Ironworker (Generalist) - National Occupational Analyses

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis as the national standard for the occupation of ironworker (generalist).

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Monteur/monteuse de charpentes en acier (généraliste)

NOC: 7264

Designation Year: 1991

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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Ironworker (Generalist)

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General Information


“Ironworker (Generalist)” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by ironworkers (generalists) whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:

















Ironworker (Generalist)






Ironworker Generalist


Ironworkers (generalists) work with both structural/ornamental and reinforcing steel materials. They install structural/ornamental steel components, precast concrete members and place reinforcing steel in commercial, industrial, institutional and large residential buildings, towers, bridges and stadiums. In some jurisdictions they may also install glued laminated timber products (glulam). They erect pre‑engineered buildings and ornamental ironwork such as curtain walls, metal stairways, catwalks, railings and metal doors.

Ironworkers (generalists) cut, bend, lay out and place reinforcing steel rods, welded wire fabric and composite materials in a wide variety of poured concrete products and structures such as buildings, highways, bridges, stadiums and towers. While reinforcing material is usually pre‑cut and fabricated off-site, ironworkers (generalists) may be called upon to cut and bend them according to design specifications and drawings. They may pre-assemble reinforcing material by laying it out and connecting sub-assemblies on the ground prior to final placement. They position, align and secure components according to drawings, using a variety of methods. They also place and stress various post-tensioning systems in structures such as parking garages, bridges and stadiums where longer unsupported spans are required. After placing post-tensioning systems, they stress the tendons to predetermined specifications using hydraulic jacks and pumps.

Ironworkers (generalists) prepare the site by assembling the hoisting equipment and erecting scaffolding, cranes, hoists and derricks on the construction site. They unload structural, ornamental, reinforcing materials and organize the material for installation. They connect cables and slings to the components and direct crane operators in lifts. They position, align and secure components according to blueprints using a variety of fastening methods. They also install conveyors, machinery and automated material handling systems. They are also involved in demolition and salvage duties involving all types of construction.

Ironworkers (generalists) generally work outside in all weather, although some work indoors in manufacturing plants or underground work sites. Work sites may be in a variety of locations ranging from remote areas where they could be working on dams, bridges or mining projects to urban environments where they could work on high-rise buildings, parking garages, transit systems, tunnels or stadiums.

The work often requires considerable standing, bending, crawling, lifting, climbing, pulling and reaching, and is often conducted in cramped, confined spaces or at heights. Hazards include injury from electrocution, falls or falling objects. Inclement weather may shut down projects for extended periods and deadlines and priorities may involve overtime.

Ironworkers (generalists) are required to have good mechanical aptitude, the ability to visualize finished products in three dimensions, the ability to maintain balance working at heights in varying extreme climates. A thorough knowledge of the principles of lifting and hoisting is required as is a familiarity with a variety of metal fastening and joining methods. They are also required to be competent in the use and care of a variety of hand and power tools and equipment such as tying tools, pry bars, jacks, torches, cut-off saws, hydraulic benders, shears, welding equipment, stressing equipment and cranes. They also use crane charts and must be able to estimate and reconcile crane ability with load sizes.

Because of the nature of the work ironworkers (generalists) must be thoroughly familiar with the applicable sections of local, provincial and federal building and safety standards.

Ironworkers (generalists) tend to work in teams and with other tradespeople, and team coordination is a large component of the occupation especially when hoisting and placing large, heavy components high above the ground.

Occupational Observations

Technology continues to contribute to many changes in equipment design and construction materials. These innovations require constantly changing methods and techniques governed by appropriate attitudes towards the current high standards for fabrication, erection and installation of structural and ornamental components. Maintaining updated knowledge of these changes presents a daily challenge to the people of this trade.

The work of an ironworker (generalist), by its nature, possesses inherent hazards. Safe work procedures, best practices and job hazard analysis assist in controlling or eliminating hazards. However, errors in judgment or in practical application of trade knowledge can be costly, both in terms of injury to workers and damage to equipment or materials. Workers must maintain constant attention to the application of safety and accident prevention at all times.

Equipment such as fall protection equipment, aerial work platforms, breathing apparatus and fume extraction equipment have become an integral part of all worksites and places of employment.

Ironworkers (generalists) are increasingly being called on to document and maintain records due to more stringent laws and regulations. The end products in industrial and other applications must be appropriately installed, inspected and documented. This places more responsibility on supervisors, quality control personnel and the individuals who perform the installation and assembly of components. The tremendous variety in equipment and methods means that the ironworker (generalist) must be more knowledgeable and adaptable than ever before.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by ESDC and the CCDA to the representatives from the trade across Canada who contributed to the development of this document.

This 2015 edition of the NOA was reviewed, updated and validated by industry representatives from across Canada to ensure that it continues to represent the skills and knowledge required in this trade. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division of ESDC. The host jurisdiction of Alberta also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9