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Steel Fixer

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

Steel Fixer

The Work

As a steel fixer you would fit and secure the steel bars and mesh used to make reinforcements for concrete buildings and structures.

You would work on various developments including commercial and industrial units, multi-storey housing and civil engineering projects like roadworks, tunnels and bridges. On most jobs, your tasks would include:

  • setting out the work area, following engineering plans
  • using hand and power tools to cut and bend bars or mesh
  • tying rebar (reinforcement bars) together with wire, clips or welds to build up cages or sections
  • fitting spacers and ‘chairs’ (supports)
  • fixing the formwork and shuttering used to hold setting concrete in place
  • joining cages and sections
  • fixing steel to concrete bases
  • installing beams and pre-cast slabs.

You may use hydraulic jacks and tensioning equipment to reinforce the steel before and after fixing it.

You would work closely with engineering designers, steel erectors and other construction tradespeople.

Hours and Environment

You would usually work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime at weekends may be necessary to meet deadlines.

Most of your work would be outdoors and at heights, and the job can be physically demanding. Your employer would usually provide you with personal safety equipment.

Skills and Interests

  • a good head for heights
  • a sense of balance
  • practical skills for using tools
  • a good level of fitness
  • good teamworking skills
  • the ability to follow engineering instructions and diagrams accurately
  • an understanding of health and safety issues.


Although there are no set entry qualifications, it would be useful when looking for work if you have GCSEs (grades A-E) in maths, English, science and technology. Equivalent work-based qualifications in construction or engineering may also be acceptable to employers.

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme with a building or engineering company. 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

You may need a driving licence for travelling between jobs.

Contact ConstructionSkills or the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) for more details about careers in steel fixing.


You would do most of your training on the job. There are also various NVQ qualifications you could work towards, including:

  • NVQ in Steelfixing Occupations Level 2
  • NVQ in Constructing Capital Plant Steel Structures (Erecting) Level 3
  • NVQ in Constructional Steelwork Site Operations Level 2 (contains options in Erecting Structural Steelwork and Installing Metal Floor Decking).

The NVQs cover:

  • cutting and shaping steel
  • installing in-situ and/or prefabricated steel
  • using power tools
  • operating powered access equipment (mobile platforms and cherry pickers)
  • safe working practices.

A Powered Access Licence (PAL) could be useful for this kind of work. Contractors recognise it as proof that you can operate mobile elevated work platforms on site. For more information about PALs and details of training providers, see the International Powered Access Federation’s (IPAF) website.

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Most construction and engineering companies now insist that you have a CSCS card or be part of a related scheme 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 and ECITB for further details.


You would find most job opportunities with engineering construction companies and steel fixing or steel erecting firms. Vacancies are advertised in the local press, through Jobcentre Plus offices, on company websites and Directgov (Jobseekers page).

As an experienced steel fixer, you could progress to supervisory roles, or set up your own business.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries can be between £12,000 and £16,000 a year.
  • Experienced steel fixers can earn between £17,000 and £26,000.
  • Fixers with supervisory duties can earn up to £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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