Job type

Construction plant operator

£19k - £35k

Typical salary

48 – 50

Hours per week

Construction plant operators work with machinery and equipment used on building sites.

More info

  • Work with machinery and equipment used on building sites
  • Requires physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity, to be thorough and pay attention to detail and the ability to work on your own
  • Conditions may be noisy and dirty, and involve working outdoors or at height

Depending on your job as a construction plant operator, you'll work with the machinery and equipment used on major civil engineering projects, construction and house building sites, roadworks, demolition sites, quarries and railways.


  • Using machines like 180 and 360 degree excavators, earth moving bulldozers and dump trucks
  • Loading shovels, mobile and crawler cranes, tower cranes, compactors used for levelling out work areas
  • Piling rigs and concrete pumps
  • Carrying out daily safety checks on the machine you are using
  • Changing buckets and other attachments

You could also use forklifts to unload and move materials around the site.

If you operate a crane, you'll work with a slinger signaller who'll attach the loads and direct you by signals or radio.


Overtime and bonus payments may increase your salary. Most of your work will be outdoors, and conditions may be noisy and dirty. You may work at height when operating equipment like tower cranes or larger excavators. You'll travel between jobs, and some contracts may involve overnight stays. 

You'll need

This role requires physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity, to be thorough and pay attention to detail and the ability to work on your own.

There are no set requirements for this role, but some employers may ask for GCSEs in subjects like maths, English and design and technology.

Previous experience in industry or of operating other types of machines may help, as will a basic knowledge of vehicle mechanics.

You'll need a good level of fitness for climbing in and out of cabs.

You could find work as a general construction labourer to get some on-site experience. Once you're working, your employer may offer you training in plant operation.

You could also get into this job through a plant operator or lifting technician intermediate apprenticeship.

Courses that would teach you some of the skills needed for this work could be a level 2 Certificate in Construction Plant Operations and level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment.


With experience, you could move into construction management, site supervision, estimating, lift planning and supervision. You could become a plant or crane supervisor, or a plant coordinator selecting the machinery needed for each new job and assessing new equipment. You could also move into selling plant equipment.