced tilesetters or supervisors.