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The Successful Construction Supervisor and foreman

 The Successful Construction Supervisor and foreman

The Successful Construction Supervisor and foreman


Supervisors and foremen are at the coal face of every construction project – the critical link in the production process. They literally make things happen. In many cases they are the unsung heroes. Supervisors and foremen usually have years of experience on the tools. They’ve worked hard to get to where they are. Eventually they’re given a crew and section of work to manage.

They are now the foreman or supervisor. This title comes with responsibilities – but often nobody has explained exactly what these responsibilities are. The biggest responsibility is for people’s lives – their crew, others on the project, including subcontractors, the general public around the project site, and the people that will use the facility once it’s completed. A serious accident and injury could lead to grave consequences for the supervisor or foreman if their negligence was the cause of the accident – possibly a monetary fine, or in serious cases even time in prison. Yet, nobody has explained this. A death or serious injury will be on the supervisor’s conscience for life! The supervisor could even be seriously injured if they engage in unsafe practises.

Supervisors and foreman are expected to finish projects on time, with the required quality, and make money for the contractor – but often no one has explained what’s critical, and what they should be looking out for.
Then there’s the reams of paperwork to be completed, paperwork that most supervisors and foremen hate – after all foremen and supervisors are people of action. They just want to get the job done! Why should paperwork get in the way of production? Why is paperwork so important to managers, clients and the authorities? Every day and each new project seems to demand more paperwork!

As a young engineer on a project, and as a project manager, I was fortunate to learn from many excellent supervisors and foremen. Indeed I would never have achieved what I did without the foremen working on my projects. They were the powerhouse of the projects, and I only had to steer the project to a successful conclusion.
I’ve written several successful construction management books addressing the challenges of managing construction projects from both the contractor’s and the client, or owner’s, side.
Now it’s my turn to share my 30 years of construction experience and knowledge with construction supervisors and foremen. To explain why things are done in a certain way, why good paperwork is essential, but more importantly, to help supervisors and foremen become the very best.
It’s important to note, construction has traditionally been dominated by men, foreman is a masculine term, but there’s absolutely no reason why women can’t be supervisors. Indeed more women are working in construction and they should be welcomed. Construction needs good people.

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