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Civil Foreman Duties and Responsibilities

The project itself will dictate much of a civil foreman's specific tasks, but numerous core responsibilities are common to most positions. Based on our analysis of job postings, aspiring civil foremen should be prepared to do the following:

Oversee a Team Construction projects are group efforts, and civil foremen monitor team members to ensure operations flow. They may hire people and schedule their work hours. On the construction site, they communicate instructions, inspect work, and sometimes work side-by-side with their charges to demonstrate techniques or help out.

Handle Workers Good morale increases productivity, so civil foremen try to keep the team's energy and spirits up. They may step in to resolve issues between workers or fire employees who don't pull their weight. Civil foremen also deal with worker-related concerns such as payroll.

Meet with Supervisors Different people have an interest in how a project is going. With their first-hand knowledge of what is happening at the site, civil foremen get called upon to provide updates and answer questions for project engineers, leaders, and clients. If management decides to make changes to the original plans, it discusses them with civil foremen so they can relay new information to their team.

Follow Procedures Safety is a priority at all constructions sites. Civil foremen make sure workers know and carry out safety rules, such as wearing hard hats and other protective gear. These leaders also are well-versed on governmental and local policies, and they watch that their team's actions correspond with these rules.


Civil Foreman Skills and Qualifications

Successful civil foremen are top-notch communicators. Their ability to explain things clearly to workers helps things to be built as planned and decreases costly mistakes or delays. Civil foremen also must be able to convey information to other leaders so that they have a clear picture of what is going on. Other abilities critical to performing the job include:
  • Industry knowledge - comfort using construction tools, ability to read blueprints, and mastery of safety and governmental rules
  • Leadership - others look to civil foremen for guidance, so they need to be competent motivators and decision-makers capable of getting the best out of everyone
  • Physical requirements - civil foremen spend a good deal of time on their feet moving around the construction site and may need to assist with carrying items or performing labor
  • Planning and organizing - figuring out the number of workers needed, how to organize time, and the best way to get things done
  • Multitasking - with demands coming in from several directions, civil foremen need to prioritize where to give their attention

Civil Foreman Education and Training

Some civil foremen are high school graduates who gradually work their way up to the position. Others possess an associate's or bachelor's degree in construction management or a similar discipline. All candidates should demonstrate a track record of success in lower roles, such as assistant foreman, before attempting to land this managerial position.

Civil Foreman Salary and Outlook

According to PayScale.com, civil construction foremen earn an average wage of $22.08 per hour. Workers on the low end of the pay range make about $15.53 hourly, while the highest paid earn $35.62. Job benefits may include a retirement plan, paid holidays/sick days, and medical/dental/life insurance. In comparison to other types of construction projects, civil ones often must take priority, even in slow economic times. People depend on our nation's infrastructure - dams holding, bridges staying stable, pipes delivering clean water, to name a few. Because of this, job prospects for civil foremen should be promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11 percent increase in construction management jobs between 2016 and 2026, with civil improvements being a key factor contributing to that growth.

Helpful Resources

As you contemplate becoming a civil foreman, the following sources can be useful in obtaining further information and answering questions:

Introduction to Infrastructure: An Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering - While written for engineering students, anyone interested in learning more about the challenges of 21st-century infrastructure construction and repair can benefit from reading this textbook.

Construction Leadership Success: The Construction Foreman's Definitive Guide for Running Safe, Efficient, and Profitable Projects - Building trust with your crew and a good reputation with your supervisors are two of the many subjects covered in this book.

Construction Leadership from A to Z: 26 Words to Lead By - Interviews with actual construction leaders are among the highlights of this book designed for civil foremen and others who want to raise their skills to a higher level.

Encyclopedia of Building and Construction Terms: The Language of the Construction Industry - In a field that contains so much terminology, civil foremen may find this book covering more than 3,000 terms a valuable reference to have at their disposal.

Civil Engineering and Construction - This LinkedIn group of more than 50,000 members encourages networking among professionals and serves as a forum for discussing industry-related issues.

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