Workplace Spanish for Construction Projects
If you love volunteering and helping your neighbors, at some point or another you’ll probably end up working in construction! Yes, even those of you who can’t hammer straight can help with painting and organizing! Supportive projects, like Habitat for Humanity, operate all across the United States and work tirelessly to ensure every family has a home. If you are thinking about volunteering for that type of organization, you need to prepare to work with or for Spanish-speaking people! As the number of Spanish speakers grows in the U.S., it is always a good idea to plan ahead with go-to workplace Spanish words and phrases for any situation. Are you thinking of going abroad to help build some houses? In that case, knowing workplace Spanish vocabulary for construction is even more important!
Let’s get ready to build some houses! ¡Preparémonos para construir casas!
Workplace Spanish for Construction: Vocabulary
Construction vocabulary is quite extensive, especially if you consider all the specialties (like metalwork, plumbing, and insulation) that building a house involves. Luckily, we’ve narrowed it down to a list of general tools, objects, and verbs that you are likely to use on a construction site. Don’t forget to practice saying the words out loud with our pronunciation guide!
|Cement blocks||Los bloques de cemento||blohks day say-mayn-toh|
|Floor (to walk on and level of a building)||El piso||pee-soh|
|Floor (levels of a house)||El nivel||nee-behl|
|Floor plan||El plano||plahn-oh|
|Level (tool)||El nivel||nee-behl|
|Plaster||El repello/yeso||Ray-pay-yoh / yay-soh|
|Plumbing||La fontanería/plomería||fohn-tahn-air-ee-ah / ploh-mair-ee-ah|
|Saw (for metal)||La cierra||syayr-rah|
|Saw (for wood)||El serrucho||sair-roo-choh|
|Sheet metal||La lámina||lah-meen-ah|
|To plaster||repellar/enyesar||Ray-pay-yahr / ain-yay-sahr|
|Construction worker||El albañil||ahl-bahn-yeel|
A couple of words in this chart may seem incorrect. For example, why does “foundation” translate as cimientos and not fundación? Well, in English “foundation” means multiple things, such as a children’s foundation, makeup foundation, or construction foundation. Conversely, Spanish uses distinct words to differentiate among those different ideas, as in la fundación, la base, and los cimientos. Note that the word in Spanish is always plural, while in English it is singular.
Another interesting difference that the tool “nail” is clavo in Spanish. Don’t get confused with uña, which means fingernail! Finally, look at how you say “floor plan” in Spanish. It is just plano – you don’t have to add “floor.” Make sure you say plano and not plan, though. El plan refers to future plans, not a construction plan!
Areas of the House
If you’re looking at a plano, you need to understand the different parts of the house in Spanish. Make sure to memorize these so you can build accordingly!
|Living room||La sala||sah-lah|
|Dining room||El comedor||koh-may-dohr|
|Washing area||La pila (refers to the actual sink for washing)||pee-lah|
While the words “room” and “bedroom” are distinct in English, la habitación and el cuarto can both mean “bedroom.” Depending on where you travel, you may also hear many other words for “bedroom”: el dormitorio, la recámara, and la alcoba. If you are unsure of whether someone is referring to a bedroom or a general room, just clarify by asking, ¿Es una habitación o un cuarto general?
In the United States, houses generally have a laundry room or a laundry space. However, in Latin America, the washing area is often open-air. In countries like Guatemala, they use a large sink called la pila, while in other countries there are spaces indoors called el lavadero.
Workplace Spanish for Construction: Useful Phrases
Are you ready to put these words to use? ¡Practiquemos! Below are some common phrases, commands, and questions that you may use or hear while working on a construction site.
- Put that over there. — Pon eso allá.
- Bring me that. — Tráeme eso.
- I need the… — Necesito el/la…
- Help me with this, please. — Ayúdame con esto, por favor.
- Do you need help? —¿Necesitas ayuda?
- Are you okay? — ¿Estás bien?
- We’re going to dig the foundation first. — Vamos a hacer los cimientos primero.
- How many rooms will the house have? — ¿Cuántos cuartos tendrá la casa?
- How many floors will the house have? — ¿Cuántos pisos tendrá la casa? / ¿De cuántos niveles será la casa?
- Where is the …? — ¿Dónde está el/la…?
- We need to put the walls up. Tenemos que levantar las paredes.
- Today we are pouring the floor. Hoy estamos echando el piso.
- Today we are putting the roof on. Hoy estamos colocando el techo.
- I need you to help me/hold this/carry that. Necesito que tú me
ayudes/sostengas esto/cargues eso.
- Pour the cement here. Echa el cemento aquí.
- Hammar this. Martilla esto.
- The outlets go there. Los tomacorrientes van allí.
- That is for the plumbing. Eso es para la fontanería.
- Do you need a mask/gloves? Necesitas una mascarilla/guantes?
- This is the doorframe. Este es el marco de la puerta.
- Hold this for me, please. Sostén esto para mi, por favor.
- Help me connect these pieces of wood. Ayúdame a juntar estos pedazos de
- Is this straight? ¿Está a nivel?
- We need to plaster the walls. Hay que repellar.
- We’re going to paint the walls white/yellow/blue. Vamos a pintar las paredes
- Don’t touch that! ¡No toques eso!
- Fresh paint Pintura fresca
- Be careful! ¡Ten cuidado!
- Do you need water? ¿Necesitas agua?
- First aid Primeros auxilios
All of the commands and questions above are in the tú form, or the informal way of saying “you” in Spanish. If you are new to the language, don’t worry about the other forms of “you” while practicing your workplace Spanish. However, if you understand the differences between the pronouns (or, learn more about them), you may want to refer to the head workers with usted. Learn how to conjugate verbs and form commands in the usted form in our blog post!
As always, if you have any questions or would like to practice with someone before you need to use this vocabulary, try a free Spanish class with us! All of our teachers are native Spanish speakers, and they can help with your pronunciation, grammar, and cultural studies. Learn more about how our classes work here. Happy house-building!
Would you like more workplace Spanish? Check these out!
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- Why Bankers Should Learn Spanish
- Spanish Vocabulary in the Workplace
- Top 5 Professions Utilizing Spanish
- Building Rapport with Total Strangers in Spanish
- Tips for Using Your Spanish!
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