Construction Basics: Roles and Relationships
Construction sites bustle with activity. Often, dozens or even hundreds of people are working different roles on the site. Many diverse skill sets are required. Five of the most important roles include project manager, superintendent, foreman, subcontractors, and mechanics.
Construction project managers oversee construction projects from conception to completion. They ensure that the work proceeds on schedule, on budget, and as planned. Much of the job involves coordinating with the construction team, where they relay plans, materials, and schedules. The project manager must supervise the work and correct any issues as they arise. Primarily, construction project managers keep the project running on schedule and handle on-site risk management.
Construction superintendents have the responsibility of supervising the daily operations at a construction site. They are involved in the planning of projects and continue to support the project through completion.
The exact duties of a superintendent vary based on the type of construction. In general, responsibilities include creating a timeline and scheduling work to strictly adhere to it, project audits, inspecting work and ensuring it corresponds with blueprints and client specifications, and supervising safety and compliance measures.
Construction superintendents must have the ability to set priorities correctly, manage time, and solve problems.
Construction foremen are the link between management and labor.
They have the responsibility of supervising every aspect of a project. Foremen ensure that crews start work on time, complete goals during designated work hours, and obey safety standards and regulations. They are essential to keeping operations running profitably. Foemen must also have strong interpersonal skills and the ability to supervise crews and serve as employee advocates.
Equally important, foremen communicate with project architects and outside contractors. They have familiarity with important federal, state, and regional building codes because they must help ensure all completed work meets or exceeds all requirements.
Most commercial construction sites employ many different companies, each with an essential function. The general contractor runs the project and completes much of the work itself. For example, a general contractor may handle building the overall framework of a building but hire specialty subcontractors to complete jobs requiring specific knowledge and skills.
Common types of subcontractors include HVAC, electrical, plumbing, painting, carpentry, and roofing.
Construction companies and companies that lease, rent, or repair construction equipment employ mechanics. These mechanics are responsible for maintaining and repairing mechanical, hydraulic, diesel, and electrical equipment. They also service machinery and document maintenance. Some also train new technicians.
Mechanics often travel to various sites to repair equipment. They often must come to construction sites when an important piece of machinery fails. Because they must problem solve while on a construction site, many employers require candidates to have a few years of experience in repairing and maintaining construction equipment.
Many different skill sets are needed on a commercial construction site. From the project manager to the foreman to the mechanics, everyone must work together to complete the project.
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