With a passion for working with hard, being outdoors and wanting to be challenged I began to think about how to spend my time, make some extra money and gain some valuable experience. With a construction frenzy in my hometown of Burnaby, BC, I thought it was the best time to get out and figure out what it was like to work in the construction industry. If, like me, you are considering getting into this industry, here’s a story that can let know what to expect.
I was given the opportunity to work at Brentwood through a local contractor who happens to be a friend of my father. I had not thought about working in the industry before but he offered me the job so I thought I should take it. Working with my hands and being outside trying new things is something I’ve always liked so this seemed like something I could do well.
The construction industry puts safety first, so I spent a day learning the safety procedures before going on the site. This was not my first job and my previous safety orientation was about half a day, so spending the whole day learning about safety surprised me. As usual, proper safety gear was needed–that means steel toe boots, hard hat, safety vest and a good pair of work pants.
I started at the Brentwood site at the beginning of July and worked until mid-August, from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, but the supervisor wanted all the workers there at 6:45 am so he could tell us what we were doing that day. My supervisor and co-workers always explained why it had to be done a certain way and what could happen otherwise. That helped me understand why and if I still had any questions they made the time to explain. It really helps when you work for a company that makes you feel like part of the team. If you make a mistake you learn from it.
When you work at a large site there are other companies working around you so you have to be careful. They all have respect for each other and their jobs. Each job is done in stages so we do not climb over each other. In the first week, I was moved to the Lougheed Mall location due to a broken sewer pipe. The pipe broke on the first floor and when I heard that I knew was lucky because I was having lunch on the third floor that day. The site at Brentwood was closed for two weeks for clean up.
Working at the Lougheed Mall location meant I had to be up earlier to make it to work on time. The coworkers were different but they were ok and I had to earn their respect. DMS Mechanical supplied the workers with power tools for the job but like so many of the other guys I brought my own tools because I was used to them and know what they can do. The supervisor let us keep our tools in a locked room with the company’s tools instead of bringing it each day. After getting called back to Brentwood, it was nice to know some of the guys were going to miss me.
Back to Brentwood Mall, I got to sleep a little bit more before going to work. Starting early in the morning is not bad because it is nice and cool. During the day, everyone thought it was too hot to work outside but I worked underground where it stayed cool.
The work was hard but I enjoyed putting pipes in so it did not feel like work. Putting in pipes can feel like putting a puzzle together in mind and I really enjoy that. Working with my hands and tools and getting it perfect makes me feel proud and accomplished.
By mid-August, DMS Mechanical had completed the first stage of the contract at Brentwood Mall. I was asked to work at a site in West Vancouver but declined because the commuting time by bus would have been terrible. They understood that. Plus I and wanted to enjoy the rest of the summer before school. Victor, one of the partners, told me I could come back any time whether it is Pro-D Days, spring break or next summer. It is nice to know I am welcomed back there. I still went bike riding and hung out with my friends after their shifts because they had jobs too. With one week before school, I had time to catch up on my sleep.
Working on the Brentwood Construction was fun and I learned a lot in the summer like how to install cast iron and copper pipes. The work is hard but fun. When you work in construction the hours can be long, the days can start early, the work can be messy and hard but in the end, if you like to be outside, make a good wage and use your hands it is definitely worth it.