Tag Archives: maintenance

Carpentry and Joinery

Significant Points

* About 32 percent of all carpenters are self-employed.
* Job opportunities should be best for those with the most training and skills.
* Carpenters can learn their craft through on-the-job training, vocational schools or technical colleges, or formal apprenticeship programs, which often takes 3 to 4 years.

Nature of the Work

Carpenters construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction, from the building of highways and bridges to the installation of kitchen cabinets.

Each carpentry task is somewhat different, but most involve the same basic steps. Working from blueprints or instructions from supervisors, carpenters first do the layout—measuring, marking, and arranging materials—in accordance with local building codes. They cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, or drywall using hand and power tools, such as chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders. They then join the materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives. In the last step, carpenters do a final check of the accuracy of their work with levels, rules, plumb bobs, framing squares, and surveying equipment, and make any necessary adjustments. Some materials come prefabricated, allowing for easier and faster installation.

Carpenters may do many different carpentry tasks, or they may specialize in one or two. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures, for example, need a broad range of carpentry skills. As part of a single job, they might frame walls and partitions, put in doors and windows, build stairs, install cabinets and molding, and complete many other tasks. Well-trained carpenters are able to switch from residential building to commercial construction or remodeling work, depending on which offers the best work opportunities.

Carpenters who work for large construction contractors or specialty contractors may perform only a few regular tasks, such as constructing wooden forms for pouring concrete, or erecting scaffolding. Some carpenters build tunnel bracing, or brattices, in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air through the passageways and to worksites. Others build concrete forms for tunnel, bridge, or sewer construction projects.

Carpenters employed outside the construction industry perform a variety of installation and maintenance work. They may replace panes of glass, ceiling tiles, and doors, as well as repair desks, cabinets, and other furniture. Depending on the employer, carpenters install partitions, doors, and windows; change locks; and repair broken furniture. In manufacturing firms, carpenters may assist in moving or installing machinery.

Work environment.

As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling often are necessary. Carpenters risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and working in situations where they might slip or fall. Consequently, workers in this occupation experience a very high incidence of nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Additionally, carpenters who work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions.

Many carpenters work a standard 40 hour week; however, some work more. About 7 percent worked part time.


Source: bls.gov, edwinnelsonsmedevelopment.com, carpentry-plus.com, crookedshack.com, drcarpenters.com, blass.com.au, passatella.org

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Lodging Managers

Significant Points

* Long hours, including night and weekend work, are common.
* Employment is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations.
* College graduates with degrees in hotel or hospitality management should have better opportunities for jobs at full-service hotels and for advancement than those without a degree.

Nature of the Work

A comfortable room, good food, and a helpful staff can make being away from home an enjoyable experience for both vacationing families and business travelers. Lodging managers make sure that these conveniences are provided, while also ensuring that the establishments are run efficiently and profitably. Most lodging managers work in traditional hotels and motels, but some work in other lodging establishments, such as recreational camps and RV parks, inns, boardinghouses, and youth hostels.


Lodging establishments can vary significantly in size and in the number of services they provide, which can range from supplying a simple in-room television and a continental breakfast to operating a casino and accommodating conventions. These factors affect the number and type of lodging managers employed at each property.

The one person who oversees all lodging operations at a property is usually called a general manager. At larger hotels with several departments and multiple layers of management, the general manager and multiple assistant managers coordinate the activities of separate departments.  In smaller limited-service hotels—mainly those without food and beverage service—one lodging manager may direct all the activities of the property.


Lodging managers have overall responsibility for the operation and profitability of the hotel. Depending on the hotel and the size of its staff, lodging managers may either perform or direct housekeeping, personnel, office administration, marketing and sales, purchasing, security, maintenance, oversight of recreation facilities, and other activities. They may hire and train staff, set schedules, and lend a hand when needed.


Within guidelines established by the owners of the hotel or executives of the hotel chain, lodging managers set room rates, allocate funds to departments, approve expenditures, and ensure that standards for guest service, decor, housekeeping, food quality, and banquet operations are met. Increasingly, lodging managers also are responsible for ensuring that the information technology common in today’s hotels is operational. Some lodging managers, often called revenue managers, work in financial management, monitoring room sales and reservations, overseeing accounting and cash-flow matters at the hotel, projecting occupancy levels, and deciding which rooms to discount and when to offer rate specials.


Front office managers, a category of lodging manager, coordinate reservations and room assignments and train and direct the hotel’s front desk staff. They ensure that guests are treated courteously, complaints and problems are resolved, and requests for special services are carried out. At some hotels, they may greet the guests personally and provide them individual attention to see their needs are met. Any adjustments to bills often are referred to front office managers for resolution.


Convention services managers coordinate the activities of various departments to accommodate meetings, conventions, and special events. They meet with representatives of groups or organizations to plan the number of conference rooms to reserve, the configuration of the meeting space, and determine what other services the group will need, such as catering or banquets and audio, visual, or other electronic requirements. During the meeting or event, they resolve unexpected problems and monitor activities to ensure that hotel operations conform to the group’s expectations.


Lodging managers may work with hotel sales and marketing directors and public relations directors to manage and coordinate the advertising and promotion of the hotel. They help develop lodging and dining specials and coordinate special events, such as holiday or seasonal specials. They may direct their staff to purchase advertising and to market their property to organizations or groups seeking a venue for conferences, conventions, business meetings, trade shows, and special events.


Lodging managers who oversee the personnel functions of a hotel or serve as human resource directors ensure that all accounting, payroll, and employee relations matters are handled in compliance with hotel policy and applicable laws. They also oversee hiring practices and standards and ensure that training and promotion programs reflect appropriate employee development guidelines.


Computers are used extensively by lodging managers and their assistants to keep track of guests’ bills, reservations, room assignments, meetings, and special events. In addition, computers are used to order food, beverages, and supplies, as well as to prepare reports for hotel owners and top-level managers. Many hotels also provide extensive information technology services for their guests. Managers work with computer specialists and other information technology specialists to ensure that the hotel’s computer systems, Internet, and communications networks function properly.

Work environment.

Because hotels are open around the clock, night and weekend work is common. Many lodging managers work more than 40 hours per week and are often on-call, which means they may be called back to work at any time. In some hotels and resort properties where work is seasonal, managers may have other duties less related to guest services during the off season or they may find work in other hotels or occupations.

The pressures of coordinating a wide range of activities, turning a profit for investors, and dealing with guests who sometimes are angry can be stressful. Managing conferences and working at the front desk during check-in and check-out times can be particularly hectic.

Source: bls.gov, cnn.com, education.com, sjsu.edu, seattleschools.com, rateglobe.com

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Electrician

 

Significant Points

* Job opportunities should be very good, especially for those with the broadest range of skills.
* Most electricians acquire their skills by completing an apprenticeship program lasting 4 to 5 years.
* About 4 out of 5 electricians work in the construction industry or are self-employed, but there also will be opportunities for electricians in other industries.

 

Nature of the Work

Electricians bring electricity into homes, businesses, and factories. They install and maintain the wiring, fuses, and other components through which electricity flows. Many electricians also install and maintain electrical machines in factories.

Electricians usually start their work by reading blueprints. Blueprints are technical diagrams that show the locations of circuits, outlets, load centers, panel boards, and other equipment. To ensure public safety, electricians follow the National Electrical Code, and State and local building codes.

 

Electricians connect all types of wires to circuit breakers, transformers, outlets, or other components. They join the wires in boxes with various specially designed connectors. When installing wiring, electricians use hand tools such as conduit benders, screwdrivers, pliers, knives, hacksaws, and wire strippers, as well as power tools such as drills and saws. Later, they use ammeters, ohmmeters, voltmeters, oscilloscopes, and other equipment to test connections and ensure the compatibility and safety of components.
Electricians generally focus on either construction or maintenance, although many do both. Electricians specializing in construction primarily install wiring systems into factories, businesses, and new homes. Electricians specializing in maintenance work fix and upgrade existing electrical systems and repair electrical equipment.

 

When electricians install wiring systems in factories and commercial settings, they first place conduit (pipe or tubing) inside partitions, walls, or other concealed areas as designated by the blueprints. They also fasten small metal or plastic boxes to the walls that will house electrical switches and outlets. They pull insulated wires or cables through the conduit to complete circuits between these boxes. The diameter and number of wires installed depends on how much power will need to run through it. The greater the diameter of the wire, the more electricity it can handle. In residential construction, electricians usually install insulated wire encased in plastic, which does not need to run through conduit.

 

Some electricians also install low-voltage wiring systems in addition to electrical systems, although line installers and repairers specialize in this work. Low-voltage wiring accommodates voice, data, and video equipment, such as telephones, computers, intercoms, and fire alarm and security systems. Electricians also may install coaxial or fiber optic cable for telecommunications equipment and electronic controls for industrial uses.

 

Maintenance electricians repair or replace electric and electronic equipment when it breaks. They make needed repairs as quickly as possible in order to minimize inconvenience. They may replace items such as circuit breakers, fuses, switches, electrical and electronic components, or wire. Electricians also periodically inspect all equipment to ensure it is operating properly and to correct problems before breakdowns occur.

 

Maintenance work varies greatly, depending on where an electrician works. Electricians who focus on residential work perform a wide variety of electrical work for homeowners. They may rewire a home and replace an old fuse box with a new circuit breaker box to accommodate additional appliances, or they may install new lighting and other electric household items, such as ceiling fans. These electricians might also do some construction and installation work.

 

Electricians in large factories usually do maintenance work that is more complex. They may repair motors, transformers, generators, and electronic controllers on machine tools and industrial robots. Electricians also advise management whether continued operation of equipment could be hazardous. When working with complex electronic devices, they may consult with engineers, engineering technicians, line installers and repairers, or industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers.

 

Work environment

Electricians work indoors and out, at construction sites, in homes, and in businesses or factories. Work may be strenuous at times and may include bending conduit, lifting heavy objects, and standing, stooping, and kneeling for long periods. Electricians risk injury from electrical shock, falls, and cuts. They must follow strict safety procedures to avoid injuries. When working outdoors, they may be subject to inclement weather conditions. Some electricians may have to travel long distances to jobsites.

Most electricians work a standard 40-hour week, although overtime may be required. Those who do maintenance work may work nights or weekends and be on call to go to the worksite when needed. Electricians in industrial settings may have periodic extended overtime during scheduled maintenance or retooling periods. Companies that operate 24 hours a day may employ three shifts of electricians.

 

Source: bls.gov,

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