CLC Topic Review

These are the topics and knowledge/skill requirements that define the Certified Lead Carpenter program. As defined in the CLC Study Guide the following are the cornerstone of a Lead Carpenter's job

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Material Take-Offs and Orders
  • Carpentry/Labor
  • Job-Site Supervision, Protection, Cleanliness, and Safety
  • Supervision and Scheduling of Subcontractors
  • Building Code Inspections
  • Project Paperwork

On the left you will find links to the specific topics and a listing of the knowledge/skill requirements that the CLC exam tests.  You are invited to review and make comments regarding the requirements.  In addition the Board would like to hear your comments regarding the use of technology by Lead Carpenters  in the field. 

These responsibilities can be further described by several very basic-- yet very important -- project tasks.  Again from the CLC Study Guide:

  1. As the lead carpenter, you are the on-site manager of your project.  And as such, you are the company's representative to both the client and the community at large.  Your good performance is extremely important to the client as well as to the success of your company, which probably gets most of its work because of its reputation, and whose reputation you are a very important part of.  Both the quality of your work and the appearance of your job site reflect strongly on you and the company.

  2. You are responsible for knowing and understanding all of the project paperwork:  plans, specifications, and change orders.  It is your responsibility to ensure that all records are accurate and are appropriately maintained.  If you notice an error or feel that something “just doesn't look right,” bring it to your manager's attention right away.

  3. You are responsible for performing all carpentry work on your projects, requesting help as it is needed.  When other carpenters or helpers are on your job, you are responsible for assigning their work, expediting their performance, and generally supervising their activities—including expediting their paperwork (time cards, etc.).

  4. You will schedule and coordinate all subcontractors (in consultation with your manager), work out their layout problems, ensure their performance, ensure that their work is inspected in a timely manner, and approve payment of their work.  It is your responsibility to ensure that all subcontractors adhere to all of your company's policies and procedures concerning safety, customer satisfaction, cleanliness, alcohol and substance abuse, etc.

  5.  Lead carpenters must prepare final material take-offs and must order materials promptly and accurately.  All material orders should pass through your manager for cost control and coordination with other orders.  Job personnel are not to pick up materials unless doing so is absolutely necessary.

  6. You are responsible for the accuracy in quantity and measurement and any damage of deliveries received at your project site.  It is imperative that you check such things as door swing, window sizes, cabinet sizes and types, lumber type and grade, etc. before you sign the delivery ticket. Delivery truck drivers are to wait for your inspection, as your signature approves the condition and count of the order.  Any discrepancy is to be noted on the delivery ticket.  You should coordinate with your manager about ordering such things as doors, windows, cabinets, and other specialty items.

  7. You must maintain a clean work site.  This is important for many reasons, chief among them are your safety and efficiency.  Furthermore, a sloppy site reflects negatively on your work and on the company. Broom-clean all project sites daily.  Properly store and/or promptly haul away all debris.  Do not smoke nor allow subcontractors to smoke on the job site.  And protect the client's property from dust and mud.

  8. You are responsible for protecting the client's property.  Never use anything that belongs to the client: tools, equipment, cleaning supplies, anything.  One exception, ask for permission—up front—to use the client's phone in the event you need to make a business or emergency call.  Secure and safely store—out of the client's way—all of your own or the company's equipment on site.  And be sure to secure and lock the project site before you leave for the day.  Never disturb a client, other people in the home, or neighbors with loud radios, loud talking, or profane or abusive language.

  9. One of your top priorities is job safety for both the client and the workers.  Ensure safe job-site conditions by monitoring both company and worker equipment for proper safety features, safe electrical cords, etc.  And inform your manager of any unsafe conditions that you are unable to control yourself.  Proper safety equipment and precautions must be used where appropriate; do not allow corners to be cut where safety is concerned.

  10.  Always try to accommodate the client, but refer any extra work or changes to your manager or the sales person before committing to doing the work.  And don't agree to anything or begin working on anything new without a change order signed by the client.

  11. Install a job sign in the most prominent place possible and ensure its good condition throughout the term of the project.  The site sign is a good form of advertising and is useful for subs and suppliers in finding the job location.

  12. Coordination for all of the elements that make up a typical project requires adherence to a tight schedule.  And as lead carpenter, it is your responsibility to develop and maintain the project schedule.  This includes:

    • To be sure your job is on or ahead of schedule.

    • To regularly monitor your progress against the flow chart. 

    • Immediately notify your manager of any delays or conditions that may affect the schedule.  You are the link to the job site and your manager needs to know when you need help.  

    • Communicate your production schedule to the client.  Sharing the schedule with the client will go a long way to lowering their stress level.

  13. Report to your manager, daily, on the progress of subcontractors, inspections, and the overall job.  Discuss materials orders, overall job scheduling, and any client concerns.  Make requests for helpers/other personnel as far in advance as possible

  14.  Follow through and follow up—never assume that once you have notified an employee, a subcontractor, the client, or even your manager that the issue will be taken care of.  It is your responsibility to tie up all loose ends on the job site.  The professional, Certified Lead Carpenter, is considerate, timely, and well organized.

  15.  Every remodeling company is structured differently.  The ratio of management to hands on work will vary.  So whether you are managing one project or five projects at one time attention to the points listed above are key to your success

  16.  Because of technology and quickly changing economic conditions it is important    that people in the remodeling industry participate in continuing education.  Being actively involved in a Professional Organization like NARI, attending trade shows and subscribing to trade magazines are some of the ways you can maintain a competitive edge.  Continuing education is part of your job description.