The construction industry famously moves in trends, and there are currently few skills more useful than steel fixing. Whether you are looking to add a new trade, or you are looking for a complete switch in occupation, steel fixing may be the right job for you.
There are currently many opportunities to work on a sub-contract basis, and for the more determined and driven worker, there are possibilities to progress to a supervisory position.
Steel fixers are responsible for the installation, tying together, and securing of steel bars and mesh used to reinforce concrete on a large variety of jobs. These jobs include civil engineering projects, housing, roadworks, tunnels, and bridges.
Working closely with designers, erectors, and other tradespeople, steel fixers follow engineering plans and use a combination of hand and power tools to cut and bend bars and mesh, and then tie, clip, or weld reinforcement bars to create cages or sections. They also join these sections or cages, and fix steel to concrete bases as well as many other jobs on construction sites.
Having construction experience is useful, but not essential when it comes to making your first moves into the world of steel fixing.
The most important skills you will need are a solid awareness and understanding of health and safety, a high level of fitness, an ability to work at heights or underground if and when required, and most importantly, a passion for hard work.
Due to the nature and importance of the work you will be carrying out, you need to be able to follow plans correctly and have excellent attention to detail in everything you do. An aptitude for hands-on, practical work and the ability to work as part of a team are also necessary for a career in steel fixing.
Courses and apprenticeships are an excellent way to make a start in the construction trade if you do not have relevant experience, and in the current climate, steel fixing is an advisable path to choose.
The average apprenticeship takes between 10 and 15 weeks, and you will finish with all of the relevant qualifications you need as well as experience and skills in the area.
For those already working in construction, an apprenticeship may not be necessary, as training can be given on site if you already have training and understanding of health and safety and an appreciation of the hard work and attention to detail necessary for such vital work.
Whichever path you choose to follow to gain a career as a steel fixer, it can be an effective way to make good money and take pride in the work that you do. A proven aptitude for the week can see you progress up the ladder to supervisor and higher in some scenarios.
With building work constantly happening around the UK, there is unlikely to be a shortage of work for steel fixers any time soon, making this an excellent career opportunity for anybody.
Nick Carr is the director of Reinforced Concrete Solutions Limited, an Essex based specialist in all types if reinforced concrete construction. His company works on complex schemes and methods without compromising the quality and finish.