A painter & decorator is responsible for preparing a surface and applying a range of finishes to it in response to the particular specifications of a job, paying close attention to detail to create a quality end product. The specific role of the painter & decorator is to prepare and decorate a particular surface in accordance with the wishes of the client. This will involve working on a wide variety of surfaces, including metal, wood, plaster and stone, and incorporating numerous materials, such as paint, varnish and wallpaper. The jobs involved depend upon the area that the painter & decorator works in. This can range from the industrial, specially-trained worker supplying skills for a large company, to the part-time, self-employed worker complementing a pension. A lot of the roles of the painter & decorator will come somewhere in between. If working for a larger construction firm, work can include more industrial-scale jobs, such as working as part of a team to prepare and paint the interior of a building or office. This will often involve specialist industrial techniques and larger equipment. If self-employed, this will normally include working independently on smaller jobs such as decorating private houses, schools, shops and other local buildings.
In 1894, a national association formed, recreating itself in 1918 as the National Federation of Master Painters and Decorators of England and Wales, then changing its name once again to the British Decorators Association before merging, in 2002, with the Painting & Decorating Federation to form the Painting & Decorating Association. The Construction Industry Joint Council, a body formed of both unions and business organizations, today has responsibility for the setting of pay levels.