Skills Contractor, Home Renovation in Canada

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a contractor, home renovation in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Home building and renovation managers (NOC 0712).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Plan and prepare work schedules
  • Select and employ trade subcontractors and co-ordinate their activities
  • Inspect subcontractors work to ensure quality and conformity with plans and specifications
  • Develop and implement marketing and advertising and sales strategies
  • Plan and manage budgets
  • Perform trade work during home construction, renovation or restoration
  • Develop and implement business plans
  • Develop and implement financial and operating plans
  • Prepare estimates and bids for home construction, renovation and restoration projects
  • Work with customers, architects and engineers regarding plans and specifications
  • Prepare and maintain directory of supplies and trade contractors
  • Ensure that construction permits are obtained
  • Develop and implement health and safety plans
  • Human resource planning and development
  • Plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate daily operations

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

Reading
  • Read mixing, handling and storage instructions on product labels and packaging. For example, they may read labels on drywall compound packaging to confirm application procedures. (1)
  • Read comments and instructions on work orders, invoices and architectural drawings. For example, they read comments on architectural drawings that provide details about specifications to be met and building materials to be used. (1)
  • Read resumes to determine job applicants' training, skills and accomplishments. (2)
  • Read product bulletins, marketing brochures, catalogues and trade magazines for information about industry trends and new materials. For example, they may read about the residential construction industry in trade magazines such as Home Builder Canada. They may read about the features and benefits of new products such as decking materials in product brochures. (2)
  • Read lengthy letters and short reports. For example, they may read letters which discuss deficiencies uncovered by construction inspectors and short reports that outline the results of soil analysis tests conducted by engineers. (3)
  • Read instruction manuals. For example, they may read manuals published by organizations such as the Canadian Home Builders Association to learn techniques used to create effective air, weather and moisture barriers. (3)
  • Read employment standards, safety and building codes, and bylaws which regulate building permits, land use and the employment of workers. For example, they may read legislations about overtime pay and municipal bylaws which specify the maximum distances that eaves, balconies, bay windows and canopies can project over rear yards. (3)
  • May read research reports, economic forecasts and marketing studies published by agencies such as Statistics Canada and the Canadian Construction Association. For example, residential home builders who operate large companies may read detailed reports which analyze the relationships between interest rates, materials costs and demand for new homes. (4)
Document use
  • Recognize symbols located on drawings, labels, product packaging and signage. For example, they may observe symbols which indicate requirements of personal protective equipment and hazards such as flammable ingredients. (1)
  • Scan materials, schedules and parts' listings to locate quantities, identification numbers, descriptions, dimensions and unit costs of building materials and supplies. For example, they review price lists to locate the costs of lumber, nails, shingles and light fixtures. (2)
  • May review assembly drawings to learn how to assemble and install prefabricated products such as wall units, fireplaces and kitchen cabinets. (2)
  • Complete checklists and entry forms to record data such as revenues, costs, contact information and specifications. For example, they complete building permit applications by checking boxes and entering site and contact information. They record project costs and the hours worked by tradespeople in log books. They fill out application forms to secure lines of credit and government forms to remit taxes. (2)
  • Scan tables to locate project specifications, land use regulations, financial data, housing starts and building permit values. For example, Home builders scan tables to determine the specifications for electrical, plumbing and mechanical components and systems. Tract builders may scan tables that outline land use regulations such as requirements for green spaces and parks. Home renovators review tables of financial data to determine budget allocations for items such as windows, doors and landscaping. (2)
  • May scan schematics when assembling, installing and troubleshooting wiring, heating and ventilation systems. For example, residential home builders and renovators may refer to schematics when troubleshooting electrical problems caused by faulty circuit breaker installations. (3)
  • Scan complex architectural drawings to ascertain slopes, elevations, locations and dimensions. For example, they scan and cross-reference architectural drawings to determine the slopes of drainage systems, the elevations of roofs and chimneys and the locations and dimensions of items such as walls, windows, doorways, staircases, beams and appliances. (3)
Writing
  • Write short notes and daybook entries. For example, they may write notes to record observations and summarize discussion items. (1)
  • Write memos about job tasks, work procedures, schedules, workloads and safety protocols. For example, a residential home builder may write a short note to an electrical subcontractor asking if the wiring can be changed to accommodate customer's requests for additional electrical outlets. (2)
  • Write short reports to describe events leading to workplace accidents and steps taken after. (2)
  • Write a variety of business letters to customers, suppliers and subcontractors. For example, they may write letters of complaint to suppliers and subcontractors, specifying the nature and extent of deficiencies, timelines within which deficiencies are to be addressed and repercussions if they are not corrected. (3)
  • May write contracts and proposals outlining work to be completed, timelines, payment schedules and caveats. For example, home renovators may write caveats which specify contingency costs if they encounter defects such as asbestos insulation and mould. (3)
  • May write comprehensive work procedures. For example, residential home builders and renovators may write explicit sequences of steps for their employees to follow. A residential home builder who operates a large company may describe a warranty claims process which specifies inspections needed, paperwork to be completed and solutions which must be offered to customers. (3)
  • May write marketing materials which describe and promote their services. They outline the services their company offers, business philosophies, skills and trade qualifications of workers and the business associations to which they belong. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Calculate invoice amounts and verify totals. They calculate the direct costs of labour, professional fees, materials, supplies and permits and include provisions for profit and applicable taxes. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Compare costs of a variety of construction materials and methods. For example, they compare the costs of roof trusses to purchasing prefabricated units to determine which options generate the greatest savings, and materials and services from different suppliers to determine lowest prices. (3)
  • Prepare bids and quotes for residential construction projects which may cost millions of dollars. They forecast costs of labour, materials and supplies of more than twenty construction phases including design, lot excavation, foundation work, framing, roofing and installation of plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation systems. They have to be precise because bids and quotes may be binding. (4)
  • Prepare annual operating budgets for home construction and renovation companies. For example, tract builders may prepare operating budgets valued at over 500 million dollars to forecast cash flows and credit requirements. They forecast monthly expenditures and revenues and provide for possible cost overruns and delays in the receipt of revenues. (4)
  • Create and modify construction schedules to ensure the timely, orderly and efficient completion of projects. When developing these schedules, they consider task sequences, time intervals between key events, lead times and seasonal variations in labour supplies. They make allowances in schedules for modifications, potential disruptions due to extremes of weather, illnesses, equipment breakdowns and delayed deliveries of materials and supplies. Residential home builders and renovators operating large companies create and modify construction schedules for multiple projects. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take a variety of readings and measurements. For example, they may take readings to determine drywall moisture levels and ambient air temperatures. They may take measurements to locate the dimensions of building materials, the size of openings and the angles and slopes of gable ends and roofs. (1)
  • Calculate the areas of floors, walls, rooms and homes. For example, they may calculate plywood, sheathing and paint requirements for floors, walls and ceilings by taking into account room sizes, wall heights and the dimensions of window and door openings. (2)
  • Calculate quantities of materials such as flooring, sheathing and shingles needed for construction projects For example, they may determine the flooring materials and trim needed for intricate staircases and landing designs. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare a variety of measurements such as airflows, dimensions, angles, moisture levels and temperatures to specifications. For example, they compare the capacity of furnaces to specifications to ensure heating requirements are met. (1)
  • Generate statistics to describe operational features such as average costs, and completion times and rates of material usage and wastage. For example, they calculate per square metre costs of homes, typical lengths of time to frame various sizes of houses, normal consumption rates of materials such as fasteners, and the wastage rates generally incurred when installing items such as floor coverings and mouldings. They compare the actual number of bricks laid and amounts of rebar used per day to projected rates. (3)
  • May analyze the influence that economic growth forecasts, demographics, interest rates and construction costs will have on the demand for new homes and renovations. They select data from a number of sources, organize and analyze them to ensure accurate conclusions are drawn. (4)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate dimensions, distances and angles. For example, they may estimate how many square metres of floor space are needed to comfortably access and use computer work stations. (1)
  • Estimate times for workers to complete tasks. They consider the requirements of the work being carried out, experience levels of workers, times taken to complete similar tasks in the past and anticipated weather conditions. (1)
  • May estimate completion times for large, multiphase construction projects. They consider lead times, times taken to complete similar projects in the past, expected weather conditions and the availability of labour, equipment, parts and building materials. (3)
Oral communication
  • Exchange information with subcontractors and employees such as labourers, tradespeople and site supervisors. They discuss job task assignments, conflicts between workers, work procedures, schedules, workloads and safety protocols. For example, they may speak with subcontractors about the locations of pot lights and general labourers and tradespeople about mouldings. Residential home builders and renovators who operate large companies may talk to their comptrollers about cash flow requirements, and site supervisors about material wastage and cost overruns. (2)
  • Discuss topics such as project specifications, installation processes, timelines, regulatory and reporting requirements, material shortages and worksite hazards with suppliers, colleagues and construction inspectors. For example, they discuss soil sample results with engineers, and material defects, poor quality work, delays and failures to follow instructions with employees and subcontractors. They negotiate solutions to material shortages and erratic deliveries with suppliers. (2)
  • Talk to customers about a wide variety of topics including architectural design elements, product selections and specifications, pricing, timelines and problems which may arise due to cost overruns and construction delays. For example, residential home builders and renovators may discuss the advantages and disadvantages of dozens of available flooring, appliance and cabinetry options and promote the best choices. They may negotiate new timelines and pricing after customers request design changes. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Find that architectural drawings and data needed to determine construction costs are missing. They ask architects to complete the necessary drawings and engineers to provide the data before proceeding with construction quotes. (1)
  • Discover that prefabricated items such as doors, windows and kitchen cabinets do not fit. They reorder the items after taking new measurements and inform customers that there may be delays. They may use the incorrectly-sized items in other projects, so that companies responsible for the mistakes need not replace them. (2)
  • Learn that homes have not passed final inspections due to the faulty installation of items such as wiring, plumbing and mechanical systems. They consult building inspectors to understand the deficiencies and required changes. They inform installers and suppliers about needed changes and ensure that the work is redone to acceptable standards. (2)
  • Cannot meet deadlines due to delays caused by weather extremes, equipment breakdowns and shortages of skilled labour and materials. They adjust schedules and direct employees and subcontractors to complete other projects to minimize extent of delays. They inform customers and other employees and trade subcontractors affected by the interruptions. (3)
Decision Making
  • Choose work assignments for employees and subcontractors. They consider the characteristics of job tasks and the skills, experience, certifications and hourly wages of workers. For example, they assign electrical subcontractors to string new wiring and have general labourers sort and stack lumber. (1)
  • Select construction and renovation projects and investment opportunities. They consider the sizes and timelines of projects, the projected availabilities of skilled labour and exposures to financial risk. For example, home renovators may bid on large renovation projects after determining that workers will be available to complete the work within the required timelines and sufficient revenues will be generated. Operators of larger construction companies may decide to develop parcels of land after determining there is sufficient demand for new homes in their areas. (3)
  • Choose work procedures and construction techniques which will meet project budgets, specifications, regulatory requirements and timelines. They select equipment and tools which meet safety and production requirements, materials for regulatory and project specifications and employees and subcontractors who have the required skills. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Judge the completeness and accuracy of designs, work schedules and construction drawings. For example, residential home builders and renovators judge the suitability of heat duct placements and confirm that ductwork will not interfere with wiring and plumbing installations. (2)
  • Evaluate workplace safety. For example, residential home builders and renovators assess the placement of barriers and planks to prevent accidental falls. They assess the appropriateness of materials used and the quality of construction. (2)
  • Evaluate the suitability of job applicants and subcontractors. They evaluate resumes, conduct interviews and review information provided by references. They consider requirements of various positions and how job candidates and subcontractors satisfy those requirements. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of completed work. They consider the fit of doors, windows, cabinetry and appliances, number of visible defects and neatness of wiring, plumbing and mechanical installations. (2)
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of new building materials. They consider criteria such as cost, durability, ease of application and visual appeal. They seek opinions from other residential home builders and renovators, read manufacturers' promotional materials and speak to suppliers. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Residential home builders and renovators plan their daily activities to meet their goals they have established. Most home builders and renovators schedule their daily activities to complete administrative tasks such as producing invoices and supervising work, often at several locations. Their work schedules are frequently disrupted by calls from customers, inclement weather, unexpected labour shortages and interruptions caused by delayed delivery of parts, materials and supplies. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Residential home builders and renovators plan and organize the activities of employees such as administrative staff, general labourers, tradespeople, site supervisors and subcontractors. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember frequently used electrical, building and plumbing code references and construction standards such as the required dimensions of beams for spans of various lengths.
Finding Information
  • Learn about prospective subcontractors and employees by reviewing resumes, asking questions during interviews and talking to references. (2)
  • Locate product information such as descriptions, application techniques, specifications, costs and availabilities by speaking with suppliers and by reviewing catalogues, brochures, price lists and information posted on manufacturers' websites. (2)
Digital technology
  • Use word processing. For example, they use basic editing and text formatting features to write letters, produce invoices and create signage. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they create spreadsheets to track cash flows, monitor budgets, track clients and manage inventory. They enter data, incorporate basic summing formulas and print summaries. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, they may use commercial accounting programs to record financial transactions, track provincial and federal taxes, complete payrolls and print invoices and cheques. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they may exchange e-mail and electronic files with customers, subcontractors, colleagues and suppliers. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they may log on suppliers' websites to research new products, download specifications, retrieve assembly and application instructions and access other information. They may access electronic copies of bulletins published by regulatory bodies and industry associations. (2)
  • May use other computer and software applications. For example, they may use advanced features of project management applications to record activities, assign tasks to workers, organize lists, schedule activities, balance workloads and print reports. (3)
  • May use hardware and systems skills. For example, they may setup hardware components such as computers, facsimile machines, printers and photocopiers. They may network workstations and install software applications from compact disks and the internet. (3)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Residential home builders and renovators generally integrate their tasks with those of employees, subcontractors and colleagues such as engineers and architects to ensure that projects meet deadlines and regulatory and customer needs. They are often required to increase their involvement with employees and subcontractors when issues such as missed timelines and quality of work arise. Those who specialize in smaller home renovation projects such as the repair of damaged flooring may work alone and therefore are not required to coordinate or integrate their work with others. (3)

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is very important to home builders and renovators as they must maintain an awareness of consumer demand and familiarity with new products, construction techniques and regulatory changes. They read newspapers, reports, trade magazines and research bulletins published by organizations such as Statistics Canada and the Canadian Home Builders' Association. They learn about new regulations by reading announcements issued by regulatory bodies such as safety codes councils, and speaking with building inspectors, engineers, architects and other home builders and renovators. They may also take trade and business courses offered by post-secondary institutions and private trainers. (3)

Labour Market Information Survey
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