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A construction foreman is the lead position on a specific project in the construction industry. The foreman is responsible for a number of different elements of both project management and employee relations for each job. The background education for a construction foreman is typically a diploma in construction or project management. A bachelor’s in engineering is beneficial but not required.
A foreman usually has several years of experience in construction positions with increasing levels of responsibility. He or she is usually required to supervise many workers with specialized trades. Many foremen may also have experience in a specialized trade area to aid them in managing the other construction team members.
Additionally, construction foremen can also pursue education in building services and project management in lieu of some of the hands-on experience. There is little consensus about which career path is more beneficial on the job as each brings it own strengths to the position. Pursuing an education in building services provides a formalized management system, while hands-on experience provides soft-skills and specific expertise on the job.
Due to the nature of the tightly regulated construction industry in many countries, a construction foreman may have many requirements beyond his or her specialized trade. Regulations are typically put in place for insurance purposes required by property developers. It is the responsibility of the construction foreman to ensure all workers are adhering to these guidelines.
Being a construction foreman requires that the person has a number of specific personal skills in order to be successful. A part of these responsibilities may include the actual hiring of workers to build a cohesive team, which can be a determining factor for success in the completion of a project. Clear and concise communication skills are important skills for construction foremen as they are responsible for delegation of work and oversight of the project. The foreman is a key person for providing moral support and employee motivation among the workers.
A key factor of the responsibilities of a construction foreman is ensuring all projects are completed on time. The foreman is generally responsible for scheduling and project management. Depending on the project, a construction foreman may have to sacrifice personal time to the project, including long hours that may extend into evenings and weekends. As the construction foreman is responsible for employee readiness and scheduling, and delays in completion can incur major costs for the developer/client and reflect poorly on the foreman.