Carpenter Foundations

Vancouver Career College’s Carpenter Foundations program prepares students for employment in the construction industry, working for companies involved in residential construction. Working in the classroom, lab and shop, students learn about safe work practices, building science, codes and bylaws as well as using a range of tools and shop equipment. They also develop effective reading, documentation and mathematics skills that they’ll use on the job.


Students have the opportunity to put their training to use during a 150-hour field study, gaining hands-on experience under the supervision of a carpenter. After successfully completing the technical training and in-school assessments, students are eligible to write the standardized carpenter exam through the Industry Training Authority and pursue a carpentry apprenticeship.

Job Opportunities

  • Carpenter apprenticeships

“You can have all of the information in the world, but there are always little tricks of the trade or secrets you learn when you’re working with your hands.” Evan F., Vancouver Career College Graduate

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Program Courses

Code Course description Hours
CARP100 Applying Safe Work Practices and Building Science 50
This course allocates approximately 80% of the time to theory, 20% practical. When applying building science to learn how to control the forces acting on a building, this portion is fully theory-based. Students learn to apply shop and site safety practices and personal safety practices, and use WHMIS and fire safety procedures. To be competent in this area, students will be able to describe and apply safe work practices used in a wood working shop and construction site (includes OHS Regulation and WCB Standards), apply the concepts of personal safety awareness and practices., control the stresses on the body caused by physical work, list the hazards associated with working in confined spaces, select and use fall protection as outlined by the OHS Regulation and WCB Standards), select and use personal protective equipment, choose work strategies to minimize the exposure to and risks associated with hazardous materials found in the workplace (WHMIS), explain the theory of fires and how to put them out using modern extinguishing equipment, handle and store fuels and solvent-based products and install and maintain temporary heating. In addition to a final grade for this course, students will earn certification in WHMIS and Occupational First Aid Level 1 (training provided). Students earn 20% of their final grade from applying proper personal safety practices during all shop activities, based on a demerit system. A checklist of safe practices is maintained throughout the program for all students to ensure they continue to practise and improve safe work practices. The final component of the course introduces how to control the forces acting on a building. Students will be able to describe the forces acting on a building structure and on the building envelope, as well as the construction details for wood frame seismic applications.
CARP121 Building Codes and Bylaws 25
Students learn to interpret building codes and bylaws for residential applications. Students will be able to describe building codes and how to use them to obtain information and describe the use of municipal permits, the purpose of inspections, and how to use the building code. The learner will be given a building plan to design a floor system or deck, including beams and joists.
CARP171 Building Floors and Support Systems 50
This course allocates approximately 60% of its time to theory, 40% to practical. Students will be able to describe the construction of floors and support systems, as well as building them. Learning tasks include: installing sill plates, building columns, beams, and pony walls, installing floor joists, bridging, and floor sheathing and calculating quantities of floor framing materials. By the end of this course, students will layout and build a floor system with joist layouts reflecting the needs of services, proper sequencing of joists around openings, meeting code and sheathing requirements, and being dimensionally accurate.
CARP173 Building Gable Roofs and Ceiling Joists 50
This course allocates approximately 60% of its time to theory, 40% to practical. Students learn to build gable roofs with ceiling joists and will be competent in describing the construction of ceilings and gable roofs, framing ceilings and gable roofs, and erecting truss roofs. Learners will be given plans to build a gable roof with ceiling joists. Students are assessed on their use of proper calculation, layout and spacing of rafters, joists, gable end studs, and outriggers, that are dimensionally accurate, straight, and square with accurate cuts.
CARP174 Building Hip Roofs 25
This course allocates approximately 60% of its time to theory, 40% to practical. Students will learn to describe and build hip roofs, including: describing the construction methods for a hip roof, laying out hip and jack rafters, building a hip roof, laying out cuts for roof sheathing and calculating quantities of ceiling and roof framing materials. The workshop project will be building a hip roof to demonstrate proper calculation, layout, and spacing of rafters; proper layout for sheathing cuts; dimensionally accurate, straight and square measures, and accuracy of cuts.
CARP150 Building Location Layouts 25
This course is designed with 50% theory and practical time. Students learn to describe the layout of residential buildings, excavation and grading procedures, and layout residential buildings. The learner will set up batter boards for a foundation project to assess the layout is square and parallel, dimensionally correct, and proper construction procedures are used.
CARP175 Building Straight Stairs 25
This course allocates approximately 60% of its time to theory, 40% to practical. Students learn to describe the construction of, and building of straight stairs and balustrades. Students will learn to describe stairs; describe the building code requirements for stairs and balustrades; calculate stair dimensions; build stairs; and calculate quantities of materials. The student, given work space, total rise, and tools and materials, will be asked to plan and build straight stairs with a handrail using cut-out stringers. The project is assessed on meeting the BC Building Code requirements; proper calculations, layouts, and cuts; dimensionally accurate, straight, square, and plumb measurements; and workmanship.
CARP172 Building Walls and Partitions 50
This course allocates approximately 60% of its time to theory, 40% to practical. Students will be able to describe the construction of, and build, woof frame walls. Tasks include building exterior and interior walls and calculating quantities of wall framing materials The learner will be given a plan to build walls and partitions demonstrating proper stud layout, framing that reflects needs of services, proper framing around openings, meeting code and sheathing requirements, and being dimensionally accurate, square, plumb and level.
CESE Career & Employment Strategies 25
Students will have the opportunity to review and discuss the final practicum placement. Simulated practice may be given in panel interviews as well as practice scenarios for job interviews. Students will also prepare a professional resume and learn how to write effective cover letters. Students will have use of a job search lab which has unlimited Internet access, a job search resource library and a fax machine and phone for contacting prospective employers. Students will obtain the necessary information required to register in the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker registry.
CARP120 Construction Drawings 50
Students learn to use construction drawings and specifications by learning to interpret specific views of a given set of residential construction drawings, sketch pictorial and orthographic views, use drawing instruments to create working drawings and extract information from a set of construction drawings. Students will be given an isometric drawing and be able to redraw it in orthographic views, and vice versa, to assess the student’s proper sketching techniques.
CARP122 Documentation and Organization Skills 25
The course allocates 50% of the time to both theory and practical. Students learn to use manufacturer and supplier documentation to interpret engineered floor system documentation, interpret truss drawings and documentation and use tool manufacturers instructions. The learner will be given suppliers documentation to identify construction details and complete an accurate analysis of the details.
CARP199 Field Study 150
This module is for course credits but has no grade. Students will be placed in actual work places related to their field of study and will be expected to act as a regular employee for the five weeks in order to gain the valuable “real world” experience that so many employers seek. Students are encouraged to find their own work experience placement; however, once placed, continuation in that placement is mandatory. Students must successfully complete all of their courses prior to their field study.
CARP160 Footing and Wall Formwork 75
This course is designed with 50% theory and practical time. Students will be able to describe and construct residential footing and wall forms. Learning tasks include: construct footing forms, place anchor bolts and reinforcing steel, describe wall forms, construct wall forms, construct concrete details, calculate materials for footing and wall forms, calculate the volume of concrete in residential foundations. The learner will be given a foundation plan including doorbucks, blockouts, and keyways, to build footings and wall forms using Easy-Strip forms. Students will be assessed on proper use of forms and hardware, plumb and level, dimensionally accurate, straight and square, and proper construction of doorbucks, blockouts, and keyways.
CARP190 Program Review and Final Exam Preparation 25
This course focuses on a review of all coursework done reinforcing the topics previously taught. It also allows students to practise on exam type questions in preparation for the ITA certification exam. The course also prepares students for their field study.
SSSE Student Success Strategies 25
Students will gain a better understanding of themselves through an exploration of their personal attributes, transferable skills and learning styles. This course will introduce techniques for time, conflict, and stress management and develop interpersonal communication skills. Fundamental study and motivation skills will be covered, preparing students to excel in their program of choice.
TRES099 Trades Essentials Skills Labs 0
At the beginning of the Carpenter Foundations program, students are provided information to access and use the Essential Skills platform on the Industry Training Authority (ITA) web site. This enables students to assess their skill levels, and to what complexity, in numeracy, reading, and document use related to industrial trades. Students are then self-directed with the college’s facilitation, to continue working and studying the materials within the Essential Skills program to build and reinforce these skills, along with practical assignments provided as a lab package. No hours are assigned to this ‘lab’; however, students are encouraged to spend any available time every week to demonstrate continuous improvement and complete the lab package before the end of their program. There is mark allocated to this lab, but completion of the assignments is required to graduate.
TRES130 Trades Mathematics 75
This course builds on the Essential Skills lab assignment numeracy section with more advanced subjects and reinforcement. Topics include: review and reinforcement of whole number operations, fractions, decimals, percentages, and mixed operations, data analysis basics: totals, sub-totals, averages, rates, and other basic summary measures, geometry (lines/line segments, coordinates of a plane, angles, and parallelism), plane figures, solids (volumes and analysing complex volumes into constituent regular solids), advanced geometry tasks, measurement of distances, weights, liquid volumes, temperatures, angles; use SI and Imperial measurement units, algebra: constructing and solving equations and using common formulas and trigonometry (calculating known and unknown angles, and using trigonometry to set up and solve problems).
CARP130 Using Hand Tools in Carpentry 50
This course devotes 60% of hours to theory and 40% practical. Students become familiar and confident using and maintaining common hand tools - safely. Students need to be able to describe the use of hand tools, use and maintain measuring and layout tools, use and maintain cutting, boring, and alignment tools and use and maintain fastening tools. The learner will use math concepts to layout and build a hand tool project to show their use of accurate calculations, layouts and cuts, and proper use of hand tools.
CARP140 Using Levelling Instruments 25
This course is designed with 50% theory and practical time. Students will be able to use optical levels for residential applications and maintain optical levels. Students learn to describe types of optical levels, describe parts of a level, use levelling rods and measuring chains and tapes, care for survey equipment, identify common errors that contribute to incorrect measurements, use levelling instruments, record elevations using levelling instruments and use electronic and laser levels. Students will complete a survey circuit identifying elevations at various locations to demonstrate their accuracy of rod readings, proper processes for field book readings, and the proper set up of instruments.
CARP131 Using Portable Power Tools in Carpentry 50
This course allocates time approximately 60% theory, 40% practical. Students learn to use portable power tools and will be able to describe the safe use of portable power tools, use, adjust, and maintain portable power tools such as circular and mitre saws, electric drills and screw guns, portable pneumatic tools, bench grinders, sabre saws and reciprocating saws, and battery-powered tools, describe the use of powder-actuated tools, use and maintain powder-actuated tools and describe the safe use, adjustment, and maintenance of chain saws. The learner will use math concepts to layout and build a power tool project by using accurate calculations, layout, and cuts, and properly using power tools.
CARP132 Using Shop Equipment in Carpentry 25
This is a classroom course (theory) with practical applications learned in the framing and formwork courses later in the program. Students will learn to be able to describe the use of a table saw, use, adjust, and maintain a table saw, describe the use of a radial-arm saw and use, adjust, and maintain a radial-arm saw. Workshop demonstrations and practice assignments will be given to ensure students’ understanding of the use of the shop equipment safely.
CARP170 Wood Frame Systems and Materials 25
Students learn to be competent in selecting wood frame systems and materials by being able to describe framing systems, select standard sizes, species, and grades of wood for framing, select fasteners and hardware for wood framing, handle and store framing materials and calculate quantities of materials for framing.
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