A construction superintendent is a high-level craft professional who manages day-to-day operations throughout the construction process. Whether they initially enter the industry through apprenticeship programs or two- or four-year degree programs, construction superintendents have gained substantial hands-on and supervisory experience in their field so they’re able to take on the multifaceted responsibilities each project entails.
Before construction even begins on a site, the superintendent oversees preliminary steps that are essential to the success of a build. This begins with land surveying, from which detailed maps of the area are created. Designers then rely on those maps when drawing up plans for the site. The construction superintendent must coordinate and facilitate communication among these professionals so each phase of the process is completed skillfully and on time.
Before the foundation is laid, the superintendent must also ensure that the site is properly prepared and coordinate installation of utilities such as water, sewer, and gas lines. Throughout the duration of the project, from start to finish, a construction superintendent maintains relationships with project owners, architects, engineers, building officials, and service providers as well as ensures that all employees, subcontractors, and other workers adhere strictly to all safety policies.
The construction superintendent oversees all stages of building. This includes laying the foundation that will provide long-term stability to the structure; putting the skeleton of wood, metal, or concrete in place; adding roofing, siding, windows and doors; installing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; adding interior walls and partitions; and installing finishes. All of these elements of the building process must be coordinated on a master schedule so the project can meet important milestones and stay on track.
In addition to the building itself, the construction superintendent is in charge of making sure landscaping and concrete work on the site is properly completed. This can include pouring driveways, sidewalks, or parking lots as well as overseeing the installation of grass, trees, shrubbery, and other landscaping elements.
After everything is in place, the superintendent’s final task is to perform testing to ensure that all building components, such as heating and cooling systems, are functioning properly. When everything checks out, the building is ready to hand over to its owner.
As the coordinator of all activity on the site during construction, the construction superintendent must be a skilled manager of people who is familiar with not just the technical aspects of the various jobs they supervise but also the process of contracting for labor and materials. Aside from work on site, the superintendent is also expected to attend corporate meetings, seminars, and trainings.
The skilled trades hold abundant opportunities for people entering the workforce and looking to embark on a career that can provide financial security for decades to come. Jobs in the skilled trades have already been among the hardest to fill in the U.S. for the past several years, and the demand for construction superintendents is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade as more experienced tradespeople retire.
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