Clerk of works description

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John Lipton is a clerk of works and has day-to-day charge of a building or construction site. He supervises the work on the site ensuring that all craftspeople working there report for duty and complete the work as scheduled. They are responsible for all discipline onsite and for making sure that all materials are available and delivered on time.

What are your qualifications to be a clerk of works?

I am a qualified joiner with NVQ Level 3 in carpentry and joinery. Site managers normally have experience as qualified tradesmen – our current manager is a bricklayer with many years of experience. I wanted to progress in my career rather than stay as a joiner and this was the logical step.

Can you describe your job?

I have to know exactly what is happening on the site at all times. I should also be aware of what should happen over the next few days and weeks. My job is to prevent problems occurring and to solve them if they do. This means that I am constantly moving around the area looking at building progress-checking materials and contract labour. I also have to make detailed progress reports.

What equipment do you use for this?

Normal office equipment and computers. We are constantly on the telephone – mobile and landline.

What ongoing training do you receive?

In common with all workers on construction sites, I receive regular health and safety training.

What skills and qualities are needed to be a clerk of works?

Being a good communicator and the ability to manage people is essential. Most of the problems can be solved by using common sense.

John's route to a job as clerk of works

  • Modern Apprentice.
  • NVQ Level 3 in Joinery and Carpentry.
  • Studying NVQ Level 4 in Construction.

John's clerk of works tips

  • Ensure that you gain a good knowledge of your trade.
  • Take time in everything that you do. Don't rush.
  • Listen, watch and learn.

Clerk of works related jobs












  • Construction manager
  • Construction operative
  • Engineering construction technician
  • Project manager

Salary of a clerk of works

  • Salaries vary with experience and different employers.
  • While in training, salaries would be in the range £14,000 to £19,000.
  • Once qualified and experienced, site managers can expect to earn between £25,000 and £40,000.
  • Extra benefits may include a car and subsistence.

Getting a job as clerk of works

  • There is no short cut to this type of work. It is a job which requires apprentice training in one specific craft plus general experience of construction site working.
  • With Foundation GNVQ/GSVQ Level I in Construction and the Built Environment or GCSE/S grades (A-D/1-4) level you can gain entry as a modern apprentice for most construction and building trades.
  • Once qualified your progress depends entirely upon the level of responsibility you are prepared to take. NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Construction enables you to apply for technician level jobs from which entry to NVQ/SVQ Level 5 and qualified engineer status is possible.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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