Lathers handle, erect and install materials that are components in the construction of all or part of a structure. They lay out and install framework for ceiling systems, interior and exterior walls, floors and roofs. Lathers install various types of ceilings (e.g. suspended, spanned, direct contact), shielded walls (e.g. fire, sound, thermal separation) and various sheathing products. They also perform acoustical installations.
Materials that lathers install include: cold rolled steel components (e.g. steel studs, tracks, channels), metal door and window frames, stucco wire, vapour barriers and insulation, sheathing products (e.g. gypsum and cement products), specialty architectural products and metal lath.
Lathers are employed by construction companies and drywall contractors. They may also be self-employed. In the residential construction industry, they construct, maintain and renovate from single family housings to multi-story apartments. In the commercial, institutional and industrial construction sectors they build, maintain and renovate structures such as commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and manufacturing complexes.
Lathers work both indoors and outdoors year round. They may specialize in individual aspects of the trade such as layout, wall framing and drywall installation. Lathers use a variety of hand and power tools. The installation of metal stud framing and suspended ceilings often requires the use of lasers and powder-actuated tools.
Key attributes for people in this trade are good eye-hand coordination, the ability to work at heights and the ability to pay attention to detail. Lathers must be able to read and interpret information from drawings, blueprints and specifications. The work may require lifting and positioning heavy building materials in a fast-paced environment. The work is physically demanding and requires the use of personal protective equipment. Workers in this trade carry out their work in teams and independently.
This analysis recognizes similarities and overlaps with the work of carpenters, sheet metal workers, insulators and drywall tapers.
With experience, lathers may act as mentors and trainers to apprentices in the trade. They may also advance to positions such as estimators, supervisors, training coordinators and project managers.
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