SUPERINTENDENT

There are many types of construction superintendents – and their job titles, job descriptions, and responsibilities vary a great deal from one company to another. This can be confusing, and there are no hard and fast rules or definitions which apply to all construction firms, all construction projects, or all supervisory positions. A general sequence of titles is indicated below, but it must be noted that many are used interchangeably, and duties will vary by firm and project(s) size. The thing to remember, therefore, is that the position of "Superintendent" involves increasing degrees of responsibility and authority – regardless of the title.

Generally speaking, a job superintendent or project superintendent is the contractor's representative at a construction site. The superintendent directs and coordinates the activities of the various trade groups onsite such as Carpenters, Operating Engineers/Equipment Operators, Iron Workers, etc. Responsibilities include making sure that the work progresses according to schedule, that material and equipment are delivered to the site on time, and that the activities of the various workers do not interfere with one another. The superintendent supervises all these activities by talking with and directing the foremen for the different trades or craft workers. Some of these foremen and their workers may be employed by the superintendent's own construction company, while others may be employed by other companies working on the job.  As stated, the responsibilities of a job and/or project superintendent are often the same. Yet, in some instances either one (especially the project superintendent) may be over the superintendent(s) in charge of a specific jobsite's activities, e.g. grading. In the same sense, a general superintendent (often found on larger jobs and/or with large firms) may have duties similar to the project superintendent mentioned above, but with an even broader range of responsibilities. A general superintendent might direct the work on a number of construction sites with those superintendents reporting to him. A project manager is another construction occupation title for a position which again may overlap and, on occasion, be used interchangeably with general, project, or job superintendent. A review of the definition for Project Manager (located within this website) might be helpful.  

EDUCATION and TRAINING
Most superintendents have many years of experience in one of more of the construction trades. Generally, contractors select their superintendents from among the foremen who demonstrate leadership and a working knowledge of their craft. While a college education is not necessarily required, it is helpful. A superintendent must have a good understanding of construction methods, scheduling, and blueprint reading, as well as a basic knowledge of communication skills. Demonstrated leadership ability is essential.

ADVANCEMENT POTENTIAL
Depending upon the size of the firm (and the job titles used by that firm), job or project superintendents may become general superintendents. Superintendents

 

 

Kurt

Sprinkler Fitter

 

Seth

Bricklayer

 

Cheryl

Sheetmetal

 

Megan

Plumber

 

Derrick

Electrician

 

Jill

Carpenter

 

Joe

Stone Mason

 

Tim

Glazier

 

Tyler

Drywall Finsher

 

Kate

Ironworker