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Dry Liner

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Dry Liner

The Work

Dry liners build the internal walls in houses, offices and shops, using plasterboard panels. They might also install removable wall partitions, suspended ceilings and raised flooring.

As a dry liner, your work would involve a ‘fixing' stage, followed by a ’finishing' stage.

At the 'fixing’ stage, you would:

  • measure and cut plasterboard to the right sizes and angles
  • fix the panels to timber or metal frames (or ceiling joists) using special studs
  • cut panels to fit around doorways and create openings for windows.

You would then ‘finish’ the walls by:

  • sealing joints using filler or adhesive
  • taping over the seal either by hand or with a taping machine
  • applying a thin layer of plaster over the tape (skimming)
  • sanding down the area ready for painting and decorating.

Dry lining methods are used to hide wiring or pipes, improve a room’s acoustics, provide a cavity space for insulation or to smooth out uneven walls during renovation work. This type of job could be combined with traditional plastering or relocatable partitioning work, for example sectioning off areas in open-plan offices.

Hours and Environment

You would normally work up to 40 hours a week. You may have to work evenings, nights or weekends on commercial contracts, to limit disruption to the client’s business.

The work could be physically demanding, as you would have to lift and move panels into place. You would work from ladders or a small scaffold when fitting a ceiling.

Skills and Interests

  • good practical skills
  • reasonable fitness levels
  • good maths skills for working out surface areas and angles
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • the ability to read technical diagrams
  • an understanding of Building Regulations
  • the ability to work in a small team and alone
  • a safety conscious approach to work.


There are no set entry requirements for becoming a dry liner. You could start by joining a company as a dry liner’s 'mate'. Once working, your employer may then be willing to give you further training. Employers may test you on your maths skills and practical ability.

You may be able to get into this career by completing a dry lining or plastering Apprenticeship. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

Alternatively, you could take a college course to build up your skills before looking for work. Colleges may ask you to sit a basic English and maths test as part of their selection process. Relevant courses include:

  • City & Guilds (6217) Certificate in Basic Construction Skills: Plastering
  • CSkills Awards Level 2 Diploma in Interior Systems
  • Certificate/Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.

As the job involves travel from site to site, you may need a driving licence.

You can find more information on careers and qualifications on the ConstructionSkills website. Visit the Know Your Place website to find out more about the campaign to promote construction as a career choice for women.


You would usually be trained by a more experienced member of staff. Your employer may encourage you to complete NVQ Level 2 in Interior Systems. You could also improve your skills by working towards NVQ levels 2 and 3 in Plastering (Solid), which includes dry lining methods.

If you have responsibility for overseeing projects, you could take the NVQ in Construction Site Supervision at Level 3, or the CIOB Certificate in Site Supervisory Studies at Level 3.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors now insist that you have a CSCS card to work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and competence. To get your card you must:

  • pass a health and safety assessment
  • have an NVQ or equivalent qualification.

If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use On-Site Assessment and Training (OSAT) or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) to get your NVQ and card. Contact CSCS or SkillsDirect for further details.



Typical employers include house builders, and office and shopfitting companies. Jobs are advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus, Directgov (Jobseekers page) or by contacting companies directly – see the Federation of Plastering and Drywall Contractors website for a list of dry lining contractors.

With experience, you could become a site supervisor, estimator or dry lining quantity surveyor. You could also set up your own dry lining business.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be around £15,000 a year.
  • Experienced staff can earn between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


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