Top Tips: Navigating the UK Construction Industry

Mirren Dougan

March 11, 2019

The Construction Industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. Its contribution towards the global GDP revolves around one-tenth of the total amount. As those who work within the industry have very transferable skills, many workers may desire to move from their native country. Although on the whole, the job is largely the same, there are a few differences you’d be glad to know of.


Roles in the United Kingdom are very similar to those in overseas markets, however, the role descriptions are often very general and can differ greatly depending upon the client. To help you out, we’ve put together something to help you understand what everyone on site is doing:

Firstly, a Site/Setting out Engineer in the UK may be responsible for tasks such as; ensuring the works are constructed according to the design and specifications, ensure Health and Safety compliance, producing accurate daily diaries, setting out and permitting clearances and daily records.

Translating this into the Australian and New Zealand Industry, a UK site engineer would be referred to as a Land Surveyor or Project/Site Engineer. Additionally, a Sub Agent in the UK may be better known as a Senior Engineer in AUS/NZ.


Getting paid varies from country to country. The differences in the UK are dependent on whether you are employed on a freelance or permanent basis. For example, if you take a permanent role, you’ll likely be paid by the client you’re working for. Alternatively, if you take on a freelance role through Carmichaeluk you will be paid weekly by Carmichaeluk.

In the United Kingdom, there are a number of different ways to receive payment.

  1. Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  2. Limited Company
  3. Umbrella Company

You will require your own insurances should you wish to be paid via a limited company or an umbrella company. PAYE users are insured by CarmichaelUK. However, it’s worth double checking policies before starting on site.


Before you arrive on location, the UK government requires all construction workers to take and pass a CSCS test (Construction Skills Certification Scheme). The CSCS is the equivalent of the Australia’s White Card and the blue card in New Zealand. The South African construction industry ensures any person entering a site must have undergone a valid medical and a health and safety induction/training. Once both of these factors have been completed the worker is issued with a green card.

Whilst the preparation may sound daunting, our New Arrivals team has been established to assist you from the point of first contact, through your registration process and on to your chosen role. Our new arrival pack includes information on UK construction terminology, health and safety procedures and how you’ll be paid. We even have our own in-house CSCS testing facility and we can arrange for you to take the test when you come for your meeting after arriving in the UK.

For more information about how we can help make working in the UK easier for you, email our team at arrivals@carmichaeluk.com.