40 per week
£20,000 + per year
Steel fixers install and tie together reinforcement bars used to strengthen buildings and engineering structures from housing to bridges.
If you want to use your practical skills and work as part of a team, this could be the job for you.
You will need a good level of fitness, be able to work at heights and understand the importance of health and safety.
You do not need particular formal qualifications although previous construction site experience and some GCSEs might help. You may also be able to get into this career through an Apprenticeship scheme.
As a steel fixer you would fit and secure the steel bars and mesh used to make reinforcements for concrete buildings and structures.
You would work on various developments including commercial and industrial units, multi-storey housing and civil engineering projects like roadworks, tunnels and bridges. On most jobs, your tasks would include:
- setting out the work area, following engineering plans
- using hand and power tools to cut and bend bars or mesh
- tying rebar (reinforcement bars) together with wire, clips or welds to build up cages or sections
- fitting spacers and ‘chairs’ (supports)
- fixing the formwork and shuttering used to hold setting concrete in place
- joining cages and sections
- fixing steel to concrete bases
- installing beams and pre-cast slabs.
You may use hydraulic jacks and tensioning equipment to reinforce the steel before and after fixing it.
You would work closely with engineering designers, steel erectors and other construction tradespeople.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends may be necessary to meet deadlines.
Most of your work would be outdoors and at heights, and the job can be physically demanding. Your employer would usually provide you with personal safety equipment.
You would travel from job to job, so a driving licence may be required.
Starting salaries for trainees can be between £11,000 and £16,000 a year.
Qualified steel fixers can earn between £20,000 and £27,000.
Experienced staff with supervisory duties can earn up to £35,000 or more a year.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
There are no set entry qualifications, although some employers may prefer you to have GCSEs (A-C) in maths, English, science and technology. Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering, or site experience, may also be accepted by employers.
You could get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or engineering company. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit the Apprenticeships website.
See the CITB and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) for more details about careers in steel fixing.
Training and development
You would do most of your training on the job. There are also various work-based qualifications you could take, including:
- Level 2 Diploma in Steelfixing (Construction)
- Level 2 (NVQ) Diploma in Steelfixing Occupations (Construction).
These qualifications cover:
- cutting and bending steel
- positioning and installing reinforcing steel
- making steel sections
- health and safety.
A Powered Access Licence (PAL) could be useful for this kind of work. Contractors recognise it as proof that you can operate mobile elevated work platforms on site. For more information about PALs and details of training providers, see the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) website.
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors will want you to have a CSCS card before you can work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and ability to carry out the job safely. To get your card, you must:
- pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test
- prove your occupational competence (by holding appropriate qualifications).
If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use the On-site Assessment Workshop or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) schemes to gain a qualification and qualify for a CSCS card. See the Assessment Workshop and EWPA websites and contact CSCS in the More information section for details.
Skills, interests and qualities
As a steel fixer, you would need:
- a good head for heights
- excellent practical skills for using tools
- a good level of fitness
- good teamworking skills
- the ability to follow engineering instructions and diagrams
- an understanding of health and safety issues.
Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA)
Ganders Business Park
Tel: 01420 471619
International Powered Access Federation (IPAF)
Bridge End Business Village
Tel: 01539 566084
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
Tel: 01923 260000
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Tel: 0344 994 4777
Tel: 0344 994 4400
As an experienced steel fixer, you could progress to supervisory roles, or set up your own business.
You would find most job opportunities with engineering construction companies and steel fixing or steel erecting firms. Vacancies are advertised in the local press, through Jobcentre Plus offices, on company websites and through Universal Jobmatch.
Job market information
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