What is an Ironworker?
Ironworkers are involved in erecting buildings and bridges as well as other structures. They follow blueprints to hoist and install structural steel as well as precast concrete, concrete reinforcing materials and other metals used in construction. They set up the framework of a building by positioning steel girders or other structural elements and then bolting them into place. Ironworkers are usually employed by construction companies and sub-contractors and their wages depend on a variety of factors such as demand and skill levels.

What is a reinforcing rodworker?
A reinforcing rodworker is a person who fabricates, handles, sorts, cuts, bends, rigs, places, burns, welds, stresses, grouts and ties all material used to reinforce concrete construction.

In addition, a reinforcing rodworker installs mechanical splices for reinforcing steel bars and performs cad and thermite welding for the splicing of reinforcing steel bars. A reinforcing rodworker reads and understands all structural and placing drawings and bar lists that are related to the work being done.

On The Job
Although structural steel work is the basis of the ironworkers’ trade, you may find yourself carrying out a number of other tasks related to construction. You may assemble prefabricated buildings, do some welding or reinforce concrete by inserting metal bars or mesh into it while it is setting. You may be called upon to install steel studs for framing interior walls or to adjust and position steel joists to support concrete floors or ceilings.You may also find yourself working with ornamental steel or other structural metals work such as railings, power doors, metal stairways and hand rails.

“Ironwork is a multi-faceted trade that attracts people who like variety.You have to be able to do a little bit of everything.”

Challenges and Opportunities

As an ironworker, you will be the first to arrive at a building site. The work you do will make it possible for other workers in other trades to complete their tasks. Ironwork is both physically demanding. You may find yourself working outside at great heights. You will also be hoisting and positioning steel units or heavy concrete forms.

This job is about independent work and initiative. It’s about staying focused and being a pro. It’s also about safety and about working as a team. This career demands thought and planning. You have to be able to read and understand blueprints in order to position the steel or concrete units properly. You also have to be able to understand the often- complicated processed involved in building scaffolding and rigging. Rigging poses a special problem since the cables must be able to bear heavy weights, and these must be calculated ahead of time.