A construction superintendent is incredibly important in the construction process. They work closely with all teams to ensure the project is completed successfully and smoothly. From company to company and project to project the superintendent’s role is subject to change. Every company has a slightly different organizational structure, and every project needs a slightly different role. This makes construction superintendents even more valuable to a team.
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What is a Construction Superintendent
A construction superintendent‘s role and involvement on a project are dependent on the size of a company and the size of a project. From smaller company’s a construction superintendent could be doing the same work as a project manager, foreman, and even estimator; while at a larger company, they might have a stricter defined set of duties. So, in general, what is a construction superintendent?
A construction superintendent is quite often a middleman between the project owners, foremen, and others working on a project. They often relay information from project owners to the foremen and field workers and vice versa. They must make sure that everyone is satisfied with the quality of work and the overall project timeline. The must communicate effectively and professionally, read blueprints and drawings, prepare data sheets, and so much more.
What Does a Construction Superintendent Do
Construction superintendents do a lot on any given construction project. Often they’re working in hybrid roles, or their tasks are in every department. Construction superintendents can perform human resources, management, finance and more. For larger companies, they are likely to have a series of foremen under them who might handle the day to day tasks on specific sites while they compile the information for the appropriate project managers. Smaller companies might have a construction superintendent on one site every day to manage the project. It depends on the company, the size of the project, and the overall experience level. Here are some of the responsibilities construction superintendents have.
Construction superintendents do some human resources related materials. For example, they might hold interviews with prospective employees for specific sites. They also are usually responsible for new hire training, especially with regards to site safety procedures. Superintendents are usually responsible for the work schedule which is why they often are the ones to approve time off and work schedule requests.
More often then not, the construction superintendent is responsible for the workers, either directly or indirectly. On larger sites, or for larger companies, a superintendent manages the foremen on a site or multiple sites. The foremen are directly responsible for the workers; however, the construction superintendent will drive the relationship and determine what needs to be done. On smaller sites, or for smaller companies, they will directly manage the workers.
Accounting or Project Finance
Construction superintendents are instrumental during preconstruction finance. They often are heavily involved in the development of preconstruction budgets and estimation. However, this is just the beginning of their accounting or financial duties. Construction superintendents often monitor project expenses and maintain the budget. To ensure the workers are paid for everything that they do, the superintendent must keep accurate documentation on the work completed, labor and material costs, and requests.
How to Become a Construction Superintendent
Construction superintendents have a lot of responsibilities on a job site; however, it can be a very rewarding job. Every company has different requirements for their construction superintendents, but there are a couple of ways to reach that goal.
Construction superintendents may or may not need a college degree or a degree, depending on the company and their years of experience. Many companies when looking for a new superintendent will prefer for the candidate to have at least four years of hands-on experience in their trade; however, others will want more. For the other skills, like accounting, estimating, finance, safety, and more, there are classes offered through community colleges and four-year colleges to better prepare candidates. These classes teach building codes, estimation, balancing a budget, management best practices, and more. To learn more about safety, there are OSHA safety certification courses and building code courses offered through the International Code Council and others.
Nothing is a substitute for experience, and one of the requirements most companies ask for is experience. While this experience might be within a specific trade or field, they will probably want some sort of management experience. Whether this is as a foreman or assistant superintendent, most companies want to know that they are giving the position to a responsible and knowledgeable worker. And for some companies, experience is more important than education.