The South Australian building and construction industry employs 57,000 people, which is just over 7.1% of the State’s workforce.

Most of the people working in the construction industry are tradespeople or labourers, and they build, finish, repair or renovate homes, shops, offices and multistorey commercial buildings.

Almost two thirds of employment is in the Adelaide metropolitan area but there are still plenty of jobs in regional areas.

Job openings for skilled workers

Carpenter and joiner

Construction manager




Quick facts about this industry

  • Most people work full-time in this industry.
  • Half of the workforce has a trade qualification (certificate III).
  • The number of women working in the industry is growing but it’s still mostly men.
  • Workers are younger than the average age of the SA workforce.
  • You need to be physically fit, have good eyesight, not be afraid of heights and be good with mathematics.
  • There are specialisations in building, contract administration, estimating, sales, site management and trade contracting.
  • Qualified full-time tradespeople generally earn between $800 and $1,000 per week, and often rates are higher when there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople. Construction managers and architects earn more than $2,000 per week.

School options

Ask your Vocational Education and Training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website for training options in:

  • Construction
  • Furnishing

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificate III in Soft Furnishing
  • Building trade qualifications at Certificate III level include bricklaying, carpentry, concreting, dogging, fire protection, joinery, painting, paving, plumbing and gas fitting, rigging, roof tiling, scaffolding, shopfitting, signage and graphics, solid plastering, steelfixing, stonemasonry, and wall and floor tiling
  • Furnishing trade qualifications at certificates II and III level include cabinet making, flooring technology, furniture making and finishing, glass and glazing, kitchens and bathrooms, and upholstery
  • Certificate IV and Diploma in Building and Construction with specialisations in building, contract administration, estimating, site management and trade contracting
  • Certificate IV and Diploma in Plumbing and Services
  • Diploma of Fire Systems Design
  • Diploma of Furniture Design and Technology

See courses related to this industry.

University disciplines include:

  • Architecture
  • Architectural engineering
  • Built environment
  • Civil engineering
  • Construction management
  • Interior architecture

Explore university courses offered in South Australia, including courses from:

For more information about university courses visit South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) or for information about student satisfaction visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Apply to study

For application information for South Australian universities and some TAFE SA courses, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

For subsidised training enrolment information, see Enrolling in subsidised training.

For more information, call the Infoline on 1800 673 097.

Occupations in this industry

Building construction

Building construction produces the homes where we live, the schools and hospitals on which we rely, and the commercial and industrial buildings where we work.

There are a number of production processes in constructing a building including:

  • architectural and engineering design
  • site preparation
  • concrete foundation laying
  • framework production in timber and metal
  • wall and ceiling fabrication and insulation
  • exterior finishing in brick, timber, metal and glass
  • installation of electrical wiring and plumbing systems
  • interior finishing — painting, tiling, flooring, lighting, plumbing, air-conditioning, doors, shelves, cabinets and other fixtures.

Furniture construction

Cabinetmakers make or repair furniture using solid timber, flat-panel or timber-based products. Wood tradespeople set up, operate and maintain woodworking machines such as planers, moulders, drilling machines, routers, woodturning lathes, chisels and saws, which they use to cut, plane, shape and sand wood to a required shape and size.

Cabinetmakers may specialise in particular areas such as kitchen fittings, bedroom suites, office furniture, dining suites, shop fittings, occasional furniture and reproduction of antique furniture.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Construction administrator, contracts administrator or interior designer.

Related industries for these occupations:

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information.

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