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What Does a Building Supervisor Do?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A building supervisor is responsible for four areas: physical maintenance, security, tenant management and any construction or renovation projects. The level of responsibility is quite varied, depending on the size of the building, property management company complexity and the age of the facility. For example, a building supervisor for a 50-year-old school building has significantly more responsibilities than the supervisor of a four-level residential building.

The physical maintenance of the building structure is the primary focus of the building supervisor's day. He or she usually has a checklist or manual that describes in detail which areas of the building are to be inspected throughout the year. During these inspections, the supervisor is required to document any issues and prioritize them in order of magnitude and risk.

Repairs of minor issues are the responsibility of the supervisor. Outside contractors or skilled trade professional are called only when the issue cannot be resolved by the supervisor. This type of work provides a great deal of variety and opportunity to use a wide range of skills.

The overall security of the building is the responsibility of the property management company, which typically hires a security company to install alarms and cameras. However, basic security that includes ensuring that door locks work properly, replacing broken windows promptly, changing the locks when tenants lose their keys and physically walking around the building perimeter are all part of security and are completed by the building supervisor.

Tenant management includes responding to emergency service calls, performing minor repairs and maintenance, annual inspection of the units and identification of any issues that require repair or replacement. As the first contact for tenants, the supervisor must have excellent communication skills. A commitment to customer service also is a necessary quality for the supervisor to have.

Small construction or renovations projects usually are coordinated by the building supervisor. He or she is responsible for keeping track of everyone accessing the building to complete the work. Inspecting the site at the start and end of each day to check for damage, vandalism or other issues typically is the extent of his or her responsibility in this type of project.

There are no formal post-secondary programs that provide training specifically tailored to a building supervisor. Instead, most candidates for this type of position have completed some training in the skilled trades, such as carpentry or mechanical technician. He or she might also have completed a course in health and safety or building maintenance, depending on the type of building.

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Discussion Comments
By anon317220 — On Feb 01, 2013

A building supervisor should uphold and insist that the relevant specification is implemented.

By JaneAir — On Sep 20, 2011

@KaBoom - I've never lived in a building with a building supervisor either! However, I have seen jobs advertised around my area for building supervisors in office buildings and schools. So maybe it is a regional thing!

The only other thing I can think of is that perhaps where we live, building supervisors, well, supervise. Maybe they do everything else this article has mentioned besides tenant repairs.

By KaBoom — On Sep 19, 2011

I really think the title of building supervisor is a regional thing. Where I live, I have the management office and the maintenance staff. As far as I know, we don't have anyone called the "building supervisor."

However, from what I gather from friends and televisions, most apartment buildings in New York City have a "super." I assume this is short for building supervisor. From what my friends says, the "super" performs duties exactly like this article describes.

By popcorn — On Sep 19, 2011

@Mae82 - I have seen some positions with a similar building maintenance supervisor job description in our local newspaper. My father is getting up there in age and would like to keep working, but just not at his career. He is quite the handyman and is good with people, so I am thinking about suggesting that he become a building supervisor.

Plus, being on his own now, I think that the building supervisor job would let him be surrounded by others, while still keeping some of his privacy intact. I worry about him being in his big house all by himself. Perhaps it is time he sold the house and tried his hand at apartment building management.

By Mae82 — On Sep 19, 2011

Becoming a building supervisor at an apartment complex is an excellent job choice for those that are retired, fit and looking for a job with a lot of responsibility.

My uncle has been doing various building supervisor jobs since he was in his late 50s and really likes the work. He works a lot on the building maintenance and makes sure that tenant complaints are handled efficiently. On matters of rent, he works as a bit of an accounting supervisor, making sure everyone is up to date with their payments.

The biggest perk of the job besides the supervisor salary is that he gets to live in the apartment building for free.

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