A framer installs the structural members of a building and prepares them for the next phase of construction, where cladding and other materials go into place. Framers can work with wood, steel, concrete, and other framing materials in the course of their work. No special education or certification is required, although training programs are available and the rate of pay usually depends on experience and skill level.
The construction framer is one of the first people to arrive on a job site. Framers meet with other members of the construction team to discuss the needs of the project and work with the foundation crew to set up for framing. When the foundation is in place, the framer teams can move in. They start by roughing in the framing, at which point the structure will need supportive props. At the lock-up phase, they secure the framing so it can stand on its own.
A framer needs to be able to work quickly and safely. Framing may only take a few days if the structure is small. The framers must make allowances for doors, windows, electrical equipment, and other project needs. Once they finish, other teams can move in to begin the next stage of construction, and they rely on solid framing to do their jobs right. The framers must ensure that the structure is plumb and stable so it will be able to bear the weight of the structure.
Many framers learn their work on the job. They start as apprentices on the construction site and learn how to use tools and work on the site. Over time, they can take on more complicated tasks, and may eventually join framing crews. With experience, a framer can become a supervisor who monitors a crew, and may be eligible for higher pay. Other framers go to school to learn about construction techniques and basic engineering.
This work can be irregular in nature. Many framers are freelancers and rely on work from a variety of sources for their income. During the winter months, it may not be possible to work, and a framer needs to be able to budget income from the working months to cover the winter. Some framers take on other projects during the winter, like minor home improvement tasks, to supplement their income.