Every house needs a roof, and every roof needs a roofer. As populations increase so does the number of houses needed, and so does the number of roofers needed. This is an essential job for people in good physical condition, who love to work with their hands. Were you always up trees as a child? Roofers work high up with the best views! You construct the roof by fitting different materials on the top of different buildings, to make sure the building is waterproof. There are different materials used for roofs, and you can choose to specialise in one. Or some people pursue broad skills so you can use a wide range of materials. Roofers also install all the gutters, downpipes, and other roof plumbing elements, at the same time as installing the roof themselves. This is practical work but very rewarding because of its necessity. Imagine driving past the new football stadium in your city and saying “I helped put the roof on that”.
Do you like to work with your hands? Do you enjoy being in the outdoors? You have a sharp mind to apply the technical knowledge you learn? If the answer is yes, then keep reading to find out what you need to do to become a roofer. The views from your “desk” will be to die for.
Step one: Get yourself induction training and a CIC card
Before seeking work you will need to undergo safety induction training and get a Construction Induction Card (CIC). You may also require special training to work at heights. Roofers will often find the pathway to roofing from a vocational job. This means you may start with finding employment, and they provide the necessary initial training. Or you may want to at least get your CIC card before seeking work.
Step two: Look for an entry-level job
Step three: Consider a specialisation
You can focus the broad role of a roofer into a speciality, depending on your interests. In fact, a recent new fad for green roofs has spawned an interesting specialism to consider. Green roofs aside, consider the following three career paths.
In this specialisation, you mostly work with residential properties. If you see yourself being self-employed in the future. Or you prefer small-scale projects over commercial large-scale projects. Then this makes a good specialisation for consideration. There is strong growth predicted in the demand for roof tilers, so now is a good time to head in this direction. Using slate, tiles or shingles you use a special overlapping technique to construct a waterproof surface.
Metal roof plumber
Metal roof plumbers use metal sheeting and other materials, such as synthetic membranes or malthoid sheeting to install roofs. A wide variety of buildings use these kinds of roof, but mostly commercial builds will want this style. You take responsibility for fitting the insulation, and the roof plumbing. For example, the gutters, downpipes, and rainwater tanks.
A flat roof specialist works (you’ll never guess) with flat roofs. These style of roof save space in a build but have their own challenges and technical difficulties. If water is not handled appropriately, or they are not maintained well they can be prone to spring a leak. As the specialist, you may visit existing builds which have developed problems, or you may be fitting new roofs to new builds.
Step four: Choose and apply for a course
Once you are working and building up your experience it can be worthwhile to study alongside your practical work. Studying and working can be very important in construction. This is because you have the opportunity to better understand the technical aspects of your work. Then, at the same time, you practice and perfect the practical skills themselves. These days you can find excellent online courses which can be perfect for those of you wanting to progress. Then you can study without having to move to another city and give up work.
Step five: Progress your career
Perhaps, you started out as an entry-level guy on the site helping with everything and all the most laborious jobs. Yet, by the time you have put in the hours, gained valuable experience, and taken extra training you will be ready to progress. Most roofers will progress within the company they start out with, but this is not always the case. Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere and to apply for work with competitors if you need to.
Roofer Job Description
Over the course of a roofing project, you will perform a wide variety of tasks. If you like to keep busy and vary your day you will enjoy this aspect of the work. In the beginning, you set up the scaffolding to reach the roof. You specify materials, receive them on-site, then cut materials to size if needed. Once ready you fit the roof itself, which is usually a few layers of different materials (insulation, waterproof underlays etc). Depending on the materials you are working with you may apply protective paint and waterproofing systems. You do this to increase the lifespan of the roof. Once you complete the job. You take down the scaffolding and clear the site for leftover materials, and general construction mess.
- Assessing risks and safety on site
- Measuring and cutting roof materials
- Erecting and dismantling scaffolding
- Fitting the roof to the buildings you are working on
- Attaching plumbing and guttering to the building
- Carrying out maintenance tasks on roofs
Skills for success
Roofers spend the majority of their up perched high up on the top of buildings in all weather conditions. You need to be strong, determined and have a good sense of balance. If you were the one climbing everything you could as a child, this could be the perfect job for you. You will work with your hands, so strong hand-eye coordination is important. You will also need to read technical diagrams and apply the knowledge you have learned. This is important because you will need to correctly estimate the materials you will need, as well as to fit the materials correctly. If you can get a handle on the technical side of the work, then opportunities in senior positions could be attainable for you.
Skills and attributes
- Good strength, fitness, and balance
- Enjoy working outdoors and at heights
- Hand-eye coordination
- Spacial awareness
- Good listening skills
- Able to apply technical information to real-life situations
How much do roofers get paid in Australia?
In Australia, roofers earn a median wage of $52,815 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.