How to become a Vehicle Body Builder

Vehicle body builders manufacture purpose-built bodies to fit chassis produced by other manufacturers. They also modify and repair vehicle bodies. They may work on buses, coaches, caravans, armoured vans, tray and van bodies, mobile workshops, semi-trailers, refrigerated vans, horse floats, fire trucks and special police vehicles.

Personal requirements of a Vehicle Body Builder

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Good hand–eye coordination
  • An eye for detail
  • Aptitude for technical activities
  • Interested in design and fabrication using metals and other products

Education & Training for a Vehicle Body Builder

To become a vehicle body builder you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in Automotive Body Repair Technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Vehicle Body Builder

Vehicle body builders may perform the following tasks:

  • manufacture framework sections in metal, wood, fibreglass and other materials by working from engineering drawings, and by using shaping machinery and all types of welding and cutting equipment
  • form complete frameworks by welding or bolting sections to the vehicle’s structure
  • make the panels used to cover the framework by cutting, shaping and attaching panels of sheetmetal, aluminium, stainless steel or reinforced plastic
  • fit axles, suspensions and brakes
  • design and fit mechanised equipment, such as winches and hoists, to various types of vehicle chassis
  • install door handles, locks and hinges
  • design and carry out chassis alterations in consultation with engineers, or alter assembly line vehicles to special requirements.

Working conditions for a Vehicle Body Builder

As most vehicle body builders construct frames from metals, workshops can be noisy at times. Protective clothing and equipment must be worn when required.

Employment Opportunities for a Vehicle Body Builder

Vehicle body builders are employed primarily in the transport equipment industries, including bus and rail transport. A few are employed by firms that perform repair work. Some are self-employed. Because of the broad range of skills required, vehicle body builders can often transfer to related trade occupations that involve metal fabrication, hydraulics, mechanical fitting, sheet metal work or finishing. In large organisations, vehicle body builders occasionally work as technical officers or technicians, or in sales.

Additional Information
Workers from related trades such as boilermaking, welding and sheet metal work may also enter the occupation.
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