Skills Contractor, Steel Structure Forming, Shaping And Erecting in the North Region

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a contractor, steel structure forming, shaping and erecting in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations (NOC 7201).


  • Estimate costs and materials
  • Operate CADD and other computer software systems
  • Prepare bids
  • Prepare production and other reports
  • Recruit and hire workers and carry out related staffing actions
  • Train or arrange for training
  • Co-ordinate and schedule activities
  • Ensure health and safety regulations are followed
  • Manage own company
  • Oversee the operation of company
  • Requisition or order materials, equipment and supplies
  • Set up machines and equipment
  • Supervise workers and projects
  • Computer numerical control (CNC) machines

Essential skills

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

  • Read safe handling procedures and hazard warnings on labels of products such as solvents and on work area signage. (2)
  • Read notes on blueprints indicating customers' and engineers' special instructions for fabricating products. (2)
  • Read e-mail from co-workers and customers. For example, they read e-mail from co-workers requesting assistance in completing special jobs. They also read e-mail from customers inquiring about the status of their orders and projected delivery dates. (2)
  • Read memos from machine shop owners, managers and quality controller inspectors. For example, supervisors of machinists in manufacturing plants may read memos which specify procedures such as maintaining documentation needed to support research and development tax credits. They read memos explaining why products were rejected by quality assurance inspectors and criticized by customers. (2)
  • Read articles in trade magazines. For example, they read magazines such as Competitive Mold Maker, CNC Machining, Cutting Tool Engineering and Canadian Machine Tool Dealer to learn about new machining equipment and technological advances in the industry. They may read articles on topics such as heat treatments for specialized metals. (3)
  • Read a variety of manuals. For example, they read their organizations' manuals to understand policies and procedures for personal leave, safety, training and accident reporting. They review process control procedures to meet quality standards. They review equipment manuals such as those for computer numerical control machines to troubleshoot malfunctions, understand operating procedures and sequencing required to manufacture parts. They read technical manuals such as Machinery's Handbook to understand fabrication techniques, machine tools and properties of metals. They use the Metal Cutting Technical Guide to understand how to diagnose cutting abnormalities. (4)
Document use
  • Locate data on signs and labels. For example, they scan signs to determine personal protective equipment required when working in various shop areas. They verify receipt of correct types and quantities of products such as cutting tool bits and blades by scanning labels on packaging. They identify hazard symbols and risk phrases on Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System labels to ensure proper handling of materials. They locate customers' names on parts tags. (1)
  • Locate data in lists. For example, they scan machine readouts and conformance reports to locate error codes which indicate specific defects in manufactured products. They also scan machine operation codes to locate correct codes to enter for specific operations. (1)
  • Locate data in a variety of forms. For example, they scan work orders to understand customers' requirements, terms and conditions and specifications for work to be done. They read quality assurance forms to identify tasks completed, quality deviations, numbers of scrapped parts and descriptions of defects such as pitting and burring. (2)
  • Complete purchase orders and work order forms. They record dates, customers' contact information, brief descriptions of items, quantities and associated costs. (2)
  • Locate data in tables and schedules. For example, they scan tooling specification tables for part numbers, dimensions for diameters, heights, lengths, apertures and characteristics such as shank materials and types. They refer to tables outlining specifications for hot and cold forging of rivets according to shank diameters. They scan vacation schedules to determine availability of machinists and tool and die makers. They also scan production schedules to determine current status of jobs in progress. (3)
  • Locate data in technical drawings. For example, they scan technical drawings for dimensions, tolerances, materials to be used and special instructions for complex fabrication jobs. They verify scales, drawing numbers, dates and designers. They view assembly drawings to understand how various components fit together. (3)
  • Write reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, they write reminders about report due dates, job deadlines and telephone calls to return. They write notes to workers they supervise informing them of training sessions and holiday schedules. They may write notes to production programmers to describe adjustments to fabrication jobs and notes to machinists and tool and die makers to inform them of special fabrication requirements. (1)
  • Write letters and e-mail to customers and suppliers. For example, a machine shop supervisor may write a letter to answer customers' questions about fabrication processes and to confirm quality assurance standards. (2)
  • Write short reports, job descriptions and performance evaluations. For example, they write operating reports for owners and managers in which they summarize work processes, explain why units have been rejected by quality assurance personnel, outline specifications for new equipment purchases and describe staffing requirements. They may write job descriptions for use when hiring new staff. They may write performance evaluations which describe workers' strengths and weaknesses and recommend additional training. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Total and approve estimates and invoices for materials they have ordered. They calculate extensions, discounts for volume purchases and taxes. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Plan work processes and schedules to ensure full use of all equipment and machine operators from project conceptualization through materials acquisition, production and quality control inspections to meet customers' specified timelines. (3)
  • Create and monitor operating budgets. They may prepare annual operating budgets for their work units. They specify amounts for pay and benefits, equipment maintenance and purchases and material costs. (3)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Calculate dimensions for fabrications. For example, they take measurements from technical drawings and use them to calculate actual dimensions. They use triangle properties and other geometrical relationships to calculate angles. They add and subtract distances and angles to determine dimensions missing from drawings. They may calculate co-ordinates for equally-spaced holes around the perimeters of geometric shapes. They may also interpolate equally-spaced points between specified start and finish dimensions. (3)
  • Take precise measurements using specialized tools such micrometers and callipers. For example, they may measure parts to thousandths of inches and micrometers when fabricating new parts to fit existing assemblies. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements of fabricated parts to customers' specifications before releasing the parts. (1)
  • Collect and analyze production data. For example, they compare the number of nonconforming parts produced in their shops across operators, machines and processes. They create graphs to identify trends such as the on-time completion of work orders and deliveries. They may use control charts to verify fabricated parts are within specified tolerances. They compare production statistics to historical data, industry standards and their organizations' goals. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate quantities of materials and labour costs when preparing estimates for customers. (2)
  • Estimate times required for various phases of production processes. They consider types of metals being used, machines' capabilities, machine operators' experience and the complexities of fabrication jobs. (3)
Oral communication
  • Discuss daily operations with co-workers. For example, they speak to production planners about the scheduling of material deliveries. They discuss measurement corrections and machine adjustments to computer numerically controlled equipment with programmers. They discuss current orders, production problems, and upcoming fabrication jobs with machinists and tool and die makers. (2)
  • Teach machine tool operation and fabrication processes to machine operators and apprentices. For example, they provide apprentices step-by-step instructions for operating new machinery and carrying out fabrication sequences. They may review processes for new materials and procedures for new equipment with tool and die makers. (2)
  • Lead safety meetings. For example, they review their organizations' safety standards, discuss accident and near miss incidents and outline preventative and corrective actions taken. (3)
  • Discuss fabrication work with customers. For example, they facilitate meetings with customers to learn about their needs, clarify specifications, offer design suggestions and negotiate timelines and prices. They provide customers with updates on the status of their orders, explain reasons for delays and inform them of revised delivery dates. (3)
  • Discuss fabrication processes, material properties and other technical matters with engineers, manufacturers' representatives and other specialists. They review blueprints with design engineers and discuss changes and modifications to specifications. They ask engineers to explain why parts are not passing quality control and to provide assistance in determining possible causes They discuss materials' properties and availabilities with manufacturers' representatives and seek their opinions on the reliability and performance of materials for specific fabrication jobs. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Find that parts and materials needed for fabrication jobs are late, damaged and defective. When materials are damaged during shipping, they offer suppliers suggestions for better protecting the materials. When subcontractors produce work that does not meet specifications, they review fabrication procedures and measurement tolerances. They revise production schedules and alert their customers to the delays. (2)
  • May find that machinists and tool and die makers are not following procedures and adhering to safety standards. For example, they find that tools and materials have not been put away, cutters have not been properly installed in machines and solvent containers have not been capped. They inform workers of their concerns, provide safety briefings, model the use of personal protective equipment, and post signage appropriate to each work area. (2)
Decision Making
  • Choose workers and machines for specific jobs. For example, they choose machinists and tool and die makers who have appropriate skills and competencies. They select equipment which is available and suited to particular fabrication operations. (2)
  • Select suppliers for fabrication materials, tools and shop supplies. They consider pricing, product quality and suppliers' reputations for timeliness and reliability. In order to limit production delays, they may seek out suppliers with high quality standards and quick deliveries. (2)
  • Select and hire job candidates. They review candidates' qualifications, conduct interviews and verify employment histories when hiring personnel. (2)
  • Decide to subcontract fabrication work. They consider the demands of current jobs, the capacities of their production facilities, the complexities of new jobs and timelines requested by customers. They may reduce costs, increase the sophistication of products and speed final delivery by subcontracting work to other shops. (3)
  • Determine production methods and fabrication sequences. They view and interpret drawings to determine the order in which parts will be manufactured. They identify fabrication steps and plan the sequence of steps. They determine cuts to be made and most efficient and cost effective ways of cutting materials. They decide which machines and tools to use. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Assess production efficiency. They review data on units produced and rejected and quantities of materials scrapped. They compare production statistics to industry norms and corporate goals in order to identify aspects of production which could be improved. (2)
  • May evaluate performance of machinists and tool and die makers. They consider their technical skills, productivity, rejection rates, amounts of wasted materials and times spent of jobs. They take into account their abilities to work with others, punctuality and willingness to understand and follow directions. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Supervisors of machinists and related occupations are responsible for scheduling and overseeing the day-to-day operations of their machine shops. They organize their days to complete administrative tasks such as tracking and reporting on work in progress and planning and forecasting materials and equipment requirements. They adjust their schedules to respond to questions from machinists, tool and die makers, co-workers and customers and to tackle production problems. (3)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Supervisors of machinists and related occupations plan the tasks and schedules of machinists and tool and die makers. They may provide input into budget development and long-term planning for their organizations. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember details of current jobs.
Finding Information
  • Find information about fabrication jobs by consulting clients, engineers, production planners, machinists, tool and die makers and by reviewing technical drawings, materials schedules and work orders. (2)
  • Find information about specialized materials by speaking with suppliers, colleagues and customers and by conducting research on the Internet. (3)
Digital technology
  • May use databases. For example, they may use the search features of custom databases to locate data on current jobs, past work orders and preventative maintenance schedules for shop equipment. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they use e-mail programs to exchange messages and data with customers, suppliers and co-workers. They send and receive attachments such as drawings and quotes. They may use calendar functions to manage their daily schedules. (2)
  • Use Internet. For example, they access suppliers' websites when ordering materials and tracking delivery status. They use search engines to locate specialized equipment, tools and materials. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they write letters to customers and create operating reports. They may insert photos, drawings and tables in their reports to highlight key information. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they create tables to organize production data. They create budgets and project estimates. They calculate defect and production rates using embedded formulae. They may create graphs to display production data. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they create and view technical drawings for fabrications using AutoCAD. They program numerically controlled machines. (3)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Supervisors of machinists and related occupations work as team leaders to coordinate work processes for production planners, machinists and tool and die makers to ensure customers' orders are completed on time. They may participate as team members with other management staff to resolve production problems. (3)

Continuous Learning

Supervisors of machinists and related occupations learn through their own initiatives and interactions with co-workers, colleagues at other shops, suppliers and customers. They attend manufacturers' sponsored training on new equipment and materials. They read trade magazines and revisit key resources such as the Machinery's Handbook to remain knowledgeable of practices and standards in their fields. (2)

Labour Market Information Survey
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