What are the age limits to volunteer on a Habitat build site?
Students must be at least 16 years of age or older to build with us. If a group of students wants to attend, we require that for every five students between the ages of 16 and 18, there must be one adult (over the age of 21) to supervise.
I don’t want to build but still want to help. What can I do?
That’s fine! We also need people who can assist as site hosts and other administration and food service duties, so come join us! There are also opportunities to help with site cleanup and tool management.
Do I need to have construction experience?
Absolutely not! Our volunteers all have different backgrounds and various levels of experience but share a common goal of wanting to make a difference in their community. No experience necessary! We provide instruction and a team of skilled leaders to show you want needs to be done.
Be aware, however, that some stages of construction are contracted out to skilled professionals because the job requires special tools, certifications or equipment, and/or they may pose a heightened safety risk to volunteers. Roofing is one example where we would hire contractors, because safety is always a top priority on any Habitat construction site.
How will I know what to do?
Habitat homes are built almost entirely by volunteers, under the direction of an experienced staff Site Supervisor and the Carpenter’s Assistant. They direct the workflow and assign volunteers who will work together, often under the direction of a Team Leader. When possible, the tasks each week will be listed on the Volunteer Matrix calendar, so that you can choose what type of work you want to help with. Or, just take a chance and see what cool skill you might learn on any given day!
What about Personal Protective Equipment and my safety?
Site safety is always our top priority. Before you may volunteer on a Habitat construction site, you will be required to watch our Safety Video when you complete your online registration. Then, when you arrive onsite on your build day, you sign in and then be issued Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that is suited to the job that will be done that day.
Before anyone sets foot on the construction site they are issued with appropriate PPE and job-specific safety briefings are conducted at the start of each shift.
There is an area marked a ‘No Go Zone’, where PPE is mandatory for everyone, staff, volunteers and visitors alike!
Even if you are just going to look, you need to wear a hard hat, a high vis vest, and steel-toed footwear in the No Go Zone.
With regard to what to wear and/or bring:
- Long pants are a must. No shorts. No exceptions.
- Hardhats and High-Vis Vests: We have lots of those, but if you may be more comfortable wearing your own, you are welcome to bring them.
- Boots: If possible, we ask that you wear your own steel-toed footwear. We do have some loaner boots available if you do not own safety boots or are not able to borrow any. Note that your boots must have the green ‘CSA’ logo on them.
- Eye protection: We have safety glasses you may borrowand we do our best to accommodate people who wear prescription glasses, however, many people are more comfortable wearing their own safety glasses. They are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.
- Gloves: We have lots of loaner gloves available but feel free to bring your own work gloves.
- Ear and respiratory protection: We’ve got that covered! We have disposable single-use earplugs and dust masks.
Questions? Don’t be afraid to ask. When it comes to safety, there is no such thing as a silly question!
What kind of shoes should I wear?
CSA-approved, industrial steel-toed footwear is mandatory on our construction sites. We do have some loaner boots available for you to borrow. If, however, you have your own boots or are able to borrow some from a friend, that is always recommended.
If you don’t have your own boots to wear, be sure to wear a thick sock, so you can try on a loaner pair.
If you plan to volunteer a lot, it is best to buy your own boots. Please ask us for a 10% discount coupon to buy boots at Mark’s Work Wearhouse.
Do I bring my lunch?
• All volunteers get free coffee and morning snacks, as well as lunch, which is usually donated by local faith groups or restaurants. Lunch is generally soup and sandwiches.
• If you have special dietary restrictions, we do ask that you bring your own lunch.
• Help us save our planet (and money) and please bring your own water bottles and reusable coffee cups.
Where should I park?
1330 Lake Trail Road, Courtenay:
- Be aware that parking on Lake Trail Road is limited.
- If you do not see space on Lake Trail Road, kindly park on Edgett Rd or Willemar Avenue and walk to the site.
- The spaces right in front of the build site should be left open for delivery vehicles, etc.
- Kindly respect the school and local business parking areas and do not block driveways.
- Only Habitat staff may park on the site.
- When the school is closed in July & August, we may use their parking lot and also park across the street on Lake Trail Road.
477 Hilchey Road, Campbell River:
- There is plenty of street parking on both sides of the road. Please be mindful that you do not block our neighbours’ driveways!
Prefabrication Shop on Tamarac Street:
- There are spaces in the parking lot.
- Please do not park in the ReStore’s parking lot.
Still have questions?
Don’t be shy! Contact us and we will be happy to answer them for you:
Build Volunteer Coordinator
Build Volunteer Coordinator
Or call Terri Perrin, Community Engagement Manager, at 1-250-218-4952 Email: Terri@HabitatNorthIsland.com