Monthly Archives: March 2013

Environmental Impacts of Construction


UPDATED: If you are one of the few who have finished this assignment, jump to the bottom for something new.

In times of energy conservation and resource scarcity, increasing attention is paid to the energy-efficiency of the buildings and structures that we live and work in. Many methods have been developed to increase the energy-efficiency and comfort of the home that we live in.

The following are just some of the methods and techniques used to improve the energy efficiency of modern buildings (some of you may even live in homes that utilize these methods): ground-source heating and cooling, improved insulation, building-envelope systems, technologies to reduce light and noise pollution, energy-conserving lighting, non-toxic building materials, use of local materials.

Although this work may not seem fully connected to our “hands-on” course work, it is a part of the course curriculum and this work that you do will be included in your final grade.

Select one of the methods listed above and create an informational page including pictures or graphics.

Be sure to include the following information:

Brief overview of the technique (include information on historical use i.e. what used to be done)

Benefits to building using this method

Potential drawbacks

Future development/innovation seen for this technique (improvements to come)

Building Sciences ( is a leader in research and development of energy-efficient building design – you may find some useful information on their site.

Include all of this information on a single page. Try to use Canadian sources for your information. Please include links to your sources. Email me the completed project.

THE NEW (Monday, March 25th, 2013)

Among other things you will begin work on a new CNC V-Carve project. If you have not used V-Carve before, here are a few links to tutorials: Youtube and text version.

You will create a V-Carve sign that has a “cut-out” shape – not a simple square or rectangle, but a shape that follows the outline of the sign (like this: example 1, example 2, example 3). You can also make a sign that has a frame such as the one on the right in example 1.

Dimensions will be 12×18 (unless you have a special requirement for something larger). Start by deciding on a graphic or image for you sign and begin experimentation with V-Carve.

Machine time is limited so we will be producing these over the next few weeks while we also work on other projects.

Friday, March 8th

Ok, for today, if you have not finished the work below (Careers in Construction) you should do so and email me the completed assignment.

If you have completed it, please continue some research for our doghouse project which we will be completing next. We will need to establish some dimensions for the house so we can design and build the doghouse.

Sketches, dimensions and pics/plans for houses online are what you should be collecting today.

Have a nice March break.

Careers in Construction


Review the “Types of Construction” and “Who Works in Construction” section below before starting this assignment.

Your task is to consider the 3 career paths skilled trades, technicians and technologists, and professionals and then go to the following web sites to locate one career from each field or area of expertise. Write, in your own words, a one or two paragraph description of each occupation. Include things such as what duties they perform, how they complete their training and what education they need before starting. Use proper sentence and paragraph structure. Be mindful of your grammar and spelling. You must cite which web site you used for each part of your report. When you have completed this task you should email the assignment to

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Skills Canada
Careers in Construction

Types of Construction

In Ontario, the construction industry employs about 7% of the workers. As in the rest of the world, construction projects can be categorized into four different types. The four types of construction are light, commercial, industrial, and civil construction.

Light Construction is probably the one that we are most familiar with. Homes and other small buildings such as townhouses, offices, convenience stores, and small apartment buildings would be considered light construction. This type of construction is most often recognized by its use of dimensional lumber for framing.

Commercial Construction can best be described as the building of structures like office buildings, warehouses, schools, and apartment buildings, which meet the specific business needs of customers. These buildings require the use of much larger equipment to construct and more time to build. Many more people are involved in this type of construction as each building usually has unique characteristics and design requirements. In commercial construction you will most often see the involvement of architects and designers because of the uniqueness of the buildings and the opportunity for creativity.

Industrial Construction includes those structures that are used in industry such as oil refineries, power plants, lumber mills and other manufacturing facilities. It would not include, for example, an office building for a power plant. That office building would still qualify as commercial construction. The main reason for this type of construction is to serve an industrial purpose. In industrial construction, the most important consideration is a building’s function. Architects, designers, and especially engineers who have a knowledge of the industrial processes that will take place there, will be involved in the design of these projects.

Civil Construction is a type of construction that is closely linked with the needs of society and the public. Projects such as bridges, roadways, dams, and airports can be considered civil construction. If you look at the above examples you will see that this type of construction is closely related to the land and quite often involves transportation infrastructure. Architects and designers become involved with civil construction projects as again there is most often a special need for engineering expertise.

Who Works In Construction?

There is a wide variety of occupations in the construction industry. These occupations can be divided into four groups. You could either be working as an Unskilled Labourer, a Skilled Trade, a Technician or Technologist, or as a Professional.

Unskilled Labour

If you have ever walked or driven by a construction project, you will have noticed that construction involves a lot of workers. The frontline group of workers in construction is often referred to as unskilled labour. This name can be deceiving because it might give you the impression that people without any skills whatsoever work on construction projects. Construction labourers, through experience are usually highly skilled. They often work with and help specific trades such as carpenters or bricklayers. Their work can be demanding and strenuous so they must be in excellent physical condition. They are considered “unskilled” because they don’t possess the same skills as the trade workers they assist and they have not gone through an apprenticeship training program.

Skilled Trades

A trade is a career or occupation that usually involves working with tools, materials, and machinery. This type of career requires a high skill level which is usually attained through serving an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship is hands-on training for people who enjoy learning by doing. Apprenticeship training is done under the supervision of a Journeyperson and it provides access to well-paying jobs that demand a high level of skills, judgement and creativity. Apprentices are paid while gaining work experience, and their wages increase with their level of skills.

About 90 per cent of apprenticeship training is provided in the workplace by employers or sponsors who provide training to standards of skill and safety set by industry. The remainder involves classroom instruction on theory, which is usually given at a local community college or provided by another approved training organization.

The construction industry provides some of the highest paying skilled trades jobs. Occupations such as electrician, carpenter, HVAC technician, bricklayer, tile setter, cabinet maker, ironworker and plumber are some of the skilled trades involved in construction. Sometimes though, work in the construction trades is seasonal and dependent on the weather. Generally speaking, plenty of work is available for those interested in a career in construction.

Technicians and Technologists

Technicians and technologists most often can be found working in an office and their work usually involves drafting, estimating time and materials, surveying, architecture, construction methods, or management. They are the link between the professions and the trades. Their work is very similar to that of a professional in that they both use mathematics, knowledge of construction principles, and computer skills to solve construction problems.

Technicians usually get their training at community colleges and they end up being hired to work with architects, government inspection agencies, construction companies or engineering firms. A technician’s starting wage may be similar to that of a skilled tradesperson but on an hourly basis it may in fact be lower. The technician has the advantage or opportunity for more regular work and advancement opportunities.


Engineers, land-use planners, architects, and the city building department officials are all involved in the start-up of construction projects. Architects are concerned with the needs of the customers and those who will be using the building, and it is their job to design structures to meet those needs. The architect usually acts as the liaison between the contractor and the building’s owner throughout the project.

Engineers specialize in structural, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. Architects often require an engineer’s stamp of approval when unique structural modifications to a design are made.

Construction professionals require at least four years of university education to become certified in their field.