Construction Volunteer FAQ

Guidelines for Construction Volunteers: 

  • Please arrive promptly for your volunteer shift. Consider arriving 5-10 minutes early to be checked in and get your safety gear on.  
  • We usually break for lunch at noon. We do not have additional set break times, but feel free to take a break whenever needed. 
  • Be conscious of the safety of others and yourself. 
  • Do not continue working on a task that you are unable to do or feel uncertain about. 
  • Always ask questions. 
  • Hard hats, safety vests, and protective glasses are to be worn at all times. 
  • We work year-round and work outside in the rain. We only cancel work when there is dangerous weather. 

Volunteer FAQ: 

How old do I have to be to volunteer?  
Volunteers must be 16 years old or older. Volunteers under the age of 18 must bring a youth waiver signed by a parent, with them to the construction site on their scheduled build day. An adult chaperone must accompany a youth volunteer during the day. Minor volunteers may not operate power tools or work at heights above six feet. All volunteers ages 16 or 17 must be scheduled by Habitat staff beforehand and do not register online. 

When can I volunteer for construction?  
The construction sites schedules are available here. We ask that volunteers commit to a full work day. It is important to arrive on time so that you do not miss sign-in, safety instruction, and work crew assignments. 

What if I’ve never done any construction before? 
All skill levels are welcome. We assume no skills or prior construction experience, and the construction staff will provide plenty of instruction and supervision throughout the day. 

What kind of work will we do? 
All sorts of work takes place on a Habitat construction site. Please be prepared to assist in whatever the day’s tasks may be and remember that every job helps to build homes! If you have special skills, don’t be shy! Let construction staff know upon your arrival in case you can be of unique assistance. While tasks often include using power tools or working at heights, volunteers will not be expected to do any task that makes them uncomfortable. 

Should I bring anything? 
We recommend bringing a water bottle, some sunscreen, a lunch and some snacks (unless lunch is provided by your volunteer group). If you have any personal tools you’d prefer to use over the ones we provide, feel free! For example: a hammer, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil, work gloves, safety glasses, etc. 

What should I wear? 
Please wear closed-toe shoes or boots.  Tennis shoes are the most common on the work site. Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting paint on or getting dirty.  Light clothing is recommended for hot weather.  Layering clothing is recommended for cold weather.  Please wear rain pants and a jacket when working in the rain. You will not be allowed to volunteer on site if you wear sandals or flip flops. 

What isn’t allowed on site? 
We strongly discourage you from bringing valuables, including jewelry, to our worksites. Personal power tools are not allowed. There is no smoking, drugs, or alcohol allowed on our worksites. 

How do I sign up to volunteer? 
Click here to register online. Volunteers must schedule their build days in advance. Because it’s important to us that all our volunteers have a productive and rewarding experience, we only recruit the number of volunteers that we can safely and comfortably accommodate on each day. Therefore, volunteers must reserve a spot for themselves before their build day. When we have recruited the maximum number of volunteers that we can host on a particular day, we will no longer recruit additional volunteers. 

What if I need verification for my service hours?  
We are happy to provide verification for volunteer hours once completed. Please send any requests to volunteer@habitatportlandregion.org and allow two weeks from your request to receive your letter. We cannot guarantee that we can provide your letter earlier, so please plan accordingly. If you are volunteering for community service, do not register online, first contact volunteer@habitatportlandregion.org 

Daily Breakdown 

8:15 – 8:30 AMVolunteers arrive, get checked-in and supplied with safety gear  
8:30 – 9:00 AMSite Supervisor provides a Habitat 101,  safety talk, and assigns tasks for the day
9:00 AM – NoonWork on assigned task – If you need another task or are uncomfortable working on the task you were assigned, please talk to the site supervisor. Thank you in advance for your patience.
Noon – 12:45 PMLunch—You can either bring your lunch or eat off site, but please be back promptly by 12:45pm. Lunch is provided for groups participating in our Team Builder program.
12:45 – 1:30 PMWork on assigned task.
1:30 – 1:45 PMClean up. The more care we take to clean and put tools away, the longer they last and the safer the site is!
1:45 – 3:00PMEnd-of-day debrief.

Further Questions 

Still have questions about volunteering? Please submit your question below and a Habitat representative will get back to you shortly.