Carpentry And The Construction Building Industry

How did we get from carpentry (old days) to builders?

Since the dawn of time, humans have needed shelter. As one of the six basic needs a human has, shelter is one of the most important. The act of building could be classed as an ancient human activity. It is an activity created from need and it gave us the ability to build a structure that would help to moderate the effects of the climate we lived in.

The first structures would have been very simple, however, as the climate changed and humans experimented and innovated, shelters evolved into more refined forms and became a lot more durable.

Early builders had to work with perishable materials to make shelters. Because the materials were perishable this meant that structures didn’t last and the task of building and re-building was a common one. As more durable natural materials were experimented with, people starting getting more creative with their building designs. As building materials were developed and designed, people learnt more about what they were working with and how to manipulate the materials to achieve their building dreams.

Building construction in 2017 is complex. Before you can pick up a single tool, the design process is demanding and requires knowledge based on known material properties and performance. The needs of the end user need to be considered and the building plan must meet these needs. Once you are happy with your design, it must be submitted to the local authority, usually your regional council, for approval and money must be paid for consents and permits.

When it comes to actually building your project, it is still not as simple as picking up a hammer and following the plans. The building process has many layers and utilises interaction with manufacturers, suppliers, builders, contractors and a myriad of consultants who specialize in construction management, quality control, and/or insurance.

Numerous historical documents make mention of carpenters. These were skilled workers of wood who would create and build and pass their knowledge and skills to their sons. The main work of carpenters was to cut, shape and install the various building materials required during construction. Often, nowadays, if someone refers to a carpenter the assumption is that these skilled workers work on small projects, perhaps building furniture or cabinetry.

A builder on the other hand has a much larger list of skills in their professional repertoire. Builders in 2017 will oversee, coordinate and work on the construction or repair of homes and other buildings. Whilst many builders will undertake building work themselves, head builders on a team will also manage the entire project.

Builders usually work outdoors in industrial conditions as part of a construction team, and may be required to operate machinery. There are strict safety regulations, including using wearing protective equipment and ensuring the site is safe for all personnel. Their skill set is much larger than that of a carpenter.

So how did a carpenter’s role evolve so much? Cast your mind back only a couple of decades and you might remember terms being used regarding homes like “Jerry Built” or the random man in the street who was a “Jack of All Trades”. If you wanted to build your home, all you needed to do was collect the materials and a hammer and nails and start “building”. Whilst there were some very experienced and skilled carpenters, there were no real controls over the building process.

Like a fine wine or good cheese, building protocols and materials have bettered with time. The evolution of the modern builder has been necessary to ensure the quality of new builds and renovation projects is kept to a high standard. Now, instead of having a single carpenter on a building site to complete a project, large teams of builders can be a common site. These highly trained and skilled workers can tackle large building projects quickly and efficiently.

Both carpenters and builders have a place in modern society. Both have high value placed upon them and are craftsmen in their own right.