What Is Steel Fixing? (With How to Become a Steel Fixer)

Updated 13 June 2023

In the construction industry, there are a variety of processes to ensure the safe design and construction of buildings. As such, there are a range of professionals responsible for overseeing the execution of these processes to ensure labourers construct safe, high quality buildings. I can be important for you understand more about these specialisations so you can determine if this career path is right for you.

In this article, we discuss what is steel fixing, what a steel fixer does, how to become a steel fixer, the skills steel fixers need and salary, work environment and career outlook information for steel fixers.

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What is steel fixing?

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Steel fixing is the process of shaping, fitting and positioning steel bars or mesh structures in construction projects. The steel serves as reinforcement to avoid weakening the overall strength of structures. Determining where to place the steel bars or mesh properly requires reviewing engineering drawings to best determine what materials and spacing processes to use.

Related: What Does a Sheet Metal Worker Do? (With Salary and Skills)

What does a steel fixer do?

A steel fixer strengthens buildings and other large structures by using steel bars and mesh in reinforced concrete. They cut, shape and fit the steel bars into the concrete, and they may clip, weld or wire structural steel materials into place properly. Steel fixers typically work in commercial and industrial sectors of the building industry on construction sites, but they may also work in pre-cast concrete plants. They work on small and large construction projects, such as:

  • high-rise buildings

  • hospitals

  • houses

  • schools.

While exact responsibilities may vary, some tasks a steel fixer may perform include:

  • building cages by tying steel reinforcement bars

  • collaborating with engineering designers, steel erectors and other construction workers

  • determining the required materials for a project based on the building plans

  • fabricating steel reinforcements like footing pads, beams or special units

  • fitting supports, such as chairs and spacers

  • fixing steel to concrete bases

  • following engineering or technical plans to set out the work area

  • installing pre-cast slabs and beams

  • keeping setting concrete in place by using rebar to build special casts

  • using power and hand tools to bend and cut mesh or bars.

How to become a steel fixer

The following steps can help you learn how to enter a career as a steel fixer:

1. Pursue training

It may be possible to pursue a career as a steel fixer without earning a formal qualification. However, earning a Certificate II or III in steel fixing may help. To earn this, consider pursuing an apprenticeship or a traineeship, such as one in steel fixing Level 3. This program typically requires 18 months, allows you to gain practical and work experience and is available to people who are school-leavers, re-entering the workforce, still in school or adults hoping to change careers.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition and Different Types

2. Obtain a licence

Licence requirements may vary by state or territory, but most require you to earn a High Risk Work licence from an organisation like WorkSafe. To obtain this licence, you must be at least 18 years old and complete a training course. During training, it is important for you to maintain an approved logbook to record the different competencies you master during training.

3. Get a white card

Most professionals in the construction industry require a white card. Earning this card verifies you're prepared to work in this industry. To get your white card, you can complete an induction safety training, which you may be able to complete in person or online. However, be sure to review your state's or territory's requirements for earning your white card before you choose a training program.

Steel fixer skills

Here are some important skills to develop if you're interested in becoming a steel fixer:

Technical skills

Working as a steel fixer requires developing technical skills related to construction. These professionals often work with their hands to operate a variety of hand and power tools.

It may be important for them to be comfortable working with construction materials and tools like:

  • bolt cutters

  • elevated work platforms

  • guillotines

  • hydraulic jacks

  • industrial wire

  • ladders

  • mesh structures

  • power saws

  • scaffolding

  • steel bars

  • steel rods

  • tensioning mechanisms

  • welding gear.

Read more: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

Workplace safety

Workplace safety is essential for all construction professionals to be mindful of following and forcing. It is often important for steel fixers to act in consideration of the health and safety of others by following safety regulations. They might also protect themselves by wearing certain protective gear to prevent injury or accident. It may also be helpful to have some first aid training in the event of minor injuries.

Ability to work under pressure

It's important for steel fixers to be able to work under pressure so they're able to meet the strict deadlines for various construction projects. Similarly, it's helpful for them to be comfortable working at heights or in dangerous areas. The ability to work under pressure may also help steel fixers complete repetitive tasks successfully, which is important when performing practical, hands-on work.

Teamwork skills

Steel fixers often work with other professionals on construction sites, so it's important they have excellent teamwork skills to work as part of a group or team successfully. This may help them share a common goal and determine a good sense of what's right and wrong for a project. Similarly, it's essential for steel fixers to work with related professionals, such as steel erectors or engineering designers, to ensure successful project completion.

Read more: Teamwork Skills: Definitions and Examples

Attention to detail

Steel fixing regularly requires precision to ensure the proper structural support for buildings. Steel fixers must be able to read and interpret engineering drawings or technical plans to understand the structural requirements. Similarly, it's important for them to be comfortable making repetitive motions or completing similar tasks without error.

Communication skills

Communication skills help steel fixers understand, processes and share information effectively. They often speak with other construction professionals, so it's important for them to have good communication skills to ensure understanding. Communication skills may also be critical for promoting workplace safety, helping steel fixers alert others of potential risks.

Physical fitness

Working as a steel fixer may need to maintain a certain level of physical fitness. These professionals need to be comfortable standing for long periods of time and bending, reaching or twisting. Similarly, they work with their hands to operate different controls and tools.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills help people understand one another and respond to their emotions properly. These are important for steel fixers to build relationships with their peers and the other professionals they collaborate with on projects. Having excellent interpersonal skills also help these professionals support each other in their work.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Administrative skills

Having good administrative skills may help steel fixers best understand various construction drawings and documents. This may also help them follow or develop procedures and routines more effectively. Similarly, administrative skills may be beneficial for developing good attention to detail, which is important as steel fixers often work with precise details and numbers.

Steel fixer salary

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

The national average salary for a steel fixer is $38.87 per hour. However, it's important to remember exact salaries may vary. For example, factors like geographic location, experience and qualifications may affect how much you earn.

Steel fixer work environment

Steel fixers often work on building sites, but they may also work in pre-cast concrete plants. They often work outdoors, which may require them to work in all types of extreme weather and conditions and may expose them to distracting, loud or uncomfortable sounds. Depending on the project, they may also work at heights.

It's important for steel fixers to follow and enforce workplace safety rules, which may involve wearing items like:

  • glasses

  • gloves

  • hard hats

  • harnesses

  • safety shoes

  • work boots.

Steel fixers typically work on the weekdays and maintain regular hours. However, they may work earlier than traditional business hours. Additionally, they may work longer hours or potentially on the weekends to meet strict project deadlines.

Steel fixer career outlook

According to the Australian Government Job Outlook, there were 3,400 steel fixers in 2011. However, this number grew by 14.7% to 3,900 steel fixers in 2016. While it considers this strong growth, it predicts moderate growth opportunities in the future.

Related: Boilermaker vs Welder (With Definitions and Job Search Tips)

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